September 23, 2007

So normally I start my titles with the phrase “Law:” and file them under some law title.  Today I don’t feel like doing that because, well, I just don’t think its appropriate. 

 I’m going to talk a little about SCHIP, per Kurzman’s request. 

Before I do this, I was to say I have spent a total of about twenty minutes learning about the program, much less than many (Kurzman included) but more than most of the population I’m guessing (though not this blog’s readership).

 What I find strange about this bill isn’t the threat of veto, its the reasons that are given. 

If you want to veto SCHIP, don’t call it an expansion of socialized medicine or whatever line the President tried, that is no longer a phrase of strength for the Republicans.  Where claiming that Dems once wanted to socialize medicine used to be good for a bump in support for the republican position, it is now seen for what it is, a different way to say nationalized medicare which, although I don’t personally support, has broad support from the voting public.

If you want footing for this veto, point to the other parts that have been left out in much of this reporting, namely that the bill (though mainly funded from a cig tax, which I have no issue with) cuts funding for the elderly somewhat and is largely covering the children of illegal aliens. 

Now, certainly my last statement is begging the question, “is there something wrong with expanding coverage to children of illegal aliens?”  That is another hot button political issue for another time, and one that Bush has thus far not mentioned.  I know Republicans have a mixed record on immigration issues, so I don’t know how much of a factor this is in reality, but I do believe if I walk up to a representative sample of Americans and said, here are two health care plans that increase cigarette taxes to held fund healthcare for children” then presented then with one plan that covers all children below a certain income, and other plan that covers all non-alien children below a certain higher income, most people would pick the second plan (even if it covers significantly less children). 

I think what is really happening is that this is an immigration issue.  A huge chunk of this money is going to the children of illegals.  I want to provide a cite for this, but all I did was read some of the congressional summary notes on the bill, and I don’t have an effetive cite for that, so I will have to leave it to you to look for articles covering the bill in more detail.  That said, we judge politicians on what they say their reasons are.  Bush’s reasons here are weak.

I can see an intelligent argument against this bill (the expanded version), I can actually see an intelligent argument for how this in congresses fault (something along the lines of, Keep the bill the same, dont cover more people including a large portion of illegals and then play chicken with the money) though I don’t think its a persuasive argument, but none of this matters, because it isn’t the reason that Bush is giving.  In fact, the only Rep I could find with the guts to say this on the record was Rep Sali from Idaho’s first district. 

If you think children and children and we should fund them reguardless, then its a good bill.  If you believe politicans should be judged by the reasons they give (as I do) than think W is an idiot, but I do see an intelligent argument against this bill:  Why tax working class (largely lower income working class) Americans to generate money that will be funed in a pretty considerable flow to the children of illegal aliens?  Or, if you like a Cig tax (as I do), why not spend the money on something that will help legal citizens?

Look, I’m a charter member of the “what part of illegal don’t people understand” club, so I have a lot of sympathy for the opposition here, but I think Bush’s reasons are terrible, and I think that the PR war has been won here and this has been framed as a childrens issue and nothing more.  Would I rather see the bill limit the benefits to children of legal citizens?  Yes very much so.  Do I think anything Bush said makes sense as Kurzman said? No.  Would I vote in favor of this bill?  I don’t know. 


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