Hello, and welcome to today’s edition of “How Will the Bush Budget Benefit You?”

Let’s face it, it’s a long document, and 2,300 pages is about 2,295 more pages than most Americans read in a week.

But that’s what we here in the media are for: to go bored out of our minds so you don’t have to. And since no one in the government has read the whole thing either, we feel best qualified to answer your questions.

Let’s start with one from Blackgoldville, Texas:

Q: Hello. I am extraordinarily wealthy.

A: Umm, hello.

Q: I don’t like to brag, but I make a pretty penny over $1 million a year, and I’m just sick of losing so much of it to the damned government! Does Bush’s budget have any benefits for me?

A: Thank you. Actually, I’m sorry – because the country is facing such unprecedented deficits, President Bush thought that Americans making obscene sums of money should contribute more taxes.

Haha, wait, I’m just kidding. Under Bush’s plan, people like you in the top 0.2 percent of households will get 54 percent of the stipulated tax cut provisions. And 97 percent of the tax cuts not yet in effect will go to households making over $200,000 a year.

While Bush’s budget drastically cuts numerous programs for education, the environment and business development, he is apparently content for the government to lose over $1.4 trillion in 10 years so that rich can have more money.

So, congratulations! Next question:

Q: Hi! I sure was glad to hear Bush likes rich people, because I want to be in that category someday. Right now I’m working three jobs and taking care of my kids, so this is a little difficult. But if Bush’s budget helps people who don’t need money, it must help people a lot more who do need money. My question is, how much?

A: Good question, Mars (because that is where I assume you are from). Bush is a renowned advocate for justice, but only the military – not social – kind.

While the rich get enormous tax breaks in Bush’s budget proposal, $45 billion is cut from Medicaid, the health care program that helps the poor and disabled; 200,000 to 300,000 people will no longer receive food stamp benefits and 300,000 low-income children will be cut from child-care programs by 2009.

Good luck with the whole “get rich” thing!

Q: I’m a middle-class college student with a lot of debt. I don’t want to work for a big corporation after I graduate. I’d rather devote my life to service, such as with the Peace Corps or the military. How will the Bush plan help me out?

A: How touching. The answer is – not a lot.

If you’re on the Perkins loan program, which provides low-interest loans to middle- and low-income students, I have bad news for you: that program is now eliminated. Sorry.

Also, not to dash your dream or anything, but members of the armed services and Peace Corps volunteers must now also pay back their Perkins loans, whereas before that loan would have been absolved. Maybe you should consider investment banking.

Q: I’m a lower-income high school student, and I take issue with your last response. Bush is using the leftover money to increase funding for Pell grants, which help kids from poor backgrounds pay for college. I want to know how else Bush is helping people like me achieve their goals.

A: That depends on your goals. Bush is eliminating 48 education programs, including those teaching college training and vocational skills for low-income citizens. Is your goal to pay for college or get into college? You’ll only get help with one.

Q: Sure, but I’m not selfish – I mean, if he’s using that leftover money for a good cause .

A: That money is funding increased testing and accountability requirements for the No Child Left Behind program.

Q: Oh. Nevermind.

A: Moving on!

Q: I’m really worried about bioterrorism. It seems like that could kill even more people than a conventional weapon. What is Bush doing to address this growing threat?

A: Bush is addressing this growing threat by cutting $500 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will eliminate bioterrorism preparedness grants to state and local health departments.

On the upside, he has requested increased funding for a national stockpile of vaccines and antibiotics. But the CDC’s public health emergency fund, which helps local agencies prepare for bioterror attacks, is slashed 12.6 percent.

Sleep well!

Okay, final question.

Q: Hi, I’m a big fan of irrationality and unfairness. Does Bush’s budget have anything in it for me?

A: Ummm . where to start .

Q: Like, could you find anything that beats the fact that while the CDC gets $500 million less to fight bioterrorism, Bush is increasing funding for sexual abstinence programs by more than 50 percent since 2004?

A: Maybe I could, but I would have to stop laughing first.

Well, that’s all for today, folks. Tune in next time, when Bush administration officials ask how not including a projected $80 billion for war spending in the budget benefits only them.

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