Friday, June 04, 2004

Bush's War on Poverty

Hey, SS, I am not sure you gave enough typespace credit to GWB's War on Poverty, otherwise known as his compassionate conservative agenda. This agenda involves slashing funding for government aid programs and replacing it with hopeful, empty rhetoric.

GWB's compassion agenda is set forth in more detail on his campaign website. Here are some snippets:

1. "The President’s vision of compassionate conservatism is effectively taking on some of society’s toughest problems – educating our children, fighting poverty at home and abroad and aiding poor countries around the world." This sentence is a grammatical nightmare. Is he indirectly or "effectively" waging a campaign of compassionate conservatism? Or is the campaign effective? Whose home is he fighting poverty at? How is fighting poverty abroad any different from aiding poor countries? At least he is for educating our children, unlike that undead Democratic candidate for president, who would rather eat their brains.

2. "A job is more than a source of income –it is also a source of dignity." Compassionate conservatism is about quantity over quality when it comes to the poor or jobless. If you work as a proctologist, a fastfood restaurant employee, at a slaughterhouse or some
such place, are you really saying "I wake up every day, proud of what I do."

3. "Last year alone, U.S. training programs provided needed job skills to more than 430,000 citizens in the developing world." Wow. That is 0.0000072% of the world's population, and the program must have cost something like $10 million or so. That's "huge," unless you compare it to the hundreds of billions in tax cuts the top 1% of the population. You see compassionate conservatism is measured in terms of raw numbers, not meaningful percentages. It is like me going out to 100 dinners over the course of the year,
tipping $2 each time regardless of how the dinner was, and then saying, "Last year, as part of my compassion agenda, I donated over $200 in gratutities to low income service industry workers."

4. "Addiction to drugs is another cause of hopelessness. Addiction crowds out friendship, ambition, moral conviction, and reduces a life to a single destructive desire." This is probably an overstatement. I walk by plenty of homeless junkies who have pretty clear moral convictions. The other day, this one homeless junkie who usually sits near my metro stop yelled at me for not redistributing some of my wealth, "Can you spare a quarter? Hey, you heard me. Fuck you, man, I am trying to eat, and you can't give a quarter. That's fucking greedy, man. Ain't you read the bible? Fuck you." Fuck me indeed, because I did have a quarter, but was saving it to buy a soda later at work.


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