Wednesday, October 26, 2005

 

America attacked!

We spend so much time worrying about what foreign terrorists might do to us, we often neglect to see what domestic forces are doing to us. While we fret and worry about anthrax or small pox, our elected officials are chipping away at our Social Security and Medicare. Never mind the bomb in the New York subway. What are you going with your exploding debt if you get sick and end up in the hospital? You probably won't be filing bankruptcy, now that President Bush has gotten his way. And if things continue to go his way, you won't even have food stamps to take the place of the company pension you once thought was safe.

Average Americans are under attack, and they don't seem to be paying attention.

Just look at Congress and its scheme for financing rebuilding along the Gulf Coast after Katrina. Eager to look concerned and compassionate for the folks down in Louisiana and Mississippi, those bleeding hearts on Capitol Hill plan to spend $50 billion. Sounds great, except for that small print we learned about this week. Oh yeah, Congressional Republicans say, we forgot to tell you that we'll offset this expenditure by cutting programs that benefit regular folks. Under discussion for cuts are Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. Louisiana and Mississippi, the two states Washington is pretending to want to help so badly, stand to lose as much as $100 million and $46 million respectively in food stamps expenditures.

Also on the table is a proposal to raise fees to lenders who are in the student loan business, which is sure to further tighten an already-tough credit market for college students and their families who face skyrocketing tuition. In essence, we plan to help Americans by taking away programs we have in place to help them. Make sense?

U.S. Rep Todd Akin, a St. Louis-area Republican, seems to think so.

"We have to make some tough choices, and we have to figure out how we're going to pay for it," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We need to use the hurricane as an incentive to tighten our belt."

And there you have it straight from the mouth. A frightening number of right-wingers in Washington have viewed Katrina, not as a dire situation requiring immediate relief from suffering Americans, but instead as an opportunity to ram through a political agenda that most people have rejected more and more loudly in recent months. Weakened environmental regulations. Softer workplace safety requirements. Loosened standards for rewarding federal contracts. And now $50 million in cuts to programs that have benefitted Americans for decades but which right-wingers despise. That might be end up a truer legacy of Katrina than any footage from the New Orleans Convention Center.

Amazing, isn't it, how Republicans have suddenly morphed into budget hawks. Controlling our mounting deficit seems to be a concern only now.

"Why are we trying to find offsets for rebuilding Biloxi, but not for the cost of rebuilding Bagdhad?" asked U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, a Democract who happens to be my congressman.

Indeed, nobody on the Republican side of the aisle has felt compelled to find offsets for the war in Iraq or President Bush's massive tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact when asked if we should offset Katrina spending but cutting out the pork-laden highway boondoggle passed last summer, Tom Delay pointed out the dire importance of some new highway overpasses in his district. Apparently, we sould only wring our hands over spending when it benefits average Americans. Otherwise, the drunken rampage continues unabated.

Let me point out that many Washington Republicans, some quite conservative, also are standing up against these offsets. They include one of our Missouri senators, Jim Talent, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who in spite of being a right-wing ideologue frequently shows heart and concern for the least fortunate among us.

Meanwhile at your local Wal-Mart

Laurels were heaped earlier this week on the world's largest corporation for finally ponying up to subsidize affordable health coverage for its employees. Yet, days later we learn that the company is thinking up its own agenda of offsets. The New York Times has reported that a memo sent by Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, suggests cutting 401(k) contributions, lowering life insurance benefits and raising premiums on employee spouses.

The memo goes on to point out that employees with seven years seniority are costing the company considerably more than employees with one year without a commensurate increase in productivity. I think I would be a little concerned if had been with Wal-Mart for more than a few years, but from what I hear, those morning pep rallies have gone far in clouding their judgment. But in a victory for disclosure, Chambers admits in her memo that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart workers either go uninsured or are on Medicaid.

This is just the latest in a long line of disclosures underscoring Wal-Mart's crappy treatment of its own people. And we haven't even begun to discuss the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs to China or Mexico because of Wal-Mart's unrelenting pressure on suppliers to keep costs low.

Apparently the Todd Oldham designer toasters and the cute pit bull in the commercials aren't the only reasons to shop at Target.

As for those everyday low prices at Wal-Mart, hope you're enjoying them. We're all gonna need them, but the time these guys are done with America.

Comments:
Hi:, Just came across your blog. Intersting post and good looking site. I'm definitely going to visit again! I recently set up a new website just about San Diego dentists There are a lot of interesting dental articles. We will also feature Tijuana dentists If you have the time, please stop by and let us know how we can improve the site. Bob
 
Hi:, Just came across your blog. Intersting post and good looking site. I'm definitely going to visit again! I recently set up a new website just about San Diego dentists There are a lot of interesting dental articles. We will also feature Tijuana dentists If you have the time, please stop by and let us know how we can improve the site. Bob
 
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?