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"Follow the Money"

When he uttered those three words in "All the President's Men," the Deep Throat character was aptly describing the workings of American government, past and present. Today we follow the money with a quick look at the latest budget proposals from the lame duck White Housers.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

When he uttered those three words in "All the President's Men," the Deep Throat character was aptly describing the workings of American government, past and present. Today we follow the money with a quick look at the latest budget proposals from the lame duck White Housers. More for defense, no surprise. More deficit, equally expected. In the details lie numerous devils and delights, depending on your tech sector and your politics.

First: the proposed '09 budget would exceed three trillion, that's more than double what we already owe China. Worry not, there's a four hundred billion dollar estimated deficit increase so our creditors need not worry about our government going lean.

Some tech specifics: cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency. Hikes in money for NASA. The EPA would lose money for water programs, but then nobody's worried about our water supply, right? Seems I just blogged about not enough water....

Here's the EPA's official site and its description of this budget. More for methane research and an emphasis on the Energy Star program which encourages suppliers to provide green or efficient appliances.

There's a slight increase for NASA, but well below inflation level. The National Science Foundation does get a big boost. It's slated for a 14% increase of its discretionary budget above 2008, with relatively big increases for nanotech research and for advanced supercomputing and networking.

The proposal does have serous upside for hardware and software providers who can deliver, or at leats promise, energy efficiency. A lot of this spending will get done through the Office of Management and Budget which is moving to reduce the carbon fooftprint of the feds and all their many buildings and offices around the country. Over $71 billion for IT spending and that's almost a 4% increase,closer to the hoped for inflation rate.

Here's the Energy Department's official site on the budget. There is emphasis on hydrogenfuel cell technology, andclean coal, of course. Interestingly the DOE site touts work to be done on carbon sequestration and even FutureGen. That's in spite of the fact that the same DOE just put FutureGen into political limbo.

But it's only a budget proposal and there are many vested interests between proposal and enactment. Slate says this in their emaiol summary: "The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal's world-wide newsbox all lead with the budget that was unveiled yesterday by President Bush, which clocks in at $3.1 trillion and will leave a deficit of more than $400 billion in both fiscal 2008 and 2009. As had been reported last week, the budget calls for a large increase in military spending as well as cutbacks or freezes in most domestic programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. Since the budget is for fiscal 2009, which begins less than four months before Bush will leave the White House, no one thinks Congress is likely to support most of the president's plans."

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