Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blue Dogs are all heart (rant, sorry)

From an April 11 press release posted on Rep Herseth Sandlin's website:
Washington, DC – Today, members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, led by Representatives Frank Kratovil of Maryland and Travis Childers of Mississippi, announced their plans to introduce legislation that would require the federal government to cut non-security spending by nearly 6%, saving the American taxpayers over $400 billion.

May we ask the Blue Dogs why we are still be spending massive amounts of money to fight the Cold War?

Sure we need a military, sure we need to be ready. Why all the troops in Germany and South Korea? I mean, we need a strategic presence, but in this day and age we can move around the globe pretty quickly if we need to.

Clearly, everyone else has figured out how wasteful this is -- what's our problem?

Meanwhile, in the reality-based world:
The Working Poor Keep Getting Poorer

The Working Poor Families Project October 2008 study highlighted similar problems from 2002 through 2006. Titled "Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short: New Findings on the Challenges Confronting America's Working Families," it reported:

-- jobs paying poverty-level wages rose by 4.7 million;
-- low-income working families (earning less than double the Census definition of poverty) increased by 350,000;
-- below poverty-level jobs rose to 29.4 million and comprise 22% of all jobs compared to 19% in 2002;
-- most disturbing is that this happened during a period of economic growth, but at the same time wages haven't kept pace with the cost of living;
-- low income family numbers rose to nearly 9.6 million or 28% of the population;
-- children in them number 21 million;
-- 72% of low-income families with working adults in them performed the equivalent of one and one-quarter jobs - a far greater burden than in other OECD countries; and
-- income inequality is highest in New York; California is fourth, but all states are in a race to the bottom as conditions deteriorate everywhere, so all rankings are disturbing compared to the late 1990s.

Note the numbers above come BEFORE Wall Street almost destroyed our financial system, and the resulting waves of unemployment and foreclosures growing the ranks of the poor. (America's Dirty Little Secret, Leo Hindery, HuffPo):

... 100 million people, fully one-third of the entire U.S. population, are at or below "200% of the federal poverty line of $21,834 for a family of four", which is a needs-measure made lame by the fact that no family of four can actually comfortably live on such a low annual income.

Now, THAT's a national security issue. This is not sustainable.

Some shining city on a hill.

Those that loudly assert America's status as a "Christian nation" would do well to ponder why they are more concerned about promoting military might, government control of our private lives, and the death penalty, rather than than the poor and sick.

Speaking of Reagan's "shining city on a hill," the significantly less arrogant real quote is worth reflection as we ponder on how we want to react as a nation to the health care and financial issues of the day:

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses . . .
-—John Winthrop, aboard the Arbella, 1630.

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