A Storm of GOP Proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Here in la-la land, life proceeds as usual. Hundreds of thousands running from Category 4 Hurricane Rita in Texas? The threat of another killer storm swamping cities and the federal budget? Renewed questions about the role of global warming in the recent natural disasters? You wouldn’t know it inside the Beltway.

There was a nice book party a couple of nights ago for Jesse Helms, across the river in Virginia. Jerry Falwell said that next to Ronald Reagan, Helms was the greatest man around. Right wingers are a little worried about all the commies and queers pouring into town for Saturday’s march, whom John Tierney of the Institute for World Politics described to the Washington Times as “ideologically very hard core left.”

The conservative controlled Congress sent a tough message to hurricane evacuees, current and future, by setting into motion plans to finance the President’s hurricane bailout by cutting Amtrak, U.N. contributions, raising Medicare costs, and postponing the new drug program—all under the rubric of making “hard choices.”

The cuts in social services amount to $340 billion over 10 years, said Robert Greenstein, head of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ,a Washington think tank that follows social welfare legislation. “Nearly 40 percent of the savings in the package would come from cuts in assistance for America’s low-income citizens”—including children and seniors.

Meanwhile, the right-wing Congress and Bush will keep the new all tax cuts for the wealthy in place. They will also extend a 50 percent tax break to casinos rebuilding in Mississippi.

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