Last updated on 2013.07.17
Gordon Howie's propaganda machine gripes and moans (again, linklessly! Why does South Dakota's right-wing blogosphere have to suck so badly?) that healthcare is a privilege, not a right attested in the Declaration of Independence.
Maintaining a military presence in other sovereign nations isn't a right, either, but that doesn't stop the United States of America from stationing troops in (depending on how you count) over 600 bases in 130 other countries. Hmmm... how many foreign countries have troops on U.S. soil? (The U.N.'s black helicopters don't count.)
Other countries choose to spend more on protecting their citizens from daily threats like disease, injury, and economic insecurity. And don't forget: countries that have single-payer health insurance spend less on health care.
But here in America, we are determined to spend more money on our John Wayne fantasies of storming every beach and desert stronghold than on taking care of our neighbors. For example, check out the priorities of the latest budget proposal from the House Republicans. Rather than allow the $55 billion in military spending cuts called for by last summer's debt agreement, Rep. Kristi Noem's pals want to shift those cuts to "lower-priority spending." Greg Kaufmann at The Nation documents our "lower priorities":
But for House Republicans, their preferred alternative of cutting lower-priority spending means... a $36 billion cut in food stamps (SNAP), which largely helps the elderly, disabled people, children and the working poor. Two million people would lose their benefits entirely and 44 million would have their benefits reduced—the current average benefit is $4 per person per day. Two hundred and eighty thousand low-income children would also lose automatic access to free school breakfast and lunch. The bill also cuts the SNAP employment and training program by 72 percent, making it more difficult for jobless recipients to find work. It's important to note that SNAP kept 5 million people from poverty in 2010 and reduced poverty rates by 8 percent in 2009.
Cuts to lower-priority spending means... denying the Child Tax Credit to 5.5 million children—that's an average of $1,800 out of the pockets of working families earning sub-poverty wages. The Child Tax Credit lifted 1.3 million children out of poverty in 2009.
Cuts to lower-priority spending means... eliminating the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), which 11 million children rely on—including 4 million children who receive child care assistance, 1.7 million receiving protective services and 451,000 children in foster care. It also funds meals on wheels programs, services that help protect over a half-million seniors from abuse, and community-based care that allows elderly and disabled people to remain in their homes rather than be placed in expensive institutions [Greg Kaufmann, "This Week in Poverty: Republicans Define 'Lower-Priority Spending'," The Nation, 2012.05.11].
House Republicans will pour money into breaking things and killing people overseas. But they don't see the value in spending money right here in America in ways that feed people, get them out of poverty, and save us money in the long run. Raising false spectres of "control and dominance," Republicans will sacrifice their neighbors and gut social programs to pay for very real American control and dominance of other sovereign nations.