Protecting tax cuts, GOP proposes cuts to military health care
by David Sirota
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush and Republicans in Congress have refused to consider rolling back the $336 billion in new tax cuts that the richest 1 percent are slated to get over the next five years. They say we need to pay for reconstruction not by asking the wealthiest to sacrifice just a little bit, but by massive cuts to spending. And now we see what that means: The Navy Times today reports that those cuts "include trimming military quality-of-life programs, including health care." This, while troops are in battle.
The Republicans have put their cutting efforts in military terms, calling it "Operation Offset" - a further insult to the men and women in uniform they are now trying to screw over. The specifics are ugly. They are, for instance, asking troops to "accept reduced health care benefits for their families." Additionally, "the stateside system of elementary and secondary schools for military family members could be closed." In the past, this idea "has faced strong opposition from parents of children attending the schools because public schools [in and around bases] are seen as offering lower-quality education."
None of this, I suppose, is all that surprising. In the past, we've seen tax cuts put before making sure troops have adequate body armor heading into war - a tax/budget decision that very likely increased U.S. casualties.
We've also seen Republicans vote down efforts to reduce tax cuts for the very wealthy in order to restore cuts to military family housing. And we've seen tax cuts come as the White House has refused to adequately fund a variety of other programs for troops. The truth is, the GOP has in moments of candor admitted that they care about cutting taxes for the wealthy far more than they care about the troops.
As you may recall, it was Tom DeLay who said before the Iraq invasion "Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes."
Apparently to the Republicans, nothing is more important in the face of a war AND massive destruction to the homefront than cutting taxes either.