HOMELAND SEC'Y BUDGET: BS

The Bushies say they want to boosting homeland security spending by ten percent or more. But the numbers tell a different story, according to Slate's Fred Kaplan.

The actual budget is about 25 percent smaller than the administration's press release (and subsequent press stories) indicates. It's just 3 percent larger than last year's budget, not 10 percent to 28 percent as the official numbers suggest. Several vital programsincluding assistance to state and local governmentshave been cut. And the official budget projections for the next five yearsnumbers that haven't been reported in press releases or news stories at allshow almost no growth...Some of the reported increases are misleading. Funding for the "protection of critical infrastructure and key assets" is said to go up from $12.6 billion to $14 billion. However, it turns out that over half that sum, $7.6 billion, is to protect military basesa task that's covered in the Defense Department budget...Meanwhile, several vital short-term programs are being kept at the same level or cut. The Firefighters Grants Program (to train local firefighters to deal with terrorist strikes) is cut from $746 million to $500 million. The Federal Air Marshal Service is cut from $640 million to $613 million. The Aviation Passenger Screening Program is flat (at $1.5 billion). Ditto for Border Patrol ($1.8 billion) and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center ($200 million). The Metropolitan Medical Response System, which had received $50 million each of the last two years, has been eliminated.
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