Poverty and the Bush Regime

Posted on Friday 17 March 2006

I recently received an e-mail which states that the Bush regime is spending money at the rate of $1 billion every eight hours and twenty minutes. This means that Bu$hco is spending a little over $33,000 per second. This is over twice the $16,090 poverty-level income for a family of three—per second.

This wouldn’t be so bad, if the Bush regime were spending the money on investments in the United States. If they were spending the money on improving healthcare or education in the United States, or using it to improve the technological infrastructure, to provide high-speed information services to the majority of residents, then it might make sense. Investing in the human capital or infrastructure of the United States would make our country more productive, and in the long-run would help the US pay off the massive debt the Bush regime is incurring. Unfortunately, that isn’t what is happening. What the Bush regime is doing is impoverishing future generations of Americans—who will be responsible for paying off the largest government deficits in history.

What is the Bush regime spending the money on?

The War on Fundamentalism

A large percentage of the money is being spent overseas, fighting a war against fundamentalism, that really can’t be won. In fact, Bush & Company have become one of the best reasons for fundamentalists to continue recruiting, and a good reason for recruiting to improve overseas. Money is also being spent to fight an illegal war and occupation of Iraq.

Homeland Stupidity Security

Another large chunk of the money is being spent on Homeland Security. While I am all for security, I don’t want money being spent on measures that actually do little, if anything, to actually increase our security. RFID passports, the TSA, warrantless and illegal wiretapping are all things that do very little to increase actual security in the United States, but often at great cost in terms of money spent and civil liberties.

Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and Corporate Interests

Another large chunk of the money is being “spent” financing tax cuts. Many of these tax cuts are going to the wealthy. More tax cuts are being given to corporate interests as well. While, technically not spending, these tax cuts have the same effect as spending, as the tax cuts reduce the amount of money the United States has to spend, and increases the debt that will burden future generations of Americans. Another area money is being spent is in large agricultural subsidies. Most of the “farmers” who benefit from these subsidies are large agribusiness corporations.

Where should the money be spent?

Universal health care

The United States is the only leading industrialized nation that does not provide some form of universal health care coverage for its residents. Furthermore, somewhere near 70 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills or medical problems.

Improved basic education

The United States trails the other industrialized nations in terms of basic literacy in math, the sciences, and language skills. Next to health care, the costs of higher education have drastically outpaced the increases in income. College is soon going to be unaffordable for many in this country. With the country’s shift away from manufacturing, into a service-based economy, most of the jobs which pay well, require some form of higher education. Most service industry jobs which do not require a college diploma are menial or extremely low-paying.

Improvements to Infrastructure

The United States should embark on a broadband initiative, much like South Korea did in the 1990s. The shift to an information-based economy would be greatly eased by widespread, high-speed connectivity. Unfortunately, the government at the municipal level which has attempted to do this has run afoul of corporate interests. In many states, it is now illegal for municipalities to try to provide free broadband internet access to its residents, due to laws passed favoring the telecom industry. Telecommuting would become possible for more people, possibly resulting in less traffic congestion, lower pollution, and higher productivity.

Other areas the infrastructure of the United States could be improved include public mass transportation systems. Most regions of the country do not have any reasonable form of mass transit. The lack of good mass transit systems is a major reason for the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

Developing and improving the energy infrastructure of the country would also be a good idea. Alternative fuel sources, like coal gasification, ethanol, and hydrogen fuel cells should be developed. Solar, wind and hydro-electric power should also be developed further. Nuclear power is an option, but may be one that is too controversial for development currently.

These things would actually improve the standard of living of the United States as a whole. Many would also help improve the environment. Many would benefit other countries, in addition to the United States.

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