We can afford $720 million a day for Iraq, but less than $20 million dollars a day for sick children is too much?
President Bush’s latest veto is almost mind numbing in its audacity. We can’t afford to increase funding for children’s health insurance? Gee, nice of Mr Bush to try to save us a few pennies with one hand while shovelling mounds of cash into his wars with the other. America’s priorities have been skewed for decades, but it’s stuff like this that shows the true cost of our foreign adventurism. We are spending more money on “defence” than the rest of the planet combined, but we are the only industrialized country that does not provide cradle-to-grave health care for its citizens? “Guns vs butter” doesn’t get any more obvious than that.
I found it particularly galling that one of the reasons Bush cites for his veto is that it might cause “people above the median income” to qualify for government health insurance for their kids. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Bush’s income is above the national median income, yet he doesn’t seem to have any qualms about taking advantage of a government funded health care package so generous that the average person couldn’t dream of it. Oh well, the rich and powerful have a sense of entitlement that normal folks like me find hard to understand. Dare I say it, could greed possibly be involved?
Washington and Kennedy are the only two presidents who refused to accept a salary for being the President, the rest were perfectly happy to take full advantage of the perks of office. Heck, Congress has been very busy the past few decades quietly expanding the benefits of being both in Congress and retiring from same. Why a US President would even need a pension is beyond me, any ex-President has a guaranteed income in the millions from speaking fees and writing a book alone if they want.
Oh well. The rich have been getting richer in the USA and the rest of the world for some time. While I do not have a problem with people getting rich, I do have a problem with the way in recent decades that the ultra rich have used each other’s huge salaries and benefits to justify their own increases. The sight of rich people raising each others salaries and compensation ever higher in the name of “fairness” is pretty bizarre. Damned if I know what can or should be done about it, it’s just another one of those things that fall into the “that can’t be good” category as our civilization plunges forward into the unknown.
I suppose some will say that “we don’t have a choice” regarding our spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, that national security concerns require that we stay. Of course these were the same people who said we had no choice but to invade in the first place. Um, “this is our only option” isn’t logical argument, it’s simply a refusal to look at alternatives. Let me see if I understand this, the most powerful nation the world has ever known is so completely paralysed by circumstance that it has only one viable strategy? That’s hard to believe considering the size and complexity of the world and the amazing resources we have at our disposal; and if it were true, it’s a catastrophe because it means our enemies could predict our every move.
Heck, would it be interesting to note here that during the last six plus years while Bush has steadfastly “stayed the course” in pursuit of his war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan…both our direct enemies, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, seem to be hanging in there just fine. And our long term rivals, Russia and China, are not only hanging in there, they are getting richer and more powerful by the day. Meanwhile the dollar, the gold standard in world currency for over six decades, is taking a pummelling that no one predicted in their worst nightmares a few years ago. If this is what six years of “staying the course” has wrought, I think it’s time for some creative thinking about our national strategies.
Toss global warming and peak oil into the soup, and boy, this is one heck of a train ride, eh? I wrote a story once where near the end of a long roller coaster ride a man notices that ahead the tracks come to an end in mid air, and he begins to scream uncontrollably as they clatter and hurtle toward their doom. Just before they plunge off the tracks a big guy in front of him turns around and yells “Jeez buddy, enjoy the ride!”
Have a great weekend everyone!
(The above image is from an 1861 issue of Harper’s weekly and is public domain under US copyright law. I got it from here, and just to be safe am claiming it as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is being used for educational purposes, and its use here in no way hinders the endeavours of the site where I obtained the image. And no, that’s not the sound of my cats constantly complaining, I’ve taught them to sing! That and other fine tips on stress reduction next week.)