Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of What Union?

As citizens of this country eye each other across what the media have sold as a great divide, the president of the United States has just entered the hall where he will deliver his annual State of the Union message.

Beginning with a self-congratulatory nod to the elections recently taken place in Islamic lands, the president elected by those who would deem America a Christian nation was not able to claim this last U.S. presidential election as one more fair and free than that which brought him to office in 2000.

Mr. Bush has just assured us, even as your blogstress dons her driving gloves (the better to blog you with, my dear), that his new budget will eliminate a raft of government programs that are wasteful, none of which he specified. However, a look at his last budget should afford us a notion of just which programs the president considers to be "not working".

The Veterans Affairs medical benefit program that provides all veterans with health care? Wasteful. In the last budget, Mr. Bush decided that veterans of modest means (say, a single male earning less than $30,000) were no longer eligible for enrollment in the V.A. system. Scheduled surgeries at some V.A. hospitals were apparently deemed wasteful, as hundreds of non-elective surgeries were cancelled at a single Oregon facility for lack of staff. Can't wait to see who's to be thrown over the side in this year's budget (due for release next week).

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