B-B-B-Budgets are scary.

- If you're a Republican running for re-election.

It seems that the Bush Administration has some Budget Problems. The bigger problem, however, is that the criticism is coming from both sides of the aisle.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., called Bush's proposed cuts in education and health "scandalous" while Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said she was "disappointed and even surprised" at the extent of the administration's proposed cuts in Medicaid and Medicare.

The new deficit will be an all-time high of $423 billion, beating last year's $412 billion. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hurricane cleanup costs NOT INCLUDED.

From the New York Times:
On paper, President Bush's budget seems to meet his promise of cutting the federal deficit in half by the time he leaves office.

But in practice, the budget is much less realistic than it appears because it omits nearly a half-trillion dollars in costs that are likely to be incurred over the next five years.

The omissions include any costs for the war in Iraq after 2007, any additional reconstruction costs for New Orleans after 2006 and any plan for preventing a huge expansion in the alternative minimum tax after the end of this year.

And because Mr. Bush's blueprint is limited to the next five years, it offers little guidance on how he would restrain the soaring costs of Medicare and Social Security as the nation's 70 million-plus baby boomers begin to retire in 2008.

If all of the White House proposals and projections are taken at face value, the budget deficit will climb to $423 billion this fiscal year and then shrink to $208 billion by 2009.

That would fulfill Mr. Bush's promise to halve the deficit, but only if he manages to avoid the gremlins that have bedeviled his previous plans.

The new budget also assumes $43 billion in various fee increases over five years, including many that Congress has rejected in the past. Among these are higher charges for soldiers, veterans, air travelers and pensions. Higher aviation security fees would raise $9.7 billion over five years, and veterans would face $6.8 billion in new fees on medical care.

Everybody, Democrat and Republican, is beginning to realize how all of this is going to play at a local level. For Democrats, it's something to run against. For Republicans, it's a problem on two levels. First, one of the departments facing major cuts is the Department of Agriculture. Cuts there aren't going to anger the constituents of urban Democrats. Similarly, cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are nice Republican thoughts until it's their grandmother's medical bills that are coming due. On top of this, there is still a portion of the Republican base that believes in fiscal responsibility. They'll love this budget...

The West Central Tribune shows how these cuts make even the Bush Loyalists nervous.
Even the state's Republican U.S. senator says Minnesotans would feel federal cuts if President Bush's budget proposal passes.

"While fiscal discipline must be our priority, there are some places where the president's budget either cuts too deeply or fails to recognize the positive impact of a program, such as our agriculture program, Pell grants, Medicaid and Medicare and the Community Development Block Grants program," said Sen. Norm Coleman, usually a Bush ally. "I will urge my colleagues to proceed cautiously and measure twice."

Of course, the Bush Administration just does what it always does - omit inconveniet facts, like, say, that Bush's budget will increase deficites. Oh, check out the New York Times piece on the budget too...

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