Bush: U.S. to withdraw from domestic affairs
Beginning the job of outlining his legislative agenda to the American people, U.S. President Bush today reaffirmed his intention to withdraw American personnel, funding and attention from the country's domestic affairs.
Republicans have long criticized ex-President Clinton's policy of pouring billions in federal funds into domestic matters. Senate Leader Trent Lott, speaking just before the Bush inauguration last Sunday, described the approach as 'foolhardy in the extreme'.
"Clinton actually gave funding to hospitals, public schools and social services clinics, rather than slashing work-forces, enforcing privatization, and auctioning off infrastructure", he pointed out. "That's just un-American".
Secretary of State Colin Powell also lent his support to the policy. "We must be involved according to our national interests", he said, "and not in some haphazard way that seems more dictated by the crisis of the day than by serious, thoughtful domestic policy."
Bush is likely to push hard to withdraw all government personnel from the country, beginning with those outlying states which lie west, north or south of Washington D.C.
The United States currently has around 800,000 personnel on the ground in the country, amounting to a wage bill of around $30bn. This is money which Bush aides are saying could be better spent on malfunctioning strategic missile defence projects, oil exploration schemes in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, and recessionary tax-cuts.
"Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity," Bush told the nation in his inaugural address, "Which is just as well, as from now on, the government doesn't really care about any of you, aside from aiming to impoverish the majority in order to maintain business competitivityness. You're all on your own now, so be civil to each other."