Our Tax Dollars and Moral Leaders at Work

by Jan Baughman

March 11, 2002

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Anyway, it's all just pocket change in comparison to the military budget; tokens, really, but there are some disturbing items in the US budget. It pretty much crystallizes the administration's philosophy when it's in black and white with a dollar figure attached, or in red with no funding, as it were. One hundred and thirty five million dollars for promoting abstinence until marriage. "Abstinence is the surest way and the only completely effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases," pronounced Bush, with his head in the sand.

"When our children face a choice between self-restraint and self-destruction, government should not be neutral. Government should not sell children short. We must promote the good choices," declared President Bush, as he headed off to McDonald's for a Big Mac and fries and a Coke before his meeting to plan the next phase of our destructive, no-restraint bombing campaign against the world and its collateral children.

Three hundred million dollars to promote marriage and strengthen families among poor people. "The empirical literature is quite clear that, on average, kids who grow up in stable, healthy, married, two-parent households do better than kids who grow up in some other kind of arrangement," stated Welfare Chief Wade Horn, failing to add that the divorce rate is pretty much 50% no matter what, and kids who grow up with food in their stomachs and some education and health care are probably the ones who really thrive; one parent or two, married or not, whatever the arrangement. But that kind of solution would be really expensive and doesn't fit the empirical mindset of the powers that be who are white and educated and heterosexual and wealthy and didn't have sex before marriage.

But just in case, there is $10 million in competitive grants to provide young, pregnant, and parenting women who messed up with access to community-based coordinated services such as childcare, education, job training, and counseling. And since there's really not much money out there for poor and pregnant women, the president has found a creative way to get them some. "We can't change our entire health care and value system to provide low-income mothers with prenatal care, but we do have the power to redefine fetuses as people so that they can get coverage through a little loophole," to paraphrase Bush, who didn't elaborate on his hidden agenda.

And consistent with the compassionate, pro-family give-all-kids-a-chance value system, he's thrown in $25 million for competitive grants for Mentoring Children of Prisoners. "The President recognizes that, as a group, the more than two million children with parents in prison have more behavioral, health, and educational problems than the population at large. Mentoring by caring adults serving as positive role models can brighten the outlook for these children," says the budget writer, not really putting it into perspective with the $40 billion spent per year on federal, state and local prison construction and operation for the 1.8 million prisoners who, if given a chance in life maybe wouldn't be in prison in the first place and anyway if they knew the value of abstinence wouldn't have these kids we'd need to spend money on to mentor.

On global infectious disease, "The President recognizes research will advance the health and well being of Americans and those living beyond our borders. The budget continues to invest in the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis by allocating $100 million of NIH funds for this effort," the budget says without extrapolating that we care three times more that poor Americans be abstinent or married than we do about mostly non-Americans dying of infectious diseases that perhaps could be prevented or treated based on scientific and not empirical methodology.

The Compassion Capital Fund gets $100 million to help small charities increase their capacity to deliver services and grants by financing the start-up costs of charitable organizations, without questioning why we need more charitable organizations competing for grants when we could just find a way to get the dollars and the health care and the education to the people who need it, but then how would the not-for-profit industry make money any longer?

But as said at the start, it's all just pocket change that's being thrown to the wind. To successfully fund abstinence and marriage, or better yet to reduce poverty, improve education and to provide universal health care would take something more in line with our military spending; something that, along with a budget surplus and Social Security, we'll not likely see in this era.



Review the US Budget

Bush Plan Defines Fetus As Person, The Boston Globe, 02/01/02

Welfare Chief Is Hoping to Promote Marriage, The New York Times, 02/19/02


Jan Baughman is a scientist in the Biotech Industry. When Jan does not travel around the world on behalf of the company where she manages a clinical research department, she spends most of her time devouring books like candies and relaxing over the preparation of the finest recipes in Northern California. She started writing at a very young age when she found this mode of expression easier than having to answer the perpetually boring and conservative chit-chat around her. Jan's sense of observation is directly related to her sense of humor. She is a founding member and co-editor of Swans, and brings to the site wit and a lightness of being.

Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

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Published March 11, 2002
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