the bushies abandon any pretext at compassion

Paul Krugman wrote an interesting op-ed column in today’s New York Times. In it he lays out how the Bushie proposed budget cuts will slam poor children and families while, at the same time, the rich will stand to reap even more money when two deduction limitations, put into place by Bush I, will be phased out. He goes on to write,

Until now, the administration has also been able to pretend that the budget deficit isn’t an important issue so the role of tax cuts in causing that deficit can be ignored. But Mr. Bush has at last conceded that the deficit is indeed a major problem.

Why shouldn’t the affluent, who have done so well from Mr. Bush’s policies, pay part of the price of dealing with that problem?

Here’s a comparison: the Bush budget proposal would cut domestic discretionary spending, adjusted for inflation, by 16 percent over the next five years. That would mean savage cuts in education, health care, veterans’ benefits and environmental protection. Yet these cuts would save only about $66 billion per year, about one-sixth of the budget deficit.

On the other side, a rollback of Mr. Bush’s cuts in tax rates for high-income brackets, on capital gains and on dividend income would yield more than $120 billion per year in extra revenue - eliminating almost a third of the budget deficit - yet have hardly any effect on middle-income families. (Estimates from the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution show that such a rollback would cost families with incomes between $25,000 and $80,000 an average of $156.)

Why, then, shouldn’t a rollback of high-end tax cuts be on the table?

It’s pretty clear that the Bushies, are engaged in full-out class warfare. Heaven help you if you are a poor child in America, because you won’t get any help from the government or from any of the rich white men running America.

It’s heartening to see that the Democrats seem to be resurrecting what’s left of their spines by coming out strong against the Bushie massacre of Social Security. And maybe, with Dean at the helm, they’ll figure out once again what the Democratic Party stands for.  Now it’s time for them to kick some ass on this budget proposal and came up with a plan that, at the very least, doesn’t take food and medicine away from babies and the poor.

One thing I’ve become even more acutely aware of is how dangerous it is in this country not to have health insurance. We do have health insurance, albeit with high deductibles, and it’s going to be painful for us to pay for what insurance doesn’t cover for Stanley’s surgery and testing. I can’t imagine what we would do if we were in the same circumstances, but without the minimal health insurance coverage that we have. The bill submitted by his cardiologist for the cardiac catheterization is for $6,200. That’s more than $2,000 per hour for this procedure, including the time Stanley spent in recovery. This amount of money, for this one test, would wipe out any family living on the edge, sending them into bankruptcy. And this is for ONE test dealing heart disease, the number one killer in our country, particularly of the poor.

Why don’t we have national health insurance? Why do people who work hard all their lives, who follow the rules and pay their taxes and contribute to society have to live in fear of ending up on the streets if illness strikes? We pay Oxford nearly $7,500 per year for our health insurance—we would gladly pay this and even more in taxes if it meant national health insurance.

I can’t gloat when the Bushies push something through that hurts the red-state bubbas and bubbettes who voted for him—yeah, they’re getting what they deserve (especially in Florida and Ohio). But it’s also hurting all of us, the immorality of abandoning the weak and the poor and the sick. What are we going to do about those 300,000 people left with nothing if the Bushies win this one?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/12/05 at 07:15 PM
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