On Jan. 31, President Bush headed to Wall Street and acknowledged for the first time that income inequality exists in America: “The fact is that income inequality is real. It has been rising for more than 25 years.”
But apparently, he’s not quite ready to do anything about it. Bush’s 2008 budget cuts crucial aid for America’s middle class:
— “$77 billion in funding cuts for Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years, and $280 billion over the next 10.”
— $223 million in funding cuts (4 percent decrease from this year’s levels) to the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
— “$4.9 billion, or 8 percent, cut in education, training, employment and social services” grants.
— $100 million cut for Head Start, which provides child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families.
— “$2.4 billion cut in community and regional development grants — which often provide funding for low- and middle-income communities — to $16.5 billion from $18.9 billion.
— $400 million — 18 percent — cut in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, “which provides $2.2 billion to help people pay heating bills this year.”
— $172 million — nearly 25 percent — cut in funding for housing for low-income seniors.
While Bush forgot about the middle class in the new budget, he made sure to look out for the wealthy. As the Tax Policy Center notes, “People with incomes of more than $1 million would get tax cuts averaging $162,000 a year (in 2012 dollars) in perpetuity.”
UPDATE: Gristmill has details on Bush’s energy and environmental spending.