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You be the judge

March 23, 2012
Messenger News

President Barack Obama seems to think taxpayers should spend lots of money on his pet projects, such as alternative energy sources.

But the safety of coal miners? Not as big a priority for funding, to judge by the president's budget proposal for fiscal 2013.

Obama's budget includes $27.7 billion for the Department of Energy. That is a 3.2 percent increase over what Congress approved last year.

Among the White House's DOE budget requests is $2.3 billion for research and development of energy efficiency, advanced vehicles and biofuels such as ethanol.

Meanwhile, the administration's budget request for the Mine Safety and Health Administration is for $372 million - less than the current $373 million appropriation.

Of course, presidents and members of Congress need to find ways to reduce federal spending. But we suspect there are ways to do that without cutting back on programs to protect working men and women such as miners.

Some programs don't suffer from funding woes. It is quite the contrary at the DOE agency that hands out loan guarantees such as the $500 million to the failed Solyndra solar energy company. That program has a $10 billion reserve - money appropriated in previous years but never spent.

Are Obama's priorities out of order?

You be the judge.



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