Preliminary Analysis of the President's Budget

The Bush administration asked Congress February 5 for a $2.9 trillion budget for fiscal year 2008 (FY08) that includes nearly a trillion dollars for the military and short changes successful programs to help low income people put food on their table, keep warm in the winter, and see a doctor when they are sick. The budget proposals presented to Congress are the first stage of a multi-part process that should eventually result in Congress passing legislation to set the parameters for federal government spending in the fiscal year that stretches from October 1, 2007 to September 31, 2008.

FCNL will provide ongoing analysis of the president's budget over the next few months. Here's a first look at the budget numbers and what they might mean for this country:

Military Budget: Highlights (and Lowlights)

The president's budget proposal includes a whopping $666 billion in current military spending. When the costs of the interest on the national debt attributable to military spending and the costs of veteran benefits are added, the total budget for current and past wars is $968 billion. This figure includes $142 billion in spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in fiscal year 2008.

Under the President's budget proposal, the U.S. would spend more on security next year than the rest of the world combined.

New Nuclear Weapons Could Be On the Way

The administration is asking for $89 million to research a new generation of nuclear of weapons that are known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead. The budget proposal also includes the first funding of $25 million toward a project to rebuild the entire U.S. nuclear weapons production complex (Complex 2030) that could eventually cost $150 billion over thirty years.

Good News for Efforts to Control Small Arms

The administration has asked for $44.7 million to assist countries with efforts to destroy and secure stockpiles of small arms and light weapons, an increase of more than 500 percent above the administration's request for $8.6 million for the same purposes in fiscal year 2007.

Domestic Budget: Highlight (and Lowlights)

Health Care If You Can Afford It

The administration's plan cuts back on support for child health care insurance (SCHIP) for families with incomes above 200% of the poverty line. A family of three with an income of $35,000 would be denied assistance, even though family health care premiums now average about $12,000 a year. About 10% of children in families in that income range are uninsured.

In order to preserve tax cuts for high income individuals, the president's proposal cuts $13 billion from Medicaid over the next five years.

Beware the Dangers of Growing Older

The proposed budget would provide 2000 fewer housing units for low-income seniors. Meals on Wheels, senior centers, weatherization, and other community programs would be eliminated or cut deeply. About 440,000 seniors, one third of whom are over age 75, would lose the bag of groceries that they receive from the commodity supplemental food program each month. Heating assistance, which helps many seniors and families through the winter, will be available for fewer homes.

And Being Young Isn't Particularly Safe, Either

About 300,000 families who are supported by a low-wage worker and who qualify for food stamps would become ineligible for the program under the president's budget. Families who fit both income and nutritional needs guidelines for the WIC program (special nutritional supplements for Women, Infants, and Children) would lose access to supplemental commodities each month. About 300,000 children would lose access to child care assistance over the next five years, and fewer eligible children would be able to enroll in Head Start.

But Some Fare Well

The president proposes to make permanent the tax cuts that give an average break of $162,000 a year to people making more than $1 million a year.

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