Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Presidents Budgetary Dichotomy

President Bush has vetoed the SCHIP bill which would have given medical insurance to the children of families who are too wealthy to qualify for medicare, but too poor to get their own insurance. The cost of the bill, $35 billion over 5 years, would be funded by raising federal taxes on cigarettes. The program would bring insurance to 4 million children who currently are not covered.

There are several reasons given by the President for the veto, but the one that captures my attention is his stated objection to the cost of the program. Again, the additional spending for the expanded program was funded by increasing taxes on cigarettes, so this was is not an unfunded program just adding more to the national debt.

Compare the Presidents logic on SCHIP to his request from Congress for $190 billion dollars to continue the war in Iraq. (The Senate has already voted to approve $150 billion.) Unlike the SCHIP bill, President Bush and his Republican enablers on Capitol Hill have no plan to pay for these funds. It will simply be money added to the national debt if they have their way about it. Some House Democrats actually proposed a surtax to pay for the Iraq funding request, but were shot down in short order by House leadership.

There is a real benefit to the American people from the SCHIP bill. Yet only the most ardent koolaid drinking right wing zealots pretend to see any benefit to America from sinking another couple of hundred billion dollars into the Iraqi quagmire. Where are our priorities here? This then is the much vaunted fiscal sanity which has Bush vetoing programs which enjoy broad support even as he increases debt to continue a manifest disaster. We are about to witness the Republicans in Congress vote in a bloc to increase the national debt for a cause which most Americans no longer support, while largely voting to sustain the President's veto of a funded bill which most Americans support.

I suppose this particular dichotomy on budgetary matters will not be a raging issue in next years election. The priorities and fiscal responsibility of which this is emblematic will be an issue though. President Bush has promised more veto's on more bills which enjoy widespread support, and he will be asking for more money in Iraq with no end in sight. So, for all appearances from my perspective, the Republicans are taking the rope they are being given and tying a noose, carefully making sure the rope is solidly anchored, before hanging themselves with it next year.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

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

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]