Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Republicans would have us believe...

... that rebuilding the Gulf region would require hungry children, sick people, and Big Bird's demise. They've proposed cutting a TRILLION dollars from the federal budget -mostly from health care for the poor, Amtrak, student loans, and PBS. (What do they have against that big yellow bird???) They're calling it Operation Offset.

I admit that the costs for rebuilding the Southern coast are huge. Really, really huge. Estimates for reconstruction (that's an unfortunate word when applied to the south -again) are about $200 billion, according to Time magazine. Say that they get in there and discover that it's going to cost more than they thought and there are cost overruns -surely not unheard of with federal programs. Maybe it will cost $400 billion.

Ok.... Bush's tax cuts -mostly for the uber-wealthy- amount to $327 billion. Repeal those and we're most of the way there.

But stay with me here.... How does it make sense to allegedly offset a $200 billion expense with a $1 TRILLION cut in the budget? Here's just a snippet of what they propose:
  • $225 billion cut from Medicaid
  • $200 billion from Medicare
  • $25 billion from the Center for Disease Control
  • $6.7 cut from school lunches for poor children
And there's plenty more; it takes a while to get to the grand total of $949 billion. You can read the whole nauseating document here: Operation Offset.

MoveOn has done a fabulous job of collecting the full information and starting a grassroots campaign against this debacle. There's a petition to sign here: Petition.

I can't believe -and am a little disturbed by- how political this blog has become in the past few days. It's not really my primary interest or area of expertise, which I guess is obvious. But didn't Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath teach us/remind us that the wealthy and well-connected can be safe while the poor are left to fend for themselves? Not that that was really news to the social workers of the world, but hopefully we can capitalize on a moment of collective outrage here. The poor were left to die in New Orleans and they're being abandoned and endangered again. How can THAT be our political will?

Maybe tomorrow I'll blog about something I DO know about -like knitting!

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