Norma Sherry: Slamming Entitlement
By Norma Sherry
Franklin Delano Roosevelt must be turning in his grave. Entitlement programs, hogwash. Medicare, phooey. Medicaid, who the hell cares? After-school programs, let them take care of themselves. Social Security, let 'em cake. The New Deal is a dead deal, who cares about the little weasels?
According to Federal Reserve guru, Alan Greenspan, who is obviously in touch with the man and woman on the street, in the ghetto, in the old-age home, in the nursing home, living hand to mouth, he proclaims the answer to our financial woes of an overly exuberant and financially-bankrupt administration is to cut from those who need it the most.
Greenspan offered his latest mutterings, not as a spokesperson of the Federal Reserve, as if one could separate the man who wields so much power from his titled position of "Federal Reserve Chairman". Not one word did he whisper to our billions of dollars to fight a war that should never have been. Not one word did he growl about the tax breaks zealously given to our corporations. The same corporations, by the way, who have tax shelters up the ying yang, off-shore headquarters created solely to exonerate them from our tax-paying laws, and who have de-railed the American worker by importing and exporting cheap labor. Nada. Not a word.
Not a word denouncing how this deficit we, the American people, find ourselves in without any say in the matter, and yet, it is the American public, its very citizens and their promised benefits, Mr. Greenspan claims is the answer to our financial debacle.
"You're just going to have to work longer" is the mantra of the super-rich to the super-poor. "Work 'till you drop" is their new singsong. There is no consequence for the rich, for the corporate CEO and hierarchy, or for our esteemed body of representatives. Nay, they have more than their financial cushion. For all intents and purposes, they don't have to work another day in their lives. They're the Paris Hilton's, the arrogant, self-involved, uncaring, unfeeling, unaware, ne'er-do-well's spewing remedies that secure their misbegotten wealth.
How is it, Mr. Greenspan, that you haven't decried this administration's foolhardy spending? Surely, Mr. Greenspan, you conveyed Economics 101 to our president. How is it, Mr. Greenspan, that you didn't suggest cutting the free benefits to our legislators, you know, the one's they didn't have to pay into like the poor working-class schlubs. Their free for life medical care for their entire family, their pay for life, their spousal benefits for life, their limousines and private planes, their free trips, their free gifts, their free offices, their secretaries that can't type - or yours, for that matter, Mr. Chairman? I wonder, Mr. Greenspan, if you and yours, and our revered legislators had nothing but Social Security and Medicare to look forward to in retirement and in their most senior life, would your recommendations be the same?
Let's take a quick look at what Mr. Bush deems worthy of our astronomical debt. Obviously, it is not clean air despite his claims to the contrary. Would you believe, even President Reagan did more for this issue than Bush? But I divert. The Bush administration has outsourced 70% of our national park's service staff. He has weakened the 30-year-old Clean Air Act; he has instituted management goals that fall below the federal legal requirements for preserving our national parks. He is permitting construction of power plants outside several national parks without any strict pollution controls, and he has rendered a 137-year-old mining law useless, which leaves our treasured national parks unprotected from the greed of land developers.
Certainly, our money hasn't gone to our national parks. In fact, this administration has failed to fulfill the president's pledge to provide the necessary funding during his first four years in office for the backlog of construction, maintenance, and resource protection.
So, we haven't gone in debt for the betterment of our national resources.
We already know it's not the Medicaid system that's bankrupting our nation. This administration has done all but eliminate the program. Given the opportunity that, too, will come to pass.
It's not due to an increase in unemployment benefits or educational programs for the more than ten-million unemployed and 20-million and counting, underemployed. However, Bush did propose a $680-billion "stimulus" package benefiting corporations and the top 5% of the population - a bonanza for the wealthy.
So, it's not due to the betterment of national resources, Medicaid for our most needy citizens, unemployment benefits for our heretofore, treasured workers - the tally is definitely lopsided.
It's not health care for women and children because in 2001, this president of family values, proposed cutting Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening, contraceptive coverage for federal employees, Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, which provide health care to women before, during, and after pregnancy. He proposed freezing the healthy Start Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the discretionary portion of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, Safe and Drug Free Schools, After School Centers and eliminate entirely, the School Counselors Program and funding for Reading is FUNdamental. Not bad for the "leave no child behind" president. Additionally, the budget reduced the Equal Opportunity Commission and The Small Business Administration. This is the same president that ran on "W is for Women", makes one ponder what the "W" actually represented.
Greenspan wants Congress to make President Bush's tax cuts permanent and cover the $1 trillion price tag by 'trimming' future benefits in Social Security and entitlement programs. At a time when the largest bloc of citizens will come of age - that of retirement for baby boomers, this issue has the potential of backfiring in the face of 'compassionate conservatives'.
For the $103-plus-billion spent thus far on the unnecessary, ill-conceived, and illegal war in Iraq, ten million children could have spent a year in Head Start; nearly 32-million children could have had a year of health care. More so, 1.5-million teachers could have been hired, nearly 2-million young people could have gotten a 4-year scholarship to a state university, and a million affordable housing units could have been built.
In the prophetic words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, on April 16, 1953, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
While our "Compassionate President" and our "Compassionate Legislators" destroy the fabric of our humanity, consider these numbers. Worldwide 16-million people are dying of starvation, 800-million are undernourished, 980-1000-million people are without medical care, 1-billion people lack adequate shelter, and 100-million are homeless. It appears abundantly clear that the answer to our ills is not to eviscerate the programs that offer some semblance of dignity to those who are in need.
No, Chairman Greenspan, it's time to find your humanity - and while you're at it, bring George Dubya back to class with you.
© Norma Sherry 2004
Norma Sherry is co-founder of TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and host of upcoming television program, The Norma Sherry Show on WQXT TV. Email Norma: firstname.lastname@example.org