This is an expanded version of a diary I posted late last night, with some specific programs suggested this time.
As I look at the worthy programs that are being threatened by the current budget crisis, it occurred to me to wonder what would happen if President Obama channeled his inner Rat Bastard (or borrowed one from someone else, since he doesn't seem to be able to find his). If President Obama were to target budget cuts to inflict the maximum amount of harm to Republican causes and districts, what would he do? More below the squiggle.
It is a measure of how much I respect President Obama as a person that I can say that I don't think he probably has seriously considered how to cause the maximum damage to Republican interests. I have a suspicion that there are people reading this who might not have such a gentle nature.
So let's start a list of what programs and allocations could be cut while not harming the national interest, but concentrating pain where Republicans would notice the loss of federal money. Gotta cut that budget, and if it just happens to impact a bunch of major contributors to the party that created this mess in the first place, it couldn't happen to nicer people. Let's start the list:
Start cutting fat where the fat is. Does Texas really need seven air force bases AND two naval air stations? Each of those bases employ thousands of people and contributes to the local economy, but hey, we have to make cuts somewhere. Take a look at this list and see if you can't find some bases that reflect political power rather than projection of force: http://militarybases.com/...
Now to another big number: farm subsidies.
Rice subsidies were 12.9 Billion dollars, concentrated in Arkansas, Texas, and Central California. With rice prices skyrocketing all over the world, these are completely unwarranted. In California much of this crop is grown with subsidized water, so it would be a double savings.
Cotton subsidies were three Billion dollars in 2009 and were probably higher last year. The pain of cuts would be high in Mississippi, Tennessee, and California's central valley, all in districts represented by Republicans. A bonus: If we were to zero out these subsidies, we could stop paying 150 Million dollars a year to Brazil as compensation for the damage we have done to their farmers.
Want more information on farm subsidies? The numbers are here:
Abstinence-only sex education programs? Do we have any of those any more? They don't work anyway, so off to the chopping block. Probably doesn't save much, but it is 100% waste.
Money to build roads for the express purpose of opening up land for mining, cattle ranching, and logging? I don't have an exact number for this, but the US does build these in order to facilitate access to leaseholds that are sold for much less than the cost of administration. We're spending money on roads so we can lose money at their destination. Stop.
And there are agencies whose approval is needed in order to license new coal mines and strip mines - suppose the New Permits departments were closed due to budget cuts? Something has to be closed, so why not the departments that facilitate projects that cause environmental damage? Why yes, they do seem to be overwhelmingly in Republican districts, now that you mention it.
I'm sure there are many more programs that deserve to be axed - can you suggest any? Extra bonus points for suggestions that are accompanied by actual budget numbers, instead of "I'll bet we could save a buncha dough if we just scrap all the spare P-51 Mustang parts that are still in the Air Force's inventory."
Looking forward to your comments, and hoping our representatives actually do something with the information.