Monday, October 17, 2005

How to lose the House

First, have the Majority Leader ousted over ethics problems.

Then cut aid to people left homeless by a hurricane:
Beginning this week, the House GOP lawmakers will take steps to cut as much as $50 billion from the fiscal 2006 budget for health care for the poor, food stamps and farm supports, as well as considering across-the-board cuts in other programs. Only last month, then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and other GOP leaders quashed demands within their party for budget cuts to pay for the soaring cost of hurricane relief.
Maybe it's just me, but this seems really out of touch. The last year has shown us more clearly than in a long time just what these programs do.

People displaced by Katrina need health care and food assistance while they either resettle elsewhere or rebuild their city.

I didn't highlight farm supports because cutting them is political suicide, but may not be a horrible idea. Farm subsidies don't just support big agribusiness more than family farmers, they also make food less affordable for the developing world. That means that poor people abroad starve because they can't afford to grow their own and build local economies. If so many House districts weren't in rural areas, this idea might be feasible. But it's not. The others are, because poor people vote less often, and they sure don't vote for the conservatives pushing this nonsense through Congress.

So go, mighty conservatives. You tried on the mantle of compassion and found it lacking. Back to the puppy blood. As Harry Potter taught us:

Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The [aid to hurricane victims] will keep you [in power], even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the [aid is cut from] your [budget].
The Times has a story on a related topic: the requirement that all US food aid be purchased from US producers and shipped to famine stricken nations. It's a pretty stupid rule that serves no humanitarian purpose. In a globalized economy, the effects of massive food purchases abroad will trickle down to American farmers (and more evenly than if the food is all bought from massive conglomerates), but the aid will reach people faster if it's bought locally. Plus, stimulating the local economy makes all sorts of sense.