There’s no question that, at a certain level, America is enjoyed a gilded age unlike any other with the accumulation of wealth taking place at a fantastic rate. While that’s great news for 1/4th of 1% of the population, the rest of the country is having to make do with less each year. Since WWII, incomes listed on tax returns have grown every single year (with one exception). That is, until 2000, when those incomes started dropping. 2005’s numbers are the highest of that 4 year period, but are still 1% lower than 2000’s numbers.
And yet, our current administration is thwarting any and all attempts by states to expand the scope of State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance to low and lower-middle income children. Bush has already stated he’ll veto any attempts by the House and Senate to expand the mandate of Schips via legistlation, because he’s ‘philosophically opposed’ to the idea that a government should care for it’s citizens above and beyond the market.
Speaking of the market, and how well it takes care of us… As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, all the recalls for children’s products that have originated in China drive me insane with rage as it is. Of course, it has to get worse. McClatchy has a report detailing just how badly the Bush administration has undermined any and all efforts to police or regulate the quality of materials coming out of China. Because hey, the market will sort it all out! Is it as completely un-shocking to anyone else that the current head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission is a former National Association of Manufacturers lobbyist?
Update: Coincidentally enough, Slate has a great piece on how badly our government has mishandled the entire issue of lead additives in our products.
And finally… I keep waiting for my rage and sorrow regarding Iraq to bottom out, but apparently that hole is waaaaay deep. If you missed it, the New York Times ran an amazing piece on Sunday about Iraq that was written by seven soldiers just coming off a year’s deployment. The War as We Saw It provided a grounds-eye view of the conflict, unencumbered by Green Zones and hordes of security that buffer most other reports. In it, the soldiers lay out a harrowing example of what our men and women are facing over there:
A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bombâ€¦ The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.
You might think experienced and eye-witness accounts might offset some of the bluster left over from the widely-read Op/Ed from Brookings Institute ‘scholars’ Michael Oâ€™Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack (titled ‘A War We Just Might Win‘), which received widespread attention in the mainstream news cycle, as O’Hanlon and Pollack hit just about every pundit’s desk in New York and Washington. But no, of course not. So far such military geniuses as Tucker Carlson have opined that seven Army Rangers just aren’t qualified to make ‘those kinds of judgements’, and that the soldiers speaking out are actually a “detriment to the moral authority.”
Seriously, people. Who the hell should we be listening to? Stuffed shirt pseudo scholars or the 82nd Airborne? What makes this worse is the knowledge that the much ballyhoo’d status report on this year’s ‘surge’ won’t in fact be written by Gen. Petraeus, but by the White House itself. ‘Cause they’re so honest America, right?
When the hell do we finally say ‘enough’?