Thursday, February 02, 2006

Who Wins?

Today the House passed House Resolution 653, which is related to S.1932 that was passed using VP Cheney's tiebreaking vote.

It is, of course, the measure that calls for the end or revision of over 150 social programs. The first problem is that this cut is not enough. We will still be in deficit each year; which means the debt has no place to go than up.

There is no firm plan to pay down the debt.

And in the meanwhile, defense spending remains not only an impressive chunk of discretionary spending -- but there is no cap on its continuance.

Our polemic, it seems, is no longer liberty v. security. It is not so banal, so simple and understandable as this. We have through revisions to Medicare, the death of programs such as Adult Literacy etc. come to hurt most of the programs that go to those with the most need. The response by the government is to offer firm tax breaks that put money back into the hands of working adults. The irony of it all: those that don't pay taxes because they are too poor not only do not get a rebate, they get programs cut.

I would like to single out the great Congressman from NY Randy Kuhl. Why? Because he is my congressman and his top issue is this kind of financial literacy. Of course huge deficits are not suggested (although their economic effects are believed to be minimal). And I must say that many efforts, at least how they are advertised, try to better manage programs. But while the gist of the resolution is not wrong, the thought process seems a bit off.

In a modern welfare state, the task of government has been to provide for those least fortunate complete with the understanding that some people will not take advantage of their services. It catches people from falling through the cracks, but in itself is not yeast -- it doesn't make people rise up like a phoenix. Providing these necessary tools that free-market society does not offer, or would not without enticements, is considered by our culture and society the right thing to do.

Redefining this through minimizing these programs has drastic consequences. As a meritocratic nation, or so we shall become, the emphasis on growth of lets say 85% of the nation shall proceed at the competitive stream. And with minimizing valuable programs and taking away loan opportunities we cut a large percentage of our population out of the loop.

The population size and effect...I need numbers, and will look them up and run calculations (however shifty they may be). And as I stay up at the early hours this morning reading the actual text of some small passages it is rather shocking what is happening. A disabled veteran, for instance, can only claim upto 10,000 when returning from war to have his house adjusted for standards, or the same to buy one that is already outfitted. Of course people have read how it effects us college students: nothing seems to be too far out of the ordinary except they are changing the Pell Grant rates, and there will be, asthe NY Times reported, higher loan rates. Overall, it is going to yield an interesting few years as this lasts until 2010.

What does this mean for the country? I feel a pretty strong shift. Of course this wont call an end to pork-barrel projects that build bridges to no-where and fund efforts that never happen; and worse yet supply funds in kickback schemes such as the one we have seen in Iraq, and the bribery scandals that have recently embroiled Congress. I would call these egregious issues that should take pre-eminancy, but I suppose I should take my back seat -- I don't control the agenda, but I sure as hell wish I did.

It all makes me quite livid, particularly with Congressman Kuhl for his complicity. Why him? because he is MY Congressman. I think I will ask him: If we are without liberty nor opportunity, is security even worth the argument? It is quite the interesting predicament. I do not need to melodramatize it so much; but it is a real issue - something I believe deserves more attention than I think it has reserved. A story of such historic proportions shouldn't be an afterthought. I would hope people renew the fight to question the legitimacy; it was good to read many moderate republicans voted almost shamefully and wish they could change their vote.


Post a Comment

<< Home