This country can afford to keep giving tax breaks to multimillionaires, the oil industry and a variety of other corporate interests. But it cannot afford to safely dispose of meth labs?
The skewed priorities of Republicans in Congress are coming home to roost in Kentucky and other states that have run out of money to respond when methamphetamine operations are discovered.
And no more money will be coming to help local police deal with meth-making, if Republicans in Washington have their way.
First responders to meth busts require special training and equipment because the chemicals used to make the illegal drug are explosive, volatile and potentially poisonous. Also, the refuse can't just be tossed in the trash.
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Since the Clinton years, COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) has helped reduce crime in poor neighborhoods and also provided funding to local law enforcement for responding to meth labs.
In the federal budget approved by the Republican House, the COPS program takes a hit, and money for combating meth is zeroed out.
Meanwhile, the increase in meth-making has drained the funds that Kentucky and other states had on hand. The end of federal funding would shoot a $725,000 hole in Kentucky's meth response capacity.
That doesn't sound like a lot to make up from other sources until you remember that state support for the Kentucky State Police, like much of state government, has dwindled in recent years and been replaced by federal stimulus spending that is running out.
These cuts to law enforcement are among hundreds of examples — from Pell Grants to job training to drinking water — of how Republicans want those who are already sacrificing to sacrifice more, while asking nothing of those who have prospered in this economy.
Congress each year gives away $1 trillion in tax breaks. The tax code is riddled with breaks and exemptions. Are Republicans looking to balance the budget by closing that constellation of loopholes? Not that you'd notice.
More than 80 percent of the total increase in income went to the top 1 percent of the U.S. population from 1980 to 2005. Not since the Roaring 20s has the gap between the richest and the rest of us yawned this wide.
Just letting the Bush tax cuts expire would cut the deficit in half by 2021, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Yet we've heard not one serious word about tax reform from House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., or the rest of the Tea Party-spooked GOP.
Rogers knows as well as anyone that Congress can't get serious about deficit reduction without raising revenue. Too bad he's not injecting that sobering reality into the budget-cutting bender. Rogers also knows that it's wrong to reduce police protection to the poor without even touching the fortunes of the mighty.