The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, October 21, 2007
On Thursday, Congress attempted to override President Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion. SCHIP? Isn't that something to do with health care for children? Absolutely. And here is Bay Area Democratic Rep. Pete Stark addressing the issue with his customary forensic incisiveness:
"The Republicans are worried that they can't pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war on children, but you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people? If he can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."
I'm not sure I follow the argument here: President Bush wants to breed a generation of sickly uninsured children in order to send them to Iraq to stagger round the Sunni Triangle, weak and spindly and emaciated and rickets-stricken, to get their heads blown off? Is that the gist of it? No matter, Congressman Stark hit all the buzz words – "children," "illegal war," "$200 billion," "lies," etc. – and these days they're pretty much like modular furniture: You can say 'em in any order, and you'll still get a cheer from the crowd.
Congressman Stark is unlikely ever to be confused with Gen. Stark, who gave New Hampshire its stirring motto, "Live free or die!" In the congressman's case, the choice appears to be: "Live free on government health care or die in Bush's illegal war!" Nevertheless, in amongst the autopilot hooey the Stark raving madman did use an interesting expression: "the war on children."
One assumes he means some illegal Republican Party "war on children." Last Thursday, Nancy Pelosi, as is the fashion, used the phrase "the children" like some twitchy verbal tic, a kind of Democrat Tourette's syndrome: "This is a discussion about America's children … We could establish ourselves as the children's Congress … Come forward on behalf of the children ... I tried to do that when I was sworn in as speaker surrounded by children. It was a spontaneous moment, but it was one that was clear in its message: we are gaveling this House to order on behalf of the children."
Etc. So what is the best thing America could do "for the children"? Well, it could try not to make the same mistake as most of the rest of the Western world and avoid bequeathing the next generation a system of unsustainable entitlements that turns the entire nation into a giant Ponzi scheme. Most of us understand, for example, that Social Security needs to be "fixed" – or we'll have to raise taxes, or the retirement age, or cut benefits, etc. But, just to get the entitlements debate in perspective, projected public pensions liabilities in the United States are expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of our gross domestic product. In Greece, the equivalent figure is 25 percent – that's not a matter of raising taxes or tweaking retirement age; that's total societal collapse.
So what? shrug the voters. Not my problem. I paid my taxes, I want my benefits.
In France, President Sarkozy is proposing a very modest step – that those who retire before the age of 65 should not receive free health care – and the French are up in arms about it. He's being angrily denounced by 53-year-old retirees, a demographic hitherto unknown to functioning societies. You spend your first 25 years being educated, you work for two or three decades, and then you spend a third of a century living off a lavish pension, with the state picking up every health care expense. No society can make that math add up.
And so, in a democratic system today's electors vote to keep the government gravy coming and leave it to tomorrow for "the children" to worry about. That's the real "war on children" – and every time you add a new entitlement to the budget you make it less and less likely they'll win it.
Read the rest here. It's a pity that Steyn can't pen his Sunday column every day of the week; he never fails to entertain band is a master of illustrating the utter hypocrisy of the left. We are going to need more of "all of the above" in this upcoming election year.