Self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives in both the Democratic and Republican parties approach healthcare reform with a high degree of skepticism. Senator Joe Lieberman, who has received $1 million from the insurance industry over the course of his Senate career, has vowed to oppose any reform package that contains a public plan option. Lieberman explains that he is voting his "conscience" and that he cannot endorse an expansion in government during an economic downturn.
Senator Mary Landrieu has expressed a similar view. Some media outlets report, however, that in exchange for her vote allowing debate on the latest Senate healthcare reform bill, the White House promised to secure an additional $100 million in Medicaid assistance for Louisiana (the state Landrieu represents).
Across the aisle, Republicans are behaving like "born-again budget conservatives." They suddenly embraced fiscal restraint following the election of President Obama, but they recklessly agreed to cut taxes and increase spending during the Bush administration. Their newly found fiscal salvation leads them to oppose healthcare reform and basically any other element of government spending unrelated to wars and cops.
Fighting Wars versus Healing the Sick
After weeks of deliberation regarding a military-endorsed troop surge in Afghanistan, President Obama, according to emerging reports, has agreed to send an additional 34,000 troops to fight the Taliban. The troop surge would take place over the next 9 months. The estimated cost for the war over the next decade approaches $1 trillion -- more than the cost of each healthcare reform package pending in Congress.
Two Democrats in Congress -- Senator Carl Levin of Michigan and Representative David Obey of Wisconsin -- have called for a surtax on upper-income earners to finance the troop surge. Self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives, however, have remained virtually silent regarding the expense and deficit-impact of the war in Afghanistan. Most of these individuals strongly endorse the troop surge and voted for the war in Iraq.
Bombing foreign nations and leading young Americans to their deaths in the name of national security (however skeptical the claim) is worth the expense. Funding healthcare for almost all Americans is reprehensible and socialist. Someone please explain this logic.