Safire: Republicans “restrain taxes while increasing social spending at home” ; budget reports show otherwise

In the wake of reports that President Bush is proposing a 2006 budget that slashes or freezes domestic spending, New York Times op-ed columnist William Safire wrote in his January 12 column -- in which he touted “the growing strength of national character” in America -- that the present-day Republican Party “is characterized by a mission to defeat terror while exporting freedom abroad, and a policy to restrain taxes while increasing social spending at home.”

But, as Robert Pear reported in a January 9 New York Times article, the leader of the party that purportedly embraces a policy of “increasing social spending at home” is expected to propose cuts to numerous entitlement programs -- such as Social Security, Medicare, veterans' disability compensation, and Medicaid -- as well as cuts or freezes to other social programs, such as housing, scientific, and health programs.

Washington Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman reported on January 12 that in its 2006 budget, the Bush administration “plans to reintroduce measures to stem the growth of federal health care and other entitlement programs that rise automatically each year based on set formulas, they said.” Weisman explained budget cuts expected for federal housing programs:

Community Development Block Grants, funded this year at nearly $5 billion, could be cut by as much as 50 percent, aides said. The Home Investment Partnerships Program, a housing program that was trimmed by 4 percent this year, is expected to take a larger hit in the president's 2006 budget. Overall, housing programs will be at best frozen, said Barbara Thompson, executive director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies.