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Jewish World Review Sept. 19, 2005 / 15 Ellul,
Soon after the horror of Hurricane Katrina, Americans were
subjected to another high wind warning when Jesse Jackson and Howard Dean
began exploiting the situation for perceived political gain. These guys will
never learn. Ardent Bush haters, they had a perfect opening to ask exactly
why the president was at least 24 hours late in responding to the chaos.
Once the levees breached in New Orleans, the situation became one of
national security. I mean no sitting president can allow a major American
city to be wiped out. President Bush should have signed an executive order,
sent in the Army and regained control. Instead, he allowed a frightened
governor and an overwhelmed mayor to continue making mistakes. All of this
while hundreds of Americans died in front of a stunned population watching
So Jackson and Dean had some powerful ammunition but, as usual,
they used it to shoot themselves. Jackson immediately brought race to the
forefront (what a shock) and said blacks were treated like they were on
Dean pointed out that the poor got hammered and that was Bush's
fault because of tax cuts for the rich or some such nonsense. Jackson and
Dean ran around grabbing cameras and microphones, howling at the moon,
booking first-class seats on the cheap-shot express.
Their rhetoric was so over the top that even though I'm not a
Republican, I feel it is my patriotic duty to provide some truth in the
matter of the Bush administration vis-à-vis the poor. So here are the facts
with apologies to the propagandists.
We'll begin by comparing the halfway point of President
Clinton's tenure to the 50-yard line of the Bush administration. In 1996,
the poverty level in the USA stood at 13.7 percent. In 2004, the poverty
level was 12.7 percent, so Bush beats Clinton here by a full percentage
point. To be fair, Clinton did bring the poverty rate down during his
administration, while it has been rising slightly since 9/11. But at the
halfway point, Bush wins.
As far as entitlement spending on poverty programs is concerned,
it isn't even close. In 1996, President Clinton signed a budget that
directed 12.2 percent of spending be directed toward the poor. In 2004,
Bush's budget kicked 2 percent more than Clinton to poverty programs, an
astronomical $329 billion. In fact, President Bush is spending more on
poverty entitlement programs and education than any president in history.
What say you, Jesse and Howard?
For a country that is often accused by left-wing loons of not
caring about the poor, we are certainly putting up a good front. In 2006,
almost $368 billion dollars will go for Medicaid, food stamps, family
support assistance, supplemental security income, child nutrition programs,
earned income tax credits, welfare payments, child-care payments, foster
care and adoption assistance, and child health insurance payments to the
states. The truth is that the working men and women of this country are
providing the tightest safety net in history for the poor. And our private
charitable donations rank first in the world as well.
So the next time the poverty propagandists start with the
"America ignores the poor" bull, simply walk away. These people are
blatantly dishonest and could not care less that America does, indeed, help
the less fortunate. The race and class baiters will always ignore the fact
that some people simply cannot support themselves no matter what society
does. But America provides more opportunity for more people than
anywhere else on the planet.
So those are the facts, Max. I'm sorry it took a disaster like
Katrina to bring them to the forefront.
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