Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Profiteering by the rich and powerful

When I leaned that Bush's mom's, Barbara, donations to Katrina victims was ear-marked to be spent ONLY through her son Neil's company -- well, I shouldn't have been surprised: but I was.
"The President's mother, Barbara Bush, donated tax-deductible money to the Katrina Relief after the flood. And now we find out that it was with specific instructions that the money be spent for educational software owned by her son Neil. Because who can forget those tragic images of the poor black people on rooftops in New Orleans holding up signs that said, 'Send Educational Software'?"
---Bill Maher

The people running this country are continually looking at ways to profit from the situation. Whether that situation is war in Iraq (no-bids to Haliburton and other (crony) contractors) or a natural disaster, the extended Bush family seems focused on its top priority: ensuring either they, or close friends, benefit.

Why? Aren't they rich and powerful enough?

Of course, but they simply can't help it. Profiteering is simply ingrained in their character: These folks aren't truly concerned about governing... they aren't interested in using the tools of government and its resources to level the economic or social playing field... they don't want to help those less fortunate get a leg-up.

They simply don't believe in government as a tool of economic and social justice. For them, the dog-eat-dog marketplace is the ultimate judge of worth: of reward and punishment.

Even in the face of natural disasters we see this is true. We now know that 'ole George was thoroughly briefed before Katrina on the possible fate of the levies. What did he do? Next-to-nothing. In the case of natural disasters I can only speculate that he believes they come from god and hence whatever happens ... well, its His diving providence. Who am I to interfere?

You see, the leaders the American people have put in charge have a knee-jerk reaction to any situation -- how can "I" make money here... how can "I" help out my friends -- because their operating philosophy is "you're in this on your own..."

For all of its faults, the liberal viewpoint at least considers America as a society -- a place where the fortunate have a responsibility to help others out; where we are indeed our brother's keepers (to a certain extent). Because when it comes down to it, those who succeed never do it on their own: they rest on the accomplishments, sweat and efforts of those who've come before.

And then there's the practical aspect to responsible/liberal government. Society as a whole benefits when more of its citizens can feed and shelter themselves; when they have access to health care; when they can get their children educated. For one, crime goes down.

The world is not a fair place... All men are indeed not created equal, but born in to widely varying circumstances. The powerful will always take advantage of those at the bottom. Government, while it cannot address many of the problems arising from that reality, can attempt to address some of them. It should try -- responsibly -- and admit/correct its mistakes when it makes them.

Maybe we'll actually elect leaders that want to lead next time... instead of stand by while the boat sinks.

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