Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, February 26, 2007


The National Governor's Association has made a bipartisan appeal to the White House to send enough money to keep the Supplemental Children's Health Insurance Program from running dry before the end of this budget year. Fourteen states will have to toss kids off the rolls before the end of the fiscal year, maybe as soon as next month. The total price tag to meet the need? $745 million. That's a lot of money -- it's enough to pay for the occupation of Iraq for two whole days. Over five years, analysts say, the White House budget will leave SCHIP short by $10 to $15 billion.

Obviously we can't afford that, however -- it's enough to pay for the Iraq occupation for a whole week, maybe even ten days.

Regular readers already know that sincd 1992, the FDA drug approval process has been funded by user fees from drug manufacturers. It's not a big surprise that the FDA puts most of its resources into what its funders want -- swift approval of new drugs with commercial potential -- and has starved safety monitoring and approval of generic drugs, that would compete with the FDA's bosses in big Pharma. Marcial Angell, writing in the Globe, points out that Congress could fix this by eliminating the user fees and instead kicking in $300-400 million in public funds, making you, the consumer, the boss once again.

Obviously we can't afford that. It's enough to pay for the Iraq occupation for one whole day.

There is a chorus of alarm in this country about our rotting infrastructure -- water and sewer systems, highways and bridges and dams -- the crisis in Medicare spending, rising numbers of people without health insurance, lack of preparedness for public health emergencies, underinvestment in renewable energy and conservation, lagging educational achievement -- name your own favorite worry. But guess what? For $100 billion dollars a year, we could just about fix everything. And it's not like we don't have the money, it's just that it's spoken for. Somehow we have to pay young people to drive around Iraq in defective armored vehicles and get blown up. That is our number one priority. The rest of that stuff we'll just have to do without.

The Evildoers don't have to attack us. They can just let us bleed ourselves to death.

UPDATE: After I posted this (honest), I came across the following on Josh Marshall's site. He quotes James Fallows as follows (hah!). (Original is subscription only)

Documents captured after 9/11 showed that bin Laden hoped to provoke the United States into an invasion and occupation that would entail all the complications that have arisen in Iraq. His only error was to think that the place where Americans would get stuck would be Afghanistan.

Bin Laden also hoped that such an entrapment would drain the United States financially. Many al-Qaeda documents refer to the importance of sapping American economic strength as a step toward reducing America’s ability to throw its weight around in the Middle East.


No comments: