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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday — March 5, 2004


In a pea soup world

Commentary by MAX CASEBEAU

(Max Casebeau, of Sun Valley, is the executive director of the Center for Environmental Education at www.wcei.org.)

In a pea soup world, people would rather believe than know, and guess than learn, and so it follows that political behavior can be predicted especially during the coming debate over the size of the 2005 federal budget, which includes, 9/11 investigations, education, heath care, defense, and all the rest of government overhead and programs, but excludes the Iraqi War. For frosting on the cake, the election will be probably be decided now with a divisive proposal of a marriage definition amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Bush Administration budget proposal raises so many questions about what is important, and what we taxpayers can afford, and, of course, what the government can't really afford, without borrowing more money mainly from Europe and China.

The deficit is now $550 billion (The difference is between tax income and bills to be paid by borrowing more money). The debt is now approaching $7 trillion ( this is the amount that U.S. taxpayers are now paying interest on for the use of this money borrowed in the past to fix the same kind of problems).

Solutions are all about priorities. Even experienced Washington, D.C., beltway people who say they understand it, exhibit a full measure of conceit. Republicans now look like Democrats and visa versa. Ralph Nader now claims that some conservative Republicans (not corporation Republicans) support his candidacy because of the increasing concern that the government credit cards will be maxed out soon.

Washington’s Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve (which is neither federal or a reserve) is now talking about reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits. What's behind this scenario of the Bush administration strategy to keep power ?

First run up debt any way you can, then cut or eliminate those programs that have bothered the Republican faithful for 60 years. (It is now easy because there will be then no money to fund the environment, unemployment, Social Security; in short, do away with Health and Welfare Department. And lastly turn fortress America to an economic empire by protecting corporate Republican interests. (This will take about 4 more years.) It will all be done because the Bush administration feels they have an operating permit since 9/11 as an excuse to defend and spend any way they can (even if it means going to Mars) to save the presidency for Jeb Bush, who can continue this Bush regency.

This is the worst of all scenarios.

An alternative scenario would be to cut the Defense Department by 50 percent, hire a few good bounty hunters to get the terrorists, do away with corporate and farm subsidies, and help defeat poverty every where. Get decent health and education programs going for all citizens. Get these taxes in line with what people can afford by tossing out the tax code and starting all over again. Have a Constitutional Convention determine what kind of country we want to have and then stick to it. (This would include cleaning up the intelligence community that couldn't even predict the collapse of the Soviet Union).

This would be a lot better than perpetuating a government that can’t even account for the money they spend, and perpetuating a military WPA program, and a government financial system that is broke 7 times over.

The Democratic Party may be right. "This is the most important election that this county will have in this century." This maybe the stuff of history but a Bush alternative will make bad reading. This is really about a bipartisan solution to save our country.

This is better than throwing out all the Democratic babies with the Republican bath water. There is enough blame to go around the world several times over.

Let’s "Bring it on" for John Kerry.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.