WASHINGTON - January 30 - Green Party leaders issued sharp criticisms of President Bush's budget proposal, condemning the proposed increase in defense spending ($401.3 billion authorization for FY2004) and reckless cuts in funding for the social safety net.
"Starving social programs while offering privatization schemes, such as the Medicare bill passed in November, is a two-pronged strategy to transfer public services and resources to corporate ownership," said Ben Manski, Wisconsin Green and co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "Massive defense spending and budget deficits serve the same purpose. We're seeing our government and all the benefits it allocates subverted for the sake of corporate profits."
Greens are urging Americans to join them in demand for a different set of budget priorities. A fair budget, say Greens, would:
-- ensure a more progressive tax system, offering relief to working people, making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. (Congress must not allow Mr. Bush's tax breaks for rich people to become permanent.)
-- set the military budget at a level that meets the need to defend U.S. borders and honors the pledge of benefits for veterans. (This does not include aggressive military ventures such as the 'preemptive' invasion of Iraq, the cost of which is currently spiraling beyond $99 billion. See 'Cost of War in Iraq' http://www.costofwar.com/)
-- invest in environmental, human services, and public education, and maintain publicly owned Social Security.
-- save health care costs with a single-payer national health system. (See Physicians for a National Health Program http://www.pnhp.org.)
-- close corporate loopholes, end publicly financed executive bonuses and other corporate handouts, and aggressively target swindles such as Enron, offshore accounts, and war profiteering by firms like Halliburton
"Greens don't only oppose corporate giveaways," said Marnie Glickman, Oregon Green and co-chair of the national party. "We challenge the status corporations enjoy as 'persons' according to a misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, which has allowed corporations to escape public accountability and to dominate our political system. When Democrats and Republicans design budgets, they do so largely according to the demands of corporate lobbies."
"This is why both Bush and his Democratic challengers favor astronomical defense increases, reject national health insurance, resist measures to stem global climate change, and prefer to balance budgets --including the projected $477 billion deficit -- on the backs of working Americans," Glickman added.