Leave aside the sheer goofiness of this guy who went missing during his term of military service landing on the Abraham Lincoln in a fighter jet . . . and leave aside that this war was won mainly with weapons that the Clinton/Gore administration approved and financed (drones were not built in a day) . . . and never mind the fact that the nation never got to debate anything like the full picture of what we have embarked upon . . . and leave aside, also, the ‘untidiness’ of allowing much of Iraqi culture to be destroyed (don’t miss Frank Rich’s recent report suggesting it would not have required hindsight to have done much better).

Leave all that aside. (And join with the President, as we all do, in saluting the courage and competence and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.) The line that struck me in the President’s speech last night was this one describing Iraq as a place ‘where the dictator built palaces for himself instead of hospitals and schools.’

True enough, and appalling.

But think about it. Here we are, short on decent health care and education for millions of our own kids, and the decision is made not to channel more money into health care and education, but to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars so that people earning more than a million dollars a year – who have two or three lavish homes already – can save $327,000 a year on their taxes (just to take the example of Vice President Cheney, let alone the really rich), to build even more elaborate and luxurious homes for themselves.

Obviously, the comparison is not direct and the equivalence is not complete. But are we not a country that, more and more, has an extended ‘royal family?’ Not linked by blood so much as golf club memberships and shared hangar space for our private jets?

All of which would be great – I have flown in private jets and ohhhhhhhhhhh is it ever cool – if we were bringing everyone else along at the same time. But we’ve stopped doing that. It seems that under Democrats, for the most part, the rich get richer but so does everyone else. Under Republicans, the rich get richer and the poor get laid off. And their kids lose school lunches. Rather than stimulate the economy by borrowing to help states struggle with their worst budget problems since the Depression, and to build great new schools and repair bridges and hire nurses and teachers, we are borrowing to give people who made $5 or $10 million last year a big tax break. Why are we doing that?

Monday: A Few More Questions and the Final Word


Comments are closed.