Thursday, February 10, 2005

Of Guns and Butter (and Possibly Tomatoes)

Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics (CNN)

President Bush's Proposed Budget

JOSH BOLTEN, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: I'm expecting enthusiasm from members of Congress for -- for cuts in farm programs. Probably not from members who are in or will be visiting farm states.

SEN. JUDD GREGG (R-NH), BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Yes, there is a clear shift in this -- on priorities. But it was put upon us as a nation. We are at war. When you are at war, you've got to make some difficult decisions. The first decision* you have to make, which isn't very difficult, is you support the people in the field…. It's going to cost a lot of money. And when you make that decision that does reprioritize other spending. Now, this is not a time when we can have guns and butter in excess.
*NOTE: The second decision is to make tax cuts for the wealthy permanent.

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The big political question now, of course, will be whether or not the president can get the ultimate stick of butter, which is his Social Security reform plan.

I don't know. I've been off butter since I saw "Last Tango in Paris." But in the contexts of that movie and Bush's Social Security reform, "the ultimate stick of butter" meme is spot on.

HENRY: Democrats today screaming about the fact with all this talk about budget cuts and budget deficits, they do not believe the money will be there for these estimates of anywhere from $2 trillion to $4.5 trillion for the transition costs for Social Security reform, transitioning to private accounts. So obviously this is just an open shot of a long budget war here on Capitol Hill.

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