Sunday, November 29, 2009

Priorities: Afghanistan vs. Domestic Concerns

see here.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) raised a good point on ABC's "This Week" today.

"You know, if I were to put Afghanistan into the context of what's happening in America today, and what's happening now is not only a $12 trillion national debt; we're in the midst of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The middle class is collapsing. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider.

Piece in the paper today, one out of four kids in this country are on food stamps. One out of eight Americans. And when we go Christmas shopping, we're going to be buying our products from China, who are lending us money to fight the war in Afghanistan. So I've got a real problem about expanding this war where the rest of the world is sitting around and saying, isn't it a nice thing that the taxpayers of the United States and the U.S. military are doing the work that the rest of the world should be doing?"

We have only a finite amount of resources and the question our president has to ask is whether he would devote our financial resources to job building programs and health care for working American citizens or if he would squander it on an endless commitment to Afghanistan.

Well, we know where Senator Lugar (I-Indiana), who was on CNN's "State of the Union" stands:

"I believe there will be a separate accounting, but in any event, I think we will have to pay for it. I would just make this suggestion, that in the three weeks of debate we still have ahead of us, we really ought to concentrate in the Congress on the war, on the overall strategy of our country and the cost of it. And we ought to be on the budget. Passing appropriations bills in a proper way.

Now in the course of that, we may wish to break out that. We may wish to discuss higher taxes to pay for it. But we're not going to do that debating health care and the Senate for three weeks through all sorts of strategies and so forth.

The war is terribly important. Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change and talk now about the essentials, the war and money."

I wonder if the Republicans understand what most hard-working Americans are going through.

Obama is really blessed by his enemies, for as much as he has fumbled the ball on health care reform and as much as he has decided to tie his policies to the "bankers" on Wall Street, his opponents are much worse. They really, as Matt Taibbi pointed out in his latest Rolling Stone article, hate him for the wrong reason. They hate him because he is a liberal, or because he is black or because he doesn't get offended when two male lovers hold hands and not because he is selling out to Wall Street. They hate him because he, however tepidly, "fighting" for something that could ultimately help them. Go figure.

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