February 25, 2008
“the budget cuts $959 million from the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant…$65 million from Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships program…$2.9 million from the Thurghood Marshall Fellowship program…and $64 million from the Perkins Loan Cancellations program.”–United States Students Association
Ahh yes. It is that special time again. No–not Christmas! Not the time of year when you give out presents to those who have been good and not to those who have been bad. Quite the opposite! It’s the time when you give presents to those who have been naughty and not to those who have been nice.
It’s government spending budget time!
The Bush administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2009 $3 trillion budget request on Monday, February 5. As Congress excavates through the President Bush’ proposed budget looking for specks of political gold in this election year, something very real, very threatening, and very consequential is buried throughout the thousands of pages of the budget–and that is, how it will simply screw an entire generation.
The first and most glaring area is, not surprisingly, in the Department of Defense. It is no secret that President Grinch has consistently skewed his budget toward the military and corporate interest while hurting virtually everyone else–low-income communities, communities of color, women, etc. This budget targets a new community of people–specifically our community of young people.
The lame duck President is showing all of his cards, revealing what direction he believes this country should go in. Never mind the fact that the budget includes a ridiculous $515 Billion for defense, which is $11.8 Billion more than what was allocated last year, but within that the most striking line item is the drastic increase in funds that would go toward military recruiting–a whopping $15.5 billion for increasing the size of the Army and a full $5 billion to increase the size of the Marines.
The goal is to have 43,000 more young people enlisted into the Army, which would increase the Army end strength to 532,400 soldiers. President Grinch would tell you this is obviously to “keep our country safe,” but what he won’t tell you is that the Army for three years now has consistently missed their recruiting targets. So what did they do? They lied in record numbers, spent over $200 million on their new “Army Strong” campaign, changed all sorts of qualifications for enlistment, extended tours of duty, involuntarily kept young people in the military through the “Stop Loss” program, and now, after all of that, are simply throwing even more money for another recruiting blitz.