IRREGULAR TIMESBush Gives America an Education in Military Corruption

People just can't seem to stop talking about George W. Bush's demand that he gets $87 billion extra dollars from American taxpayers in order to pay for his War On Evildoers. Folks, 87 billion dollars isn't the half of it.

No, actually, that 87 billion dollars is something more like the 5th of it.

If you've got questions about whether the $87 Billion dollars that George W. Bush is spending on the war in Iraq, you'll be just itching for answers when you find out that the House of Representatives just passed Bush's request for a $368 Billion military budget next year. The $87 Billion for Iraq is an extra item that has to be added on to the rest of the military budget, for a whopping total $455 Billion for the Pentagon.

I call that a "whopping total" of 455 billion dollars because when Bush spends that kind of money in a time of record budget deficits, the American people get whopped.

Bush says that this increase is absolutely necessary for the War On Evildoers. Therefore, it includes funding for a fleet of 55 submarines. After all, you never know when the evildoers are going to go snorkelling.

Apparently, George W. Bush does not think it's absolutely necessary for American children to get a good education. You know that No Child Left Behind Act Bush talks about all the time? Well, it turns out that every single child in America was left behind. Bush's budgets haven't provided a single dollar in funding for that Act, which requires school districts to do a whole bunch of very expensive things.

Because of Bush's mismanagement of the economy, the states, which pay the bulk of education expenses, are going into huge budget deficits. They can't afford Bush's No School Left a Dime Act, and Bush isn't helping. Some are forced to raise taxes, and others leave the tax raising to local communities. Of course, some local communities are just cutting basic school programs, like Head Start.

Bush and his friends are fond of saying things like, "You can't just throw money at America's schools!" Actually, you can. I went down to my local elementary school this morning and tried it. It turns out that a quarter makes a very satisfying ping when it hits the flagpole.

Be that as it may, the larger point is this: Bush and his Republican compadres are perfectly happy to throw huge bundles of money to military contractors who pay their CEOs millions of dollars of that money every year. So, if throwing money won't help us with the challenges facing America's educational system, how come throwing money works with the military?

graph of military budget corruptionActually, throwing money at the military only seems to be breeding enormous corruption high in the ranks. Right now, the American public is paying around $4 Billion every month to the military for the war in Iraq. The strange thing is that, every month, only $2.5 Billion of that $4 Billion is accounted for. Where is the missing $1.5 Billion going? Well, George W. Bush refuses to tell the American public, and won't even make a hint to Congress. It's another one of his secrets. Bush likes secrets.

One Senator suggests that this $1.5 Billion in missing money could be going to bribe foreign leaders to get them to consider sending a few hundred soldiers to Iraq to make Bush look better. The fact is that the $1.5 Billion dollars that goes missing from the Iraq war every month could be going anywhere - heck, it could be going as kickbacks to Bush campaign supporters, for all we know. Missing money tends to be a sign of corruption at the highest levels of government. Yes, I'm talking about the Bush Administration when I say that.

Contrast this loose military accounting with what George W. Bush does to America's schools. Bush says that he's going to be hard-headed with America's schools, forcing them to account for every dime that they get. Then, he promises to increase educational funding, but never lifts a finger to do so. You know that $87 Billion that Bush demands for the War On Evildoers? That $87 Billion dollars would have more than doubled the budget of the Department of Education.

Oh, what could have been. Unfortunately, the priority for Bush is bombs, not books. If government works through a combination of the carrot and the stick, then Bush seems to be sending all the carrots over to the military, while he keeps all the sticks to hit America's schools with, when he gets in a snitty mood.

For the schools, Bush won't give anything but increased regulation. For the military, Bush plays around with swimming pools full of money, just to have a good time.



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