Vote For Bush
Unless You Want a Better and Stronger America
Posted on – 10/20/2004
This is the season when newspapers and individuals announce their endorsements in political races, including the presidential race. I see no reason not to join them. I’m endorsing Bush.
Over the last four years, we went from a $236 billion surplus to a $521 billion deficit. John Kerry had helped build that surplus, and create a balanced budget. He’s not promising to again balance the budget or recreate a surplus. Nobody could. But he has a plan for more prudent fiscal responsibility.
Over those years, we’ve also seen the dismantling of the entire Roosevelt New Deal.
Social Security, for example, which Gore promised to put in a metaphorical lock-box, has been raided by Bush’s administration. Kerry opposes forcing Americans to invest in a volatile stock market that most simply don’t understand. He also opposes using SSI money to pay for government programs, which is the current plan for every year through 2013.
Kerry believes when you submit a proposal for a massive Medicare overhaul, be honest about the cost. He believes when you send our military into battle, be prepared to live up to the promises you gave them about how they would be cared for upon their return. And he believes the environment belongs not only to this generation, but future generations, and not to big business.
New Source Review, the definition of “wetland,” mercury emissions guidelines, restrictions on nuclear waste disposal, and many other environmental programs have been weakened to benefit corporations over the last four years. Bush’s first appointee to head the EPA quit in protest after part of her report on global warming was rewritten to include language by oil company PR people. Kerry believes that the “conservative” ideals of environmental protection started under Nixon were the right path.
This administration would like us to believe these changes are necessary to strengthen the economy. But they haven’t done that. Bush will be the first president since Hoover to end a term in office with a net job loss. Finally we’ve begun to see an increase in jobs (lower paying than the ones lost,) but the working age population is growing at a rate faster than the rate of jobs “created.” Kerry has a plan to change that. It involves, tax incentives for job creators, tax penalties for outsourcing our jobs, and strict enforcement of existing trade treaties and negotiation of even stronger ones in the future.
Terrorism and National Security
About the suggestion that Kerry would be weak on terrorism; Kerry served this country honorably and when he returned made suggestions to change what we all know was wrong in Nam. In Congress, he’s strengthened our military by making necessary cuts of bloated programs and worked along with John McCain to normalize relations with Vietnam, relations that got us the remains of our MIA. He remained focused on the stated objectives of our terror war – obliterating al Qaeda, strengthening Homeland Security, building an international coalition to stop new terrorists and creating an atmosphere where the concept that America is the enemy of Islam is transparently false. He realizes that terrorism can never be completely eradicated. People will always find a reason to hate. But it can be something that doesn’t occupy every action we take every day of our lives.
Bush is running on his record as a war president. His team flatly suggests that he can do a better job at keeping America safe. However, Bush had been warned on numerous occasions that terrorism was a real and pressing threat. He’d been warned by the outgoing Clinton administration that it would be the biggest challenge he faced. He was given the Hart-Rudman commission report which outlined changes that needed to be made. And his own anti-terrorism chief begged ” asked repeatedly for the chance to meet and discuss bin Laden specifically. Not to mention the CIA briefings Bush received on exactly that subject throughout his first eight months in office.
But instead of facing the problem, Bush rejected the findings of Hart-Rudman, ignored Richard Clark’s and Sandy Berger’s warnings, cut anti-terrorism spending and removed bin Laden’s name from the list of active terrorists saying the previous administration had “made a mistake” in focusing too much energy on the al Qaeda leader, concentrating instead on Zarqawi because they thought they could use him to link Hussein to their axis-of-evil. In fact, they so needed Zarqawi alive and active, that they passed on numerous opportunities to capture or kill him.
Then, when the attack did come on 9/11, and once Bush had received confirmation that we were indeed under attack, he sat frozen in his seat for seven minutes while elementary school students practiced reading. Eventually, he managed to muster the presence of mind to deliver a few rousing speeches. After which he virtually abandoned the hunt for bin Laden and, knowing that Iraq posed no urgent threat, he concentrated instead on invading that country which had never attacked us. An action which arguably has caused an increase in terrorism globally and has left us less safe than we were on September 10, 2001.
George Bush and the US Congress acted early in the administration – before the horrible events of 9/11 – to enact no-child-left-behind. This was Bush’s program, and in all honesty, it would be a very good program, except that Bush doesn’t provide the funding for it in his budgets. They try to accuse Kerry of flip-flopping on this issue because he voted for it and then criticized the way it was enacted. Well, there is no flip-flop here except for Bush’s flip-flop on his promise to provide the funding.
The act (which is really old legislation from the Johnson administration brought back) requires annual testing, provides for incentives to demonstrate academic progress, requires that the states produce annual report cards on their progress, places qualifications guidelines on teachers, emphasizes reading though a grant program, and changes funding rules so that low income areas can qualify for more money. All of which are laudable and were laudable back when a democratic president first came up with it in 1965.
Unfortunately, the money promised was never made available, and the act also included unreasonable time frames – especially considering that the money for the grants and improvements was never adequately provided.
John Kerry has a plan to change that. They plan to establish a National Education Trust Fund, increase after school programs to 3.5 million students with what is known as the “School’s Open ‘Til ‘Six” initiative, and will give $4000 per student through a tax credit to families paying college tuition.
Bush’s primary plan to improve healthcare is to keep things as they are, but to enact tort reform. The idea behind tort reform is to place limits on damages and to make certain kinds of cases illegal to bring. All this does, is relieve insurance companies of liability, which supposedly translates into lower mal-practice insurance rates and allows the doctors to pass the savings on to you. Unfortunately, what it also does is limits the power of the courts and the people to hold bad doctors accountable.
In fact, just this past July, the Bush administration went to court to block lawsuits by consumers who say they have been injured by prescription drugs and medical devices. Their argument was that since the FDA had approved the drugs and machines, the customer had no standing to blame the drug companies, and it is already illegal to sue the government – which the FDA is a government agency.
By this reasoning, Merck, the maker of Vioxx is exempt from liability, despite the fact that they had known of problems with their product, and had even warned the FDA about them. Knowing the risks, both Merck and the FDA put the drugs on the market and the Bush administration thinks they should be immune from lawsuits.
One thing Bush is offering, and which ain’t bad, is to allow small businesses to act in groups to provide group health plans to their employees. In other words, the kind of group plans previously only available to larger employers would be available to groups of small businesses acting together, but individual companies would have less say on how their plans operated.
Other than that, the Bush’s have no plans. John Kerry does. All members of Congress are covered by an opt-in plan. This means that they have choice of coverers, including Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Kerry wants to make this plan available to lower income families as well. Bush says this amounts to a government health plan, but this is not true.
He also wants to allow the re-importation of American made drugs from Canada. Something the current Bush plan specifically prohibits. They say it’s because drugs from Canada are vulnerable to terrorists. Although Bush is currently trying to get flu vaccine from our neighbor to the north. Go figure.
The way this works is that Canada bargains for group discounts for medicine from drug companies. They then pass the savings on to you. It’s the same way that Walmart operates.
Another part of the Kerry plan is to reign in some of the government regulations on hospitals that cause administrative overrun. Kerry’s plan would cost the government quite a bit of money over ten years, however, he has proposed taking away the tax cut given to the top 10% to pay for it. These people would be paying the same tax rate they paid when Clinton was president. It didn’t keep them from making money then, and it won’t now.
Another benefit of the Kerry plan is that it reduces costs to employers, states and families. So does Bush’s plan, but Bush’s plan saves these groups 1/3 what the Kerry plan does. The only expense increase is the federal government’s share, and that gets taken care of in rescinding that unneeded tax break to the rich.
John Kerry has a plan for seniors as well. Most significantly, the Kerry plan changes the rules of the Bush enacted Medicare reform so that the government runs the drug benefit plan, and not the drug companies. Conservatives don’t like this because it means creating government oversight, but it beats the Bush plan of “putting the mob in charge of the prison” so-to-speak.
Another feature of the Kerry plan for healthcare for the elderly is to allow the states to bulk buy drugs which are not available from Canada. But the most significant feature of Kerry’s plans is his idea to take over catastrophic insurance from private insurers. We’ve all heard horror stories about children or mothers or other loved ones contracting incurable and expensive diseases. These can bankrupt families and cause all of our insurance rates to rise. Sometimes, insurance companies find loopholes to deny any coverage at all. Kerry has a plan where the government would take over these cases. This would be a huge burden lifted from insurers and the afflicted individuals and it would truly be a Christian case of American good Samaritanism as the cost would be shared by all Americans.
Is this socialism? You bet your ass it is. What of it?
I could continue listing reasons to vote for Kerry, but these should suffice. But more significantly, I could list reasons to vote against Bush until my fingers bled.
I don’t dislike the president. I want to make that clear. He’s probably a good guy; and I, like most Americans, would probably enjoy having a beer with him. But the reality is, he’s not coming to Toronto to have a beer. Neither candidate is. What he is doing is irreparable damage to this country. Terrorism is on the rise, the ecology is on the decline and Europe is quickly emerging as a single government under the European Union, and it is a union that doesn’t like us. The time has come to acknowledge that America is on the wrong course. It’s not an issue of Republican or Democratic pride. It’s not a time for being “resolute.” Change is needed, or the great “American Experiment” will soon fail.
Vote for John Kerry on November 2.