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February 06, 2006

Bush slashes Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 budget

Funding for the Army Corps of Engineers is being cut by 11.2% in Bush's 2007 budget. This isn't the first time that Bush has cut funding to the Corps, in fact, he was sharply criticized for previous cuts to the Corps' budget in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

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Probably a wise decision to make for the people of New Orleans. The Republicans hate America so much they would love any chance to do more harm to it. I mean Bush's latest budget cuts another 11% from the Army... [Read More]

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What an idiot! What a gang of idiots. ">http://pithingcontest.blogspot.com/2005/09/bush-we-told-you-so.html"> Underfunded remediation of the deteriorating coastline and canals was the real problem in the first place, long long before Katrina and plenty of people knew it long before Katrina.

Maybe Bush should just declare war on Louisiana, that way the post-war reconstruction effort would pay for itself.

The Corps of Engineers is responsible for many things besides levies and storm barriers. As a fishery biologist in the Pacific Northwest, I can attest to some of the mischief the throttling of the Corps budget is causing in another sphere. The Corps runs the large dams on the lower Snake and Columbia Rivers as well as dozens of other dams, reservoirs and wetlands throughout the Columbia Basin, Puget Sound, N.W. coast, etc. Dams, as one might guess, are generally inimical to fish that need to migrate up and down rivers. In the Northwest this means six species of salmon, white sturgeon, and two species of lamprey. (Ironically, shad, introduced from the East Coast, thrive in the newly created environment, possibly to the detriment of native fish.) The dams were built decades ago with little if any consideration of fish passage. Ladders, for instance can pass adult salmon around low head dams, but are ineffective for lampreys, and basically total barriers for sturgeon. (Sturgeon populations in the Columbia are in very bad shape throughout the basin above the first –Bonneville- dam.) Passage downstream for juvenile fish was originally either not considered at all, or was engineered with grossly insufficient knowledge when the dams were built. Recently, technological developments, including radio and hydroacoustic telemetry, has permitted us to get a much clearer picture of what fish do around dams and what kind of remediation measures can be taken. Research and retroengineering cost lots of money. We’re starting to see research and remediation efforts defunded. Dry up the money and fish will suffer; it’s that simple.
There are Corps projects all over the country, involving a river, reservoir, wetland, estuary or bay near you. All these projects take fish and wildlife habitat into account. When the funding gets tight, guess what gets lined out?

Is anybody else thinking of Nero here?

A Praetorian Guard would be... meh... but I can't stop wishing the GAO had an enforcement arm...

Not quite on topic, but related: has anyone outside of a few New Orleans bloggers noticed that Bush is counting flood insurance payments (contractually obligated)as Katrina relief. $18.5B so far, I suspect it'll be 5.6B of the new $18b he's promising. He's actually counting money that congress allocates to fund the national flood insurance program. It's still not money that the federal government has "given" to the region.

We need to prepare for the Baby Boomers and start cutting back on government spending. I think Bush’s budget did not go far enough in trimming government coffers.

In about 10 - 15 years, there will be no way that we can afford to pay for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

We could radically increase taxes. However, this will cripple future generations. We can increase the budget deficit. But it will lead to serious systemic risks to our economy. We should reduce benefits promised during a previous era of prosperity in our country. Of course, we can try a combination of all three, but we would be left with a situation akin to eurosclerosis.

We must make the painful choice of reducing benefits and reshaping Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to care for the very neediest in our country. It will be hard, but the demographic trend is inexorable.

Reality shouts that this is not a Republican or Democrat issue.

Thank you for your help today Lindsay!

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