Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Here's a piece of outright stupidity and ignorance from José Martí Gómez in today's Vanguardia. He gets his own space at the bottom of the op-ed page every day to make three or four short comments of unfailing imbecility.

A reader sent me a photocopy including the carve-up of the pie of the United States budget for the new year. 51.63% goes to military spending and the rest is chump change: 6.78% for education, 6.39% for health care, 4.30 for the justice system, 3.78% on housing, 2.61% on labor and employment, and 1.04% for Social Security, just for a few examples. General indignation. That's the least it deserves. (No hay para menos).

Mr. Martí Gómez is obviously too goddamn lazy to bother doing anything like, I dunno, LOOKING THINGS UP. If he'd gone to the Office of Management and Budget website, he'd have seen this as the proposed 2003 budget:

Discretionary Spending:
Defense $368 billion
Non-defense $405 bn
of which
Health and Human Services $85.9 bn
Education $50.3 bn
Housing and Urban Development $31.5 bn
Justice $21.9 bn
Energy $21.0 bn

Mandatory Spending:
Social Security (federal pensions) $472 bn
Medicare (health care for old people) $231 bn
Medicaid (health care for poor people) $159 bn
Other mandatory spending $297 bn

Interest payments $181 bn

Total spending $2128 bn

Receipts $2048 bn

Deficit $80 bn

According to the real 2003 federal budget, defense spending is 17.3%, not the 51.6% that Mr. Martí Gómez's photocopy claims. Yeah, great, some schmuck sends me a photocopy and what's the first thing I do? Why, put it in the paper without even bothering to check it! You'd be seriously disciplined on an American newspaper if you pulled a dumb stunt like this, publishing something that's blatantly false without the most minimal fact checking. I mean, what I did was to google "budget 2003 united states" and the first thing on the list was the Office of Management and Budget. It took about fifteen seconds. Here's the link if you want to check it out yourself.

Additionally, of course, this is the federal budget. Education, transportation, housing, public services, justice, and other such things are largely the responsibilities of state or city governments (which have the power to tax in the US), not of the federal government; that is, the $50.3 billion that the federal government will spend on education does not include the money that the states and municipalities will be spending.

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