The Electric Commentary

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Bush's Biggest Homeland Security Mistake was...

...the Medicare perscription drug plan: justification coming soon. Discuss.

As promised:

When it comes to preserving Pax Americana, it is not the much criticized and publicized military overstretch that will limit our decisions when it comes to foreign policy that maintains American primacy; it is our fiscal overstretch at home.
I imagaine that in a drunken moment of honesty, a Bush administration insider would tell you that the war on terror (what happened to that “ism”), and indeed the war in Iraq, will be going on well into the foreseeable future. Thus, it is in the interests of America to plan for the future, even if that means a risky political decision in the short term.
That risky political decision should be a close examination of our explicit and implicit liabilities and how and when they will begin to affect our much-lauded unilateralism, that is to say, freedom of action.
When pundits and government “experts” speak of the nation’s ballooning debt, they only speak of the explicit liabilities, which are mostly bonds in the hands East Asian bankers (troubling in and of itself). They do not include the massive implicit debt in the form of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. The projected shortfall for the government’s implicit liabilities is optimistically $45 trillion. To close this gap it would require raising income taxes by 69% or cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits by half. Since no sane politician is going to put “Raising Taxes by 2/3!” on his campaign button (versus “A Stronger America” What exactly does that mean? But I digress), the best we could hope for is policy that won’t exacerbate the problem. Instead we get a poorly crafted prescription drug plan that makes it illegal for Medicare to bargain for cheaper prices by using its immense purchasing power, and an extremely irresponsible tax cut in the midst of a war.
There is a fiscal crisis looming on the horizon, and if our politicians continue to refuse to deal with it, our security is going to be threatened by forces stronger and more damaging than Al Qaeda. Thus, the most damaging homeland security decision the Bush Administration has made is not their decision to invade Iraq or Afghanistan, nor is it their under funding of security programs at home; it’s their extension and expansion of our implicit liabilities.

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