Thursday, July 19, 2007

George W. Bush, Philosopher

The President is threatening to veto a bipartisan Senate proposal to increase the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years. His opposition is on “philosophical grounds.”

Bush’s philosophy, like everything else in his Administration, is dogma. In this case, the moral principal is that “when you expand're really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government."

At least he is consistent. While overseeing the worst-managed war in American history, he is defending to the death one of the worst health-care systems in the world.

The program in question, which costs the federal government $5 billion a year, helps provide health coverage to 6.6 million low-income children. Another 3.3 million would be covered under a proposal by Senate Finance Committee, which is supported by such Republican radicals as Sens. Charles Grassley and Orrin Hatch, among others.

But the President is adamant. “I expect people to speak out,” he said in a Washington Post interview about the bill and health care. “I also have my own points of view and feel very strongly about a lot of issues."

His philosophy has deep traditional roots, perhaps best-expressed by one of Charles Dickens’ most memorable characters. Asked for money for the poor, his answer reflected the guiding Bush principle: “Are there no prisons...and workhouses?” If he were alive today, Scrooge might have added, “And no HMOs?”

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