Continuing an almost perfect record of tone-deaf comments President Bush touted his Social Security overhaul recently by suggesting that it was a wonderful idea for black Americans because statistics show they die at earlier ages than whites so, by owning a portion of their retirement, they would be able to ‘cash in’ you might say on their earlier mortality instead of having all those dollars tied up in the Social Security system. Quite an appealing message isn’t it? Never mind trying to explore the reasons behind the statistic. Just slip it into the argument for promoting the administration’s private-account scheme. And never mind in a more general way, that the president’s tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans, probably more white than black, represent a hole in funding that could have been used to shore up Social Security.
Then there was the enlightened message from the president when asked whether anyone in his administration should be held accountable for mistakes or miscalculations in Iraq. Mr. Bush replied that there had been a day of accountability on Election Day. The people had a choice and “they chose me.” Well yeah, kind of, if you disregard the fact that he won by the smallest percentage in history, that there were large numbers of voting anomalies and unexplained discrepancies and that many state votes were close even when the state went red. It certainly seems that, even among people who continue to support the war, there are questions about its conduct. On C-Span’s Sunday Washington Journal David Kay, former weapons inspector, said he had been in many countries and seen a lot of looting, but never anything on the scale of the widespread, persistent looting and disorder that occurred in Iraq after the initial end to hostilities. Thus because the US had always been viewed as a promoter of law and order, the lawlessness in Iraq was a major setback to the successful promotion of our agenda there.
And when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry there could not be a more fervent supporter than this administration. President Bush continues to promote tort reform as the answer to many of the nation’s health care problems irrespective of specific medical abuses. Take for example the withdrawal by their manufacturers of Vioxx and Celebrex from the market due to the high incidence of hearth attacks associated with the use of those drugs. Worse, though, as Bob Herbert notes in his column (NY Times 1/14/05) legislation now being considered to curtail malpractice suits contains a provision that would deny the award of damages, indeed the pursuit of lawsuits, in cases where drugs had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Apparently, although some drugs may be efficient in certain areas but lethal in others, we have to conclude that not only are there some serious shortcomings at the industry testing level but in the approval process at the Food and Drug Administration as well.
How then does this administration square its ideological rants about family values and morality with such a flawed vision regarding the best interests of average citizens who have put their trust in our government? At almost every level the president supports the interests and narrow visions of the few over those of the many, and so many of the many seem not to understand this. In his further recent comments about Iraq the president allowed as how it’s a complicated issue but that he is “more patient than some.” No doubt it’s easier to be patient with other people’s lives and taxpayer money.

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