Tuesday, September 27, 2005

THROWING MONEY

For several generations, the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans have boiled down to the Republican claim that Democrats believe they can solve problems by "throwing money at them". Now, that claim has been totally disproven by the spectacle of billions of dollars being thrown at any problem that arises, with the "bipartisan cooperation" of both parties in Congress. Even the fiscally conservative "old guard" of the Republican party have accused Mr. Bush of "spending money like a drunken sailor" as over a billion dollars a week are authorized for the Iraq war and spent for no-bid contracts for administration cronies.
The sad part is that the money which is being thrown always appears to land in somebody's pocket without accomplishing the work for which it was intended. We now learn that some two billion dollars, appropriated for the purpose of training and arming Iraqi troops to take over security so that our troops can come home, has vanished into thin air, leaving a residue of metallic junk which is not worth a fraction of the money and is so bad that it is un-usable. The legitimate government figures in Iraq are mad as hell and who could blame them? At the instigation of the United States a large number of Iraqi expatriots were trucked into that unfortunate nation and placed by us into positions of power over the purse. One might suggest that a good place to start looking for those missing dollars would be in the international banking accounts of these wannabe Iraqi leaders.
With the near-total destruction of New Orleans, we are seeing the same patterns. While the National Guard were just organizing to find and rescue trapped citizens from their dxevastated homes and to deliver food and water to the trapped victims, a no-bid contract was let for Kellogg, Brown & Root to re-build the refineries and other oil-producing facilities. When the power companies were working around the clock to restore power to hospitals and other vital facilities, calls were made by Vice-President Cheney to order them to change the priorities to restoring power to the pipelines. It's a matter of setting "priorities".
This policy of prioritizing all privileges to the multi-national corporations and adminstration cronies has been standard practice since the beginning of this administration. Money is borrowed by the billions from foreign nations and pounded down the rathole into the bottomless pockets of the super-rich and the bill left to be paid by future generations of the American working class. And yet we are hit with more and unceasing demands for more tax cuts for the rich while the President cancels the Davis-Bacon regulation which would require the holders of those no-bid contracts to pay the "prevailing wage". It appears that they belive that $9.00 an hour is too much to pay for labor and more than enough for a man to be able to support his family while rebuilding his destroyed home.
In the meantime, while "throwing money" at the Iraq war and the New Orleans rebuilding, the President has woefully under-funded his No Child Left Behind initiative and is vowing that we will have to "save money" on domestic spending while going full-speed-ahead on the revocation of the estate tax which applies only to the very wealthiest among us. It is probably too late for this "poor little rich boy" to learn that there is a limit to available money. He has maxed out the national credit card and put the government of the mightiest nation in the world into bankruptcy, yet he sees no reason to quit spending. Even his Poppy and Uncle Dick do not have enough money between them to pay the bill. Instead of letting the people who have the privileges pay for them, he is throwing them all our lunch money and telling us that we will just have to work harder or go hungry.
While old-line conservatives are pleading for spending cuts to come from all the pork that was loaded into the "highway bill", and Democrats are pleading for a tax cut roll-back, Bush wants to cut "non-essential" programs like food stamps, school lunches, and education. Even delaying the Medicare Prescription program will not be considered even though, in my opinion, it is a tax of the poor and retired directed to the insurance companies, adding premiums, deductibles and co-payments far all but the current Medicaid recipients and which would, in fact, increase the cost for most of the median income purchasers of medications.
Now, that the sacred State of Texas has been damaged, we will see further instances of "throwing money at the problem" and everyone in the middle- and lower-income classes will feel intense pain. The total conversion of "United We Stand" to "Every Man For Himself" will have been completed and the once-proud United States of America will return to the age of Charles Dickens. When I was a youngster, we would have called these actions treason. When I was a Republican, we would have made Mr. President the honored guest at a tar and feathers party. Sometimes "progress" is not necessarily a good thing.

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