In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush and Republicans in Congress have refused to consider rolling back the $336 billion in new tax cuts that the richest 1 percent are slated to get over the next five years. They say we need to pay for reconstruction not by asking the wealthiest to sacrifice just a little bit, but by massive cuts to spending. And now we see what that means: The Navy Times today reports that those cuts "include trimming military quality-of-life programs, including health care" (The Navy Times story is attached). This, while troops are fighting and dying for our country in Iraq.
The Republicans have put their proposals to cut military programs in military terms, calling it "Operation Offset" - a further insult to the men and women in uniform they are now trying to screw over. The specifics are ugly. They are, for instance, asking troops to "accept reduced health care benefits for their families." Additionally, "he stateside system of elementary and secondary schools for military family members could be closed." In the past, this idea "has faced strong opposition from parents of children attending the schools because public schools [in and around bases] are seen as offering lower-quality education."
None of this, I suppose, is all that surprising. In the past, we've seen tax cuts put before making sure troops have adequate body armor heading into war - a tax/budget decision that very likely increased U.S. casualties. We've also seen Republicans vote down efforts to reduce tax cuts for the very wealthy in order to restore cuts to military family housing. And we've seen tax cuts come as the White House has refused to adequately fund a variety of other programs for troops. The truth is, the GOP has in moments of candor admitted that they care about cutting taxes for the wealthy far more than they care about the troops.
Bush says no repealing his tax cuts and pushes more tax cuts:
House Republican leadership says it is "unacceptable" to delay new tax cuts:
White House refused to provide adequate funding for body armor while pushing tax cuts:
Report says inadequate body armor may have seriously increased troop casualties:
GOP votes down efforts to reduce tax cuts in order to restore cuts to military housing:
GOP pushes new tax cuts while refusing to fully fund programs for troops:
DeLay says "nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes":
Navy Times - September 21, 2005
GOP members propose military cuts to offset Katrina costs