Opinion

EDITORIAL

Although final approval of the Federal Budget is still weeks away, Congressional appropriations committee members brokered an agreement in a 2 1/2-hour nighttime negotiation on February 10th, barely feet from the Senate chamber doors, to determine the fate of U.S. spending over the next critical year. Important to note are $15.4 billion to NASA ($513 million more than last year) and $6.1 billion toward occupation of Afghanistan and other terrorism costs. Also allotted was $10 billion for a “military contingency fund” completely under the control of President Bush (not Congress).
Youth of America, be cynical and beware. Your elected policy makers control your money, your rights, your life and liberty. Can you distill out the party-line spin on major governmental moves, to get the purified truth? Are you aware of the decisions made every day by the Politico based on sheer political and economic gain?
Had Columbia not alerted the American public to the inadequacies of the American space program, NASA would most likely be receiving less money in the coming year, not more. Can you feel the P.R. in the air? It’s so thick you can cut it with a knife.
Has our nation already forgotten the myriad of costs involved in the occupation of a conquered country? We’re so quick to bring Iraq under our control and we’ve already forgotten that Afghanistan still is. Billions of dollars in taxpayer money will be spent next year alone to cover the military personnel and intelligence operations costs of orchestrating regime change in Afghanistan. And the kicker is, despite the excessive costs of such an occupation, those sorts of funds won’t come near to maintaining social stability and economic feasibility in a war-torn nation.
And now, Bush is getting the request he made over a year ago: over 2.5 percent of the entire Federal budget will be under complete control of President Bush for military operations. Congress did initially ignore Bush’s proposal because they would have little say over the money. But the President’s push to dominate not only international affairs, but also the other branches of his own government (bye-bye, checks and balances), appears to be coming to a head.
Already Congress has passed legislation allotting nearly $400 billion for defense not in the Federal Budget, and there’s bound to be billions more requested by Congressional Republicans and the Bush Administration. Bush was successful in getting language included in the budget package allowing his administration to bypass restrictions on monetary humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Do you wonder what the intentions behind these quiet changes in policy involve? Is the administration concerned with the welfare of Iraqi widows and children? U.S. embargos in Iraq have already led to the deaths of millions of Iraqi civilians. What does belated “humanitarian” assistance mean now?
The House and Senate are rushing to finalize this budget that they’ve already been criticized for not settling at the end of the session last fall. They feel they need to resolve these money disputes in order to pay more attention to an almost certain March war in Iraq and the President’s persistent tax cut proposal. After all these agreements over defense, terrorism, intelligence, and foreign aid, Congress has not agreed upon a mere $3.1 billion for agriculture aid to farm states that have been hammered by years of prolonged drought. The President and many lawmakers refuse the incorporation of such aid, because it would make an already inflated budget bill (and super-inflated federal deficit) too high to handle.
Those in politics say that ninety percent of the game is distilling out the spin from the truth of the matter: objective, rational, just democracy. Become conscious of the way those that control your way of life control your dollars. Like Al-Qaeda bombed our wallet while our head was hiding in the sand searching for oil, our own lawmakers are picking our pocketbooks while we’re too busy watching CNN and the coming Nintendo War.

February 14, 2003

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.