There isn’t much left to say that hasn’t already been said about the Bush administration’s nonsensical decision to cut nearly one-third of its federal counter-terrorism assistance to local governments, and then to take what’s left and redistribute it from the places where it’s most needed (New York and Washington, down 40% each) to places that need it least (Omaha, Neb.; Charlotte, N.C., and Louisville, Ky., up 62%, 64% and 70% respectively).
The national outlay wasn’t large to begin with — just $2.5 billion last year in a total federal budget that runs to $2.75 trillion. But these are hard times, what with the endless deficits, the relentless costs of the war in Iraq and the additional $700 billion in revenue that’s likely to be lost over the next decade (according to congressional Joint Committee on Taxation) if the administration ever gets its way and eliminates the estate tax on America’s wealthiest few. The money has to come from somewhere. A $2.5 billion outlay to help local governments defend themselves against terrorism is just the sort of place you would want to scrimp.
As a national newspaper, we don’t claim any special interest in the matter. True, New York is still home to the world’s largest Jewish population, and that fact has made it a favorite target of Islamic terrorists for more than a decade. But we wouldn’t want to call attention to that fact. It might get someone angry.