terça-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2004

More Guns and Butter

Medicare was born in 1966 when the war in Vietnam was escalating relentlessly,costing the lives of more than 15,000 American soldiers during the year. Whenthe war threatened to divert funds from President Johnson’s “War on Poverty,”the President stuck to his contention that it was possible to have both guns andbutter. The Vietnam War drew to an end in 1973 when a cease-fire agreement wasreached and American troops were withdrawn. The war on poverty has dragged onever since and Medicare has grown manyfold.

In the footsteps of President Lyndon B. Johnson, President George W. Bush nowstands his ground that we may have both guns for Iraq and butter for hissociety. Last year, upon his urging, Congress added another Federal entitlementprogram – the first major addition in a generation – Medicare for prescriptiondrugs. It does not begin until 2006 and then phases in over a number of yearsbefore becoming fully effective.(...)

President Johnson’s guns-and-butter policy led to painful social and economicupheaval. Soaring budget deficits together with Federal Reserve easy moneyintroduced the unprecedented phenomenon of both rising prices and risingunemployment. In August 1971 President Nixon finally froze all prices, wages,and rents. He devalued the dollar in December 1971, further in 1973, and againin 1974. Surely we cannot see what the future may bring, but the lamp ofexperience may guide our steps. It casts dark shadows on President Bush’sguns-and-butter policy." Hans F. Sennholz www.sennholz.com

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