Daily Archives: May 19, 2004

Bush and Social Darwinism

If Elizabeth Bumiller is too busy noting the length and strength of the standing ovations President Junior gets from his Rovian hand-picked audiences to inform us that virtually everything he says in the speech itself is a lie, the NY Times‘ Robert Pear has done a little more of his homework.

WASHINGTON, May 18 — Like many of its predecessors, the Bush White House has used the machinery of government to promote the re-election of the president by awarding federal grants to strategically important states. But in a twist this election season, many administration officials are taking credit for spreading largess through programs that President Bush tried to eliminate or to cut sharply.

Nice to know somebody at the Times has caught up at last. Just so you know, Robert, what you stumbled onto is called a ‘BushCon’–a bait-and-switch shell game when you praise a program in public that you know people like just before you destroy it in private. Oh, and by the way? They’ve been doing it for three years, Bob. Three years. But better late than never, I suppose. (Seems like I’ve been saying that a lot lately.)

Nice as it was of you to notice after three years, though, I have to say that ‘cut sharply’ is a leetle understated. See, Bob, a 10-20% cut is ‘sharp’; a 30% cut is usually ‘devastating’; 80 and 90% cuts are elimination in everything but name.

Justice Department officials recently announced that they were awarding $47 million to scores of local law enforcement agencies for the hiring of police officers. Mr. Bush had just proposed cutting the budget for the program, known as Community Oriented Policing Services, by 87 percent, to $97 million next year, from $756 million.

Those are salaries, Bob. The Law ‘n Order President is cutting $650MIL$ worth of police officers from the nation’s streets. It wasn’t enough as it was; $100Mil is a drop in the bucket, the virtual elimination of the program. But you gotta admit, it’s a neat trick: people will hear your announcement and think you’re boosting programs when what you’re actually doing is taking away $650Mil and then making a big deal about giving less than $50M of it back. The people get bamboozled into thinking they’ve gained $50M when in fact they’ve lost $600M. Cute.

Oh, and Bob? We may not get the $50Mil, either. That’s just an ‘announcement’, you know–like public relations or an ad. It doesn’t mean they’re going to actually do it. In fact, their track record is so bad you can pretty much assume they won’t. Like when they said they were going to quit fund-raising in April when they reached $200MIL$ and then promptly sent Junior out on an extended campaign fund-raising trip? When these clowns tell the truth, it’s an accident.

The administration has been particularly energetic in publicizing health programs, even ones that had been scheduled for cuts or elimination.Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced recently that the administration was awarding $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states plan and provide coverage for people without health insurance. Mr. Bush had proposed ending the program in each of the last three years.

The administration also announced recently that it was providing $11.6 million to the states so they could buy defibrillators to save the lives of heart attack victims. But Mr. Bush had proposed cutting the budget for such devices by 82 percent, to $2 million from $10.9 million.

In April, Secretary Thompson announced that the administration was awarding $3.1 million in grants to improve health care in rural areas of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico and New York. He did not mention that the administration was trying to cut the same rural health program by 72 percent, to $11.1 million next year, from $39.6 million.

Mr. Thompson likewise recently boasted that the administration was awarding $16 million to 11 universities to train blacks and Hispanic Americans as doctors, dentists and pharmacists. But at the same time, the administration was urging Congress to abolish the program, on the ground that “private and corporate entities” could pay for training.

See the pattern here? And this is a partial list. People having heart attacks don’t have a lobbying group HQ’d on K Street fighting for their defibrillators, so they don’t get them. People who don’t have health insurance don’t have it because they can’t afford it, which in turn means they can’t afford lobbyists, either. Result, end of program. Rural populations don’t as a general rule matter much in national elections as against the more populated areas and tend to vote Republican nationally even when they vote Democratic locally, so, basically, screw ’em. We got ’em anyway, why do we have to buy ’em?

And one more thing: every single one of those programs is on the ‘To Be Privatized’ list–the corporate list of programs they want the govt to hand over to them so they can market them to people or groups with the money to pay a healthy mark-up for them.

What about everybody else?

They don’t have money? Then they’re not worth worrying about. Bush is practicing the Social Darwinism that he just said on Friday ‘America rejects’. Yeah, well, America may but the Bush Admin embraces it like a lover.