Let Me Get This Straight – $1.27 Trillion For War, But Not $35 Million For Children’s Healthcare?


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Pardon me for a second, but I need to get something off my chest I have been thinking about for a few days now. Ever since Congress failed to override Bush’s veto of the revised SCHIP program, I have been doing some math in my head. The Democrats (and a bunch of Republicans, too) wanted a measly $35 million to help the SCHIP program stay alive and cover the health insurance costs for a handful of American kids. For some reason, Bush claims that we don’t have the money. Funny then how we continue to throw money into the dark pit known as Iraq but cannot come up with a few bucks to get some kids some health care. In fact, it is going to get much worse before it gets any better:

“if one applies the Congressional Budget Office’s basic assumptions about the duration of the conflict (“a small but continuous presence”), it will cost nearly a staggering $1.27 trillion dollars before all is said and done.”

Before you say anything, I am 100% behind our troops. They are doing their job and doing the best they can with the resources that our government is providing them. This is not their fault…they were asked to do their job and we can all have nothing but pride in our men and women in uniform. I do hope that when they eventually come home, we treat them with respect and honor, unlike they did to my own Dad when he returned from Vietnam…to boos, hisses and put-downs. But I digress…

Whether you think this country should have a national health care program or not, the hypocrisy in the “we have no money” argument is utterly outstanding. We have the money to launch a war against a country that did nothing to us, just to secure their oil supplies, but god forbid we pay for some kids to visit a doctor. Whether you are rich or poor, every single child on earth, never mind in the United States, should have access to a doctor and/or a hospital. No if’s, and’s or but’s. It’s kind of like that bumper sticker that has been around for a while…”It’ll be a great day when schools get all the money they need and the military has to hold a bake sale to buy battleships” Wouldn’t it? Of course we need a military…but maybe, just maybe, we would have the money to take care of our citizens and our military if Bush wasn’t chasing fake democracy and oil around the world. Our education system needs money, our roads need fixing, our health care system is crumbling, our air and water supplies are becoming more and more toxic…when and where does it end? When do we start spending our tax dollars here at home where “we the people” need help?

$1.27 trillion dollars for war…yet we cannot even fathom spending $35 million on health care for American children. Whether you agree or disagree that the government should be taking care of health care for kids is a separate issue, really. The real issue to think about where your tax dollars are going and what they are being used for. Honestly, I would rather have my money spent giving a sick kid back their health than bombing the crap out of a country in the middle east. But maybe that’s just me.

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  1. I am in agreement with you (on the healthcare issue), but I think we start running into a major problem when we start comparing everything with the war. I think few people would doubt that we have wasted tons of money in this conflict, money we will never get back and could have been used on other issues. The problem comes when we assume that there’s this $1 trillion dollar pot of money that will go unspent if we didn’t dump it into the military.

    Healthcare is what you’re interested in, but the same principle could be incorrectly attributed to any social issue we face. For example, there is approximately 1.3 million homeless children in our country today. One could ask, instead of spending $1.27 trillion on Iraq, why couldn’t we spend $1000 per child to get them set up with foster homes or sustainable long-term housing?

    Ultimately, we have to realize that no matter what the cause, we are spending money that isn’t actually there, going into debt for the greater good (but never actually intending to repay that debt). We choose our elected officials to decide how that money gets spent, and (depending on how you look at it) unfortunately they don’t always see things our way.

    In my opinion, I’d love to see that trillion dollars go towards social crises that we are all facing today: healthcare, shortage of doctors, immigration, environmental restoration, and even international issues such as Darfur and natural disaster relief. Unfortunately, that money has to come from somewhere, and I’d rather us not continue to dig deeper and deeper into debt for these causes (either military or social reform). Our priority needs to be getting this country to sustainably survive based on what we have.

    In short, I agree that our priorities are misaligned, but I do not fault the president for choosing to abstain from funding this bill. Additionally, I’d like to see people refrain from comparing smaller dollar figures to the massive budget that the War on Terror takes up. Although… it is an excellent strategy for arguing with your wife… I should be able to get a Tesla Roadster this month–it’s only a mere $92,000, and that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what we’ve spent in IRAQ!

  2. And yes, I realize that my math was way off… CORRECTION: If we had spent all the money from the War on Terror on homeless children, we’d have enough to allocate $1 million dollars PER CHILD. (I’d say that’s enough to ensure that they aren’t homeless!) This goes to further demonstrate the absurdity of comparing apples (the GWOT) to oranges (national social issues).

  3. Or my favourite comparison where the US government itself (not including health insurance companies) spends more on healthcare per head of population than Britain and we have medical care free at the point of treatment.

  4. Daniel – Thanks for the comment, but as Greg said, we need these type of comparisons! I never said we would have trillions for healthcare if we did not have the war. But it is amazing to me that our government ALWAYS has money for war, but never for taking care of it’s citizens. Funny how that works…

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