Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When is 70 billion not enough but 35 billion too much?

When the 70 is to fund the thing killing more than 100 soldiers a month and the 35 is to provide health care for children that can't see a doctor...

Currently Congress is working on a federal budget. This is the annual budget that is going to fund pretty much all of government, except for the military and a few other things. The Pentagon gets funding through a separate budget process. However, Bush has requested $200 billion of extra funding to pour into Iraq.

Now, you and I know the Democrats aren't going to give in to such a foolish demand. Schumer, Polosi, Reed and all the rest told us they wouldn't give Bush any more blank checks for this war. They even said they would make sure we got out of there as soon as possible (some of them).

But surprise, according to CNN the Democrats are close to a deal that would give him only $70 billion for the next six months. They are trying to claim that this is some sort of victory; that giving him more than $200 from every man, woman and child living in the United States at this moment, and six months from now (not to mention just six months ago...) give him more. This is money that is sending our troops into a country we never should have entered in the first place. It has killed almost four thousand American troops and injured almost thirty thousand, devastating countless families.

And what do they call this gutless capitulation? "[A] partial victory." Why you might ask? Because "Bush is likely to get far less money than he originally requested." I'm sure Bush counts only seventy billion as a failure. I'm sure he will turn around and pull us out of Iraq now. You are sure showing him the bravery that the electorate was hoping for after hearing your promises of no new funding for the war. I mean, whats the difference between no new funding and 70 billion dollars, its nothing compared to the difference between 70 and 200 billion. Surely the voters won't notice.

And do you know the worst part? They are probably right. Most of us only have the choice between someone who will write a 200 billion dollar check that my three year old will need to pay off when he is 10 or a 70 billion dollar one. If there were one good alternative per district, you wouldn't see this crap. Even if these alternatives were in just half, maybe even in just a third of the country we might see change. But right now, it's a handicapped horse race. These two parties, who act so set against one another, are far less worried about disappointing their electorate than they are about saying no to a man that less than 35% of the population cares for.

To get to the second half of my headline, Bush has once more vetoed the SCHIP bill, saying it will be too expensive and its not the right thing for America. This bill that is too expensive is $35 billion for five years of funding, just 1.75% of his Iraq request. Just going by the numbers, this means that allowing 818 American soldiers (the six month average) to die is more than 57 times more worthwhile than helping an extra 4 million children who can't afford health care. That equation doesn't look good from any angle. And this doesn't even bring into account the potential wounded or the Iraqi civilian deaths and injuries.

Democrats, get some balls. Help our troops come home, or rather most of them - I'm not one of those who believe we can pull out completely, maybe I'll get into that soon. And you Republicans, tell this president that the children of this country do matter as more than just future cannon fodder for the war you're planning with Iran; get them the health care they need.

No comments: