Friday, January 21, 2005

Bush II: An assault on social services

Hey folks, this newly re-instated President might seem congenial enough. Apparently millions of Americans would be willing (maybe even eager) to have a beer with the guy. But as expected, Mr. Bush's agenda for his second term is a carefully veiled attempt to dismantle and even (let's hope you didn't hear it here first) bankrupt the social services sector of the federal government.

As squeemish as some of you might be about the inefficiencies and eccentricities of the federal government, it really does seem that most federal oversight is for the better. If only the standards and oversight coming (or not forthcoming) out of Washington were even better than they are. The states (take Mississippi, Utah and Texas, please!) have too many loop holes, lapses and inconsistencies. We need tough standards and high standards if we're going to make this big beast a better nation.

So, not only does Mr. Bush want to couch Social Security in terms of an imminent "crisis," he really wants to distract us with foreign affairs and even a "Wag the Dog" war while he underfunds, slashes, immasculates,deauthorizes and exterminates all sorts of social programs. (Exterminate? Did anyone say Tom Delay?

And we don't need a Terminator, either. We need those social services. We live in a complicated world, and the solutions are going to be complicated, too, and government, done right, can handle complications and checks and balances (for the public good) from which selfish corporations cut and run.

Even the Social Security embloglio is meant to distract us from the Bush administration's gutting of protections previously provided by the EPA, and the Departments of Justice, Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development. Generally, the feds have given us, wisely, better standards for clean water, clean air, public lands, forests, wilderness, wildlife and education than the states provide.

If anything, we need more and better experts. But Bush wants to pull the rug out from under almost all the experts not directly profiting from industry.

Democracy in action - and it ain't pretty the day after Bush put his hand on that Bible and read that pretty propaganda about what America OUGHT to be - something very different from what he and his cronies are cutting it down to be.


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