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Bush's position on safety nets

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 5, 2006
Latest Update: February 5, 2006

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Bush's position on safety nets

I'm used to disagreeing with President Bush on his position on safety nets. He wants to cut them period. All of them. He doesn't want government to provide safety nets. One of our students said that he believes the money he earns is his, and the government has no right to spend on safety nets for others. I figured that was a pretty hard line for a Christian, given Christ's emphasis on taking care of the poor and the ill and sinners. After all, we are all sinners, and Christ's suffering was to save us.

But on Sunday morning, as I read Robert Pear's latest report on what administration officials and lobbyists are saying, I was still shocked:

"Mr. Bush has signaled that he intends to curb rapid increases in federal spending linked to the aging of the population. 'The retirement of the baby boom generation will put unprecedented strains on the federal government," Mr. Bush said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.'

" . . .

. . ."But whether Congress has the appetite to trim popular benefit programs in an election year is unclear."

From Backup of "Bush to Propose Curbing Growth in Medicare Cost," By Robert Pear, New York Times, p. A 1 on Saturday, February 4, 2006. Backup.

Those are your parents, kids. I guess the government, or at least this administration, never figured out that constantly rising population meant that all those people were going to age. Gee, I guess it's an act of nature or something, like a tsunami or an earthquake, and we're never too well prepared for those.

I guess President Bush didn't do too well in math, either. If X is all the money our government spends on older people, and Y is the number of older people,. what happens if Bush refuses to let X get larger, but Y increases all the while? Don't try to do the algebra. ( I didn't give you all the numbers you'd need.) Just think about it for a minute or two. It's a word problem. Common sense will get you through it, if the X and Y don't terrorize you.

Notice that Robert Pear doesn't speculate on the moral and ethical issues involved, but on "whether Congress has the appetite to trim popular benefit programs in an election year." Morality and ethics in this administration's decisions, simply aren't addressed.

Notice also how hard it is for me to frame these comments as Luntz and Lakoff would teach me. It's not easy to do. It's hard enough to think my way through all these issues, fear that's continually evoked on so many fronts, and then remember which language I should use and how to frame it. Luntz and Lakoff are right. This is going to take serious study and retraining.

And if it's hard for me with all my training, I'll bet it's not just plain old duck soup for you. Hang in there. Jason, we shall overcome once more. And it probably won't be the last time.



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