Yesterday USA Today ran a front-page story ... The headline: " Federal Aid Programs Expand at Record Rate." The text:President "scrub" is not a conservative… He's funneling money (in the form of incentives) to big corporate interests that have long since stopped innovating in the market place (e.g. - oil co's, auto, airline, etc. etc. -- big pharma innovates, but hardly needs 'incentives' -- they are the most profitable industry in America. Yet the Prescription drug bill makes it ILLEGAL for Medicare -- the single largest buyer of medication in the country -- to use that buying power to negotiate lower prices. What kind of sense does that make?!?!?!)
A USA Today analysis of 25 major government programs found that enrollment increased an average of 17% in the programs from 2000 to 2005. The nation's population grew 5% during that time. It was the largest five year expansion of the federal safety net since the Great Society created programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960's. Spending on these social programs was $1.3 trillion in 2005, up an inflation-adjusted 22% since 2000 and accounting for more than half of federal spending.
Enrollment growth was responsible for most of the spending increase, with higher benefits accounting for the rest. The paper quoted a liberal think tanker saying the increase in the number of people on programs is due to a rise in the poverty rate. It quoted a conservative congressman countering that entitlement programs should not be growing when unemployment is near record lows. Arguments about the report and its numbers will ensue.
The democrat is right: poverty has INCREASED every year of the Bush presidency… (It decreased every year under Clinton's policies (even with Welfare-to-Work)). Real wages have been next-to-stagnate since 2000 and more and more people find themselves without health care.
If this is "compassionate conservatism" I think I'll take the plain 'ole variety -- at least they are honest about their policies...