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Ralph Nader > Special Features > Letter to President Bush on the Federal Budget

Feb. 6, 2005

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear President Bush:

With the transmission of your federal budget tomorrow, you will extend your record of massive deficits, privileges and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and sharp reductions in the budgets for health care and protection of the poor, the children and all Americans from hazards to their health and safety under the purview of weakened regulatory agencies. 

From public health to education to home energy assistance to environmental programs to AMTRAK, budget cuts reflect the twisted priorities of your Administration. The bloated, wasteful, redundant military expenditures, including the boondoggle unworkable missile defense program at over $9 billion last year, come at the expense of programs that save the lives and health of the American people here at home. Your own agencies estimate that 58,000 Americans die each year due to worker-related diseases and trauma, that about 65,000 Americans die from air pollution annually and the school of public health study at Harvard puts the fatality toll from hospital malpractice at 80,000 a year. These are just lethal samples of the conditions you either ignore, reduce responses toward, or make worse by pushing to restrict the victims from having their full day in court for compensatory justice.

You have finally awoken slightly to the threat of a global flu epidemic which received prominent treatment in the Washington Post and New York Times this weekend. But increasing that budget to $120 million, an increase of 21 percent over the prior year, is not enough to post infectious disease specialists in the Far East, conduct the surveillance of its incipient spread and prepare our country for the possibly catastrophic onslaught. Recall, after the UN inspectors and our troops could not find any WMDs in Iraq, you spent well over half a billion dollars with 1500 inspectors, under David McKay, and found nothing. Is there a priority problem here for a President in need of redefining national security to include virulent epidemics? Then, to make matters worse, you propose cutting the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by 9 percent.

Your arguments reveal false scenarios. You speak of being “wise with the people’s money,” while your trillions of dollars in deficits will inflict the most gigantic baby tax in all of American history, while your Homeland Security and Defense budgets are full of waste, fraud and abuse by contractors. Do you ever read the GAO reports, the internal audits of your own Administration?

You wish to further tighten the restrictions on welfare mothers, but, with few exceptions, your budget does not cut huge corporate welfare expenditures — subsidies, giveaways, handouts, bailouts and guarantees–that could recover important revenues for your budget. Don’t you read the criticisms of corporate welfare by the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation in order to see many ways to reduce your federal deficit? You decry “lawsuit abuse” and move to usurp the state courtrooms by federal power without looking at the data showing too little not too much access to the courts, and untold fatalities, injuries and diseases wrongfully inflicted on innocent Americans, including veterans, that are endured without compensation or deterrence.

You travel about the county declaring that social security is heading for bankruptcy (in 2042 or 2052 benefits exceed reserves based on annual GDP projections nearly half of what they have grown during the last 75 years) when the most obvious simple changes, such as increasing the wealthy’s income subject to social security taxes, can pay benefits until the next century). Yet you preside over a federal government, that by your definition of “bankruptcy” is deep into that condition since you became President, adding nearly three trillion dollars to the national debt. You are indeed the Commander in Chief of deficit spending, false scenarios, waste in government, corporate rip-offs of Uncle Sam, welfare for the rich, penury for the increasing poor, and tax-shifting on to the shrinking middle class.

I recommend that you end your isolation and insulation from the American people on these matters and open up your mind to non-rigged town meetings around the country that are not dominated by your orchestrated fawning partisans. The people have a right to access their President with their concerns, complaints and broader inquiries regarding the future of our country and its place in the world. Enough of your mass-media transmitted soliloquies to the American people.

Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 19312
Washington, D.C., 20036