October 11, 2004
Are We Better Off Than We Were 4 Years Ago?
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
4 years ago we had an annual budget surplus of $250 Billion (+$250,000,000,000/year). We now have an annual deficit of over $450 Billion (-$450,000,000,000/year). Our national debt increases by over $1.8 Billion/day ($1,800,000,000).
4 years ago George Bush promised (in his own campaign ad) that he would allocate $2.4 Trillion ($2,400,000,000,000) to strengthen Social Security and pay benefits. So far he has taken over $500 Billion OUT of Social Security funds to try to help pay for his record deficit!
4 years ago there was no compelling reason to attack Iraq. Even after 9/11, there was no imminent threat or compelling reason to attack Iraq. Despite what our President and Vice President have claimed, there was no relation between 9/11 and Iraq! President Bush has changed his reasoning for the Iraq war 27 times! The latest version is that "Sadaam was a bad person". Well, Sadaam was a bad person when Donald Rumsfeld arranged to have the helicopters shipped to Iraq (1983), the same helicopters that were used to gas Kurds and Iranians (ref: 1994 Congressional hearings with the CIA). Sadaam was also a bad person when our State Department okayed the shipments of organic poisons that were used in his chemical warfare program. Before the Iraq war, there were no terrorists in Iraq, now there are plenty of them, and with our collateral damage, we make more of them every day.
4 years ago there was an anti-missile plan (Star Wars), a design that was recognized as being flawed. The Bush Administration has pushed this non-working Missile defense, on the fears that North Korea was developing Nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Well, after $130 Billion spent, we will have a non-functioning ‘shield’ that makes us even more susceptible to attack. This ‘shield’ has not been proven effective, even at shooting down our own missiles, when we know and input exact parameters of flight. How can we expect any security from that? The only thing that it does is make the North Koreans think that they are less secure, so they need to improve their weapons. All this occurs while the Bush administration refuses to talk directly to the North Koreans.
4 years ago, our country was respected in the world community. Now we lead a coalition of 30 countries (in this ‘coalition’ the USA pays for 90% of the costs and has 90% of the casualties). Comparing troop strengths, the state of Missouri would be the 3rd largest member of the ‘coalition’.
Our military now depends on outside-the-military hired contractors (i.e. Halliburton and Kellogg Root) to maintain its’ supply lines, and do interrogation and clerical duties. A little history: In the Battle of the Bulge (WWII), the Allies would have lost, if not for the call-up of the military personnel whose duties were clerical and supply. In Mogadishu ("Black Hawk Down"), if not for the heroic efforts of the clerical workers, and truck drivers, there would have been no rescue. The attrition rate in the US armed services is 0%, in hired personnel it is 30%, can we expect these workers to step into harms way when needed? Does outsourcing make a stronger army?
In the last 4 years the cost of Health insurance coverage has tripled (on average), and coverage is less. The Bush administration has passed a Medicare bill, which was a giveaway to the drug industry and HMO’s. The $400 billion bill (the actual cost of over $500 Billion was purposefully hidden by the HHS until after passage) turned out to give over $100 Billion to Drug companies and HMO’s, and very little help to our seniors.
4 years ago, George Bush scorned the idea of "Nation Building". Yet, it is exactly what he has done since.
4 years ago the incoming Bush administration placed terrorism below drug interdiction programs on their priority list (terrorism was #6 on priorities list). For 9 months they ignored the pleas by their terrorism expert to address this problem. On January 25th, 2001, they were told there were terrorist sleeper cells already in the U.S. On August 7th, 2001, they were told "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S." What was their response? Attorney General Ashcroft stopped flying commercial after the meeting. That’s it. Why was it concluded that it was unsafe for Ashcroft to fly commercial, yet safe for everyone else. In an ironic twist, on the morning of 9/11 George H.W. Bush was meeting with the upper echelon of in the Bin Laden family business. His father Mohammed Awad bin Laden.
4 years ago (actually in the late spring of 2001), our Republican congress gave the Taliban $40 Million dollars for their drug interdiction efforts. We were rewarded with 9/11. We used 1/10 the amount of military forces in Afghanistan than we did in Iraq. Even though the population of Afghanistan and Iraq are nearly the same, we have allocated 1/10 the amount of reconstruction aid to Afghanistan than we have to Iraq. Afghanistan now produces 3 times more opium than it did before we liberated it, in fact opium is the leading component in their Gross Domestic Product. The recent elections, according to all the opposition candidates, were rife with corruption, thus putting into question the legitimacy of the elections. President Bush claimed that over 10 million people were registered to vote, yet it is interesting that by all estimations there are only 9 million actual voters. Due to the war on terror, we now support, in Pakistan, a General who overthrew a legitimately elected government, and during whose watch nuclear technology was transferred from Pakistan to North Korea, Iran, Libya and others.
4 years ago most stem cell research was being done in the U.S. The Bush administration put the brakes on that. They claim to be the first administration to fund stem cell research, let’s look at the facts: Our government allocated $25 million for stem cell research, the same amount allocated for research on St. John’s Wort. Stem cells have the possibility (and recent tests indicate that heart tissue can re-grow using embryonic stem cells) to cure a multitude of genetic and other diseases. What about the use of human embryos in acquiring stem cells? First, the Bush administration has not responded about the use of fertilized eggs thrown out by fertility clinics (shouldn’t that also classified as an abortion), secondly, there is research being done that does not require fertilized eggs to obtain embryonic stem cells (an unfertilized egg is stimulated to divide by electricity, then the cells are harvested from the blastocyst). The Bush Administration claim that they legalized the study of over 50 stem cell lines, well, the truth is 24 stem cell lines are actually available, and those 24 have been deemed virtually useless for human research because of cross contamination from mouse DNA.
Tax breaks (lopsided to the rich) are not really Tax breaks. They are Tax referrals, because Congressional spending, rather than being cut, is out of control. We, and our children, will pay for these tax referrals dearly in the future. They will haunt our economy, interest rates, and stability.
We have a President who claims that he is a compassionate conservative, yet he is neither. We have a President who claims his opponent changes his position constantly, yet does so himself. We have a President who consistently makes the wrong choices, and is unwilling to admit he made a mistake. Leadership is based on making the right decisions, and when you are wrong, the willingness to admit it, and change paths. The Bush administration cannot, and will not do this. President Bush’s leadership, is leading us down the wrong path.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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