Daily Archives: March 5, 2004

The Real Face of "Compassionate Conservatism"

Florida Tells Sick Kids to Get Lost

Gov Jeb Bush, the hero of the Florida election debacle, wants to cut medical care for the sick kids of low-income families. He considers the amount of his state’s contribution to KidCare, the “Florida version of the nationally popular and successful Children’s Health Insurance Program”, to be too extreme. In January, he ordered state officials to start putting eligible kids beyond a certain number on a “waiting list.”

Even children with serious health problems were put on the list. Conni Wells, director of the Florida Institute for Family Involvement, which advises families on health matters, told me at the time, “We’ve had families tell us they’ve put off buying groceries so they can afford to take their child to the doctor.”

As a result, the “waiting list” came in for some bad press. Instead of fixing the problem by just ordering the kids on it to be put directly into the program, Jeb arranged a little suprise. Bob Herbert explains in today’s NYT:

The attention given to the Florida waiting list by the news media embarrassed the state Republican Party, which controls the governorship and both houses of the State Legislature.So here’s the good news: The Legislature is expected to approve a measure that would end up providing coverage to about 90,000 of the 100,000 or so youngsters on the waiting list at the end of January.

The rest of the news is not good. Republican leaders in the Florida House and Senate have crafted the new legislation in ways that will radically limit future access to KidCare and prevent the press and the public from getting information about the number of kids who are frozen out.

At least we knew over the past several months that children were being put on a waiting list. Under the new legislation, eligible youngsters who are denied enrollment in KidCare will not be put on a waiting list. There won’t be any waiting list.

So public pressure is forcing them to take care of most of the kids they tried to freeze out, and to make sure that never happens again, they’re changing the rules to freeze out even more and make sure there’s no way the press will find out about it.

Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which has been monitoring the developments in Florida, said, “Politically, what that means is that nobody — not us, not you, not anyone — would be able at any point to say that 30,000 or 50,000 or 80,000 or 100,000 kids are on the waiting list because there would no longer be any record of a waiting list.”At the same time, the enrollment process would be sharply curtailed. Under the new legislation, there would be only two 30-day periods each year in which parents would be allowed to try to enroll their children in KidCare. Worse, the state would not be required to actually conduct those two enrollment periods. State officials could simply declare, for budgetary reasons, that there would be no enrollment in a given year. (emphasis added)

Isn’t that sweet? Herbert says, “This is mean-spirited stuff. We are finding new and ingenious ways in this country to wreak havoc on low-income people.” I think he’s being too kind.

Is this what you expected “compassionate conservatism” to mean? Playing govt tricks on poor families with sick kids so they wouldn’t have to treat them? Is that really what you had in mind when Jeb’s bro was running around the country sayin’ as how he wanted to he’p po’ folk git a leg up? I don’t think so, but that’s what you got.

ALL the Bushes need to go. They’re a collective blight on the country and not one of them seems to have the amount of soul God gave a pig. Down with the whole damn family! (Whew!)

Junior Reduced to "Rhapsodizing" Over Scraps

In a jobless recovery (I’m removing the quotes) which barely squeaked out a meager 2000 new jobs in February, waaaaaay below what was expected even by pessimists, Bush found himself in Bakersfield, CA yesterday frantically struggling to come up with some good economic news, and sonuvabitch if if he didn’t find some.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., March 4 — President Bush rhapsodized Thursday about the possibility that a stock-car firm in this hot, dry community will add two jobs this year, as he refined his campaign message of economic optimism.Bush, seated on a highchair along with five small-business workers and owners, was speaking at a “conversation on the economy,” a talk-show-type event the White House stages regularly in front of television-friendly signs that say, “Strengthening the Economy.”

Prompted by the president, chassis-maker Les DenHerder said the tax cuts Bush backed might allow him to hire two or three more people.

Glorioski, Sandy! Break out the champagne! Two, maybe even three new jobs! The crisis is over!

“When he says he’s going to hire two more, that’s really good news,” Bush said. “A lot of people are feeling confident and optimistic about our future so they can say, ‘I’m going to hire two more.’ They can sit here and tell the president in front of all the cameras, ‘I’m going to hire two more people.’ That’s confidence!”

Yessiree, Bob. I’m pumped.

This here is what’s generally known as “scraping the bottom of the barrel,” and Junior is so out of touch that he doesn’t even know it. He said this as if he actually believed it represented great economic news, not the sad, pathetic dregs of his massively ineffective economic “policies”. DenHerder’s small company makes fiberglass stock cars–not exactly the new wave of the future manufacturing economy.

DenHerder, 47, said he plans to spend $50,000 on a welding machine and pipe-bending equipment, and expects to save about $7,000 because of the new tax laws.”That’s how the economy works,” Bush said. “He makes a decision. It affects a lot of people, the decision you make. So when you hear ‘tax relief,’ I hope people connect tax relief with decision-making — and decision-making to jobs. That’s what we’re talking about. That’s why the tax relief was important for job creation.”

He really believes this shit. We’re haemorrhaging millions of jobs and he’s ecstatic because the $$BILLIONS$$ he gave away to the rich in tax relief might have resulted in adding 2 or 3 jobs here and a half dozen there. One is becoming justified in asking: “What planet does this guy live on? Does he have even a smidgen of a clue what’s going on with regular folks?”

Two lousy jobs. How dare he?

(Thanks to Phaedrus for the link to The Center for American Progress)