Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Marian Wright Edelman appeared on Democracy Now today to discuss legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans in both houses, along with 91% of the American people, to extend health coverage to nine million uninsured children. Amy Goodman points out that the expansion of the so-called "S-CHIP program" to cover more children even enjoys "tepid" support from pharma and insurance groups.
Yet, while Americans overwhelmingly want to protect the most vulnerable among us, at least one person fervently disagrees:
That's what they call compassionate conservatism. Also, the "huge tax increase for the American people" is an outright lie. The $35 billion needed to fund the program would come from a $0.61 tax on cigarettes. And only about 47 million Americans smoke. Further, the tax itself is beneficial to society as the increased price of cigarettes will cause more smokers to quit which will result in reduced health care costs and lower taxes in the future.
And let's not forget that this is the second time Bush has sided with Big Tobacco over the health and well-being of American children. It was only two years ago when the US Department of Justice suddenly and unilaterally slashed a legal settlement with Big Tobacco by $120 billion. That money was supposed to be used to educate children about the dangers of smoking.
It is with this backdrop that the great Marion Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund justifiably says George W. Bush "doesn't know what he is talking about," is "uninformed," "not believable," "out of touch," and spouts "hollow words." Edelman also wonders what will become of our democracy if Bush gets his way. "Can we stand up for children? If we can't stand up for children and for children's health, we don't stand for anything in this nation."