Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Liberals gutless in war on poverty.

Liberals are so peace loving they can’t even wage an effective war against hunger and poverty. Over the last 20 years child deaths from easily preventable malnutrition and infectious diseases have gone down from 42,000 a day to approximately 29,000 a day. That’s progress! And most liberals are so proud of if they refuse to look at the abysmal failures.

Most winners will tell you that they learn more from losing than winning. Liberals are too peace loving to even consider keeping a competitive edge. They appear to prefer working in harmony, keeping everybody happy…. Rather than taking names (and putting them into a data base…) and kicking some serious ass regarding the senseless 29,000 child deaths each day from the worst aspects of poverty.

The greatest liberal failure to date may be our collective inability to marshal the political will to fulfill the promises made at the 1990 World Summit for Children for the year 2000. That 1990 summit was a historical turning point for those committed to child heath, nutrition, education and survival. Liberals missed the turn. I’m not going to dwell on the fact that the measurable, achievable and agreed upon goals weren’t even ambitious enough to eliminate preventable deaths… I will dwell on the point that most of the year 2000 goals were NOT met and there was not much ever said about it. Nor was the failure analyzed to determine cause with hopes of preventing future failures. The goals could have made a decent dent. Even the lesser dent that was made has seen some goal regression over the past few years.

President Bush’s father attended the Children’s ummit just prior to the first Gulf War. At that time it was the largest gathering of world leaders in history (good pre-war photo op). At the conclusion of that great gathering President Bush I signed a pledge to “make available the resources to meet” the goals before the year 2000. This week President Bush II pledged to the Iraqi’s that America keeps its word. Bush II should have a talk with Bush I, or vise versa. We are now spending approximately $9 Billion a month on the Iraqi war/occupation/reconstruction…with no end in sight. And this figure doesn’t include the interest that will pile up as war debts go unpaid and soldiers home coming costs mount. Even worse, our efforts there are making us more enemies in the world than friends.

According to the UN providing universal access to clean water, sanitation, primary health care, basic education, and nutrition to all those in the world who are now in need would cost the world about $60 billion on top of what is already being spent.
The US share would be around $6 billion …about twice what we are spending now on humanitarian aid. This is less than one month’s worth of ‘nation building’ in Iraq. I’m fairly confident that meeting global human needs would make us far more friends in the world that occupying and trying to fix a Middle East nation we bombed. And it will be friends, lots of them, that help us reduce the terrorist threats.

June 14-15 the Initiative for Global Development 2006 National Summit will be held in D.C. This is a virtual love fest of liberal do-gooders. Almost, everyone will agree that more appropriations are needed for achieving their own special important projects (child survival, TB control, HIV/AIDS treatment, family planning, Education, clean water…) but I’m guessing no one, not one single person will bring up the point that if any interest group successfully lobbies for it’s cause, one or more of the other causes will likely be cut. The US budget is zero-sum game that liberal play while in deep denial. Even if someone did mention this win/lose reality…I assure you from experience…that eyes would glaze over – or roll -- at it’s mention.

Any rational look at global human needs and the current level of federal resources is bound to declare a lethal miss match. We now have the Millennium Development goals set for 2015. Like the 2000 goals they are less than ideal but like the 2000 goals we are well on the way to missing these as well. If you are real quiet you can hear the roar of concern…in your dreams.

What is urgently needed is a ‘new’ source of funding. One that would allow governments to meet their international promises and obligations without cutting other important (or unimportant) domestic programs. Several options are available. Our European allies are moving toward an airline tax.

The one that makes most sense to this researcher is the Tobin tax. A Nobel prize winning idea to reduce global economic instability…the largest likely source of a global economic meltdown that could devastate our own economy. Nearly 1.8 trillion dollars a day crosses international borders chasing currency fluctuations to make a profit. George Soros made his billions this way. The 1997 Asian economic meltdown was sparked by such a massive and rapid free flow of currency. A Tobin tax (essentially a micro-user fee on global gambling) would slightly dampen such currency trade pressure…AND generate $100 to $200 billion a year in ‘new’ revenue. Enough to meet global human needs AND rebuild most of Iraq…with some left over for domestic education and health care needs.

Post 9-11 banks can no longer legally hide such large transfers of capital. So, one huge barrier has been eliminated. The other huge barrier is the public’s general fear of a global tax, or global taxing agency. These concerns can quickly be overcome by doing the math on the economic and human cost of ignoring poverty. Infectious diseases know no borders. Poverty is their primary Petri dish. America will be their final destination.

Helping the world’s poor is no longer a matter of doing the moral thing. It’s a matter of doing what’s needed to ensure our own health, security and prosperity. But liberals are afraid of using fear (even though rational) to push their agenda. Here is the point where I need to repeat myself, so you get the absurdity of this ironic stand. Liberals fear using fear to motivate voters and policy makers to do the moral, urgent and essential thing. They are so motivated by their fear that their ‘principled stand’ is as lethal to the poor as it will be to us here at home (see ‘Bird flu’ = 100 times the impact of 9-11, Katrina, Tsunami, Earthquake and Mud Slides combined).

I believe there is strong evidence that Kerry lost the 2004 elections because liberals/democrats refused to push the fact that liberal policies such as humanitarian aid, international law and avoidance of war are the most effective means of defeating terrorism. Conservatives are quick to accurately claim that none of the 9-11 hijackers were poor. Liberals are too ignorant or fearful to mention that most of them felt strongly about the effect that global poverty and US supported repressive leaders had on the general impoverishment of Islamic populations. Liberal championed nation building (prevention) pre 9-11 is far more effective counter terrorism measure than nation rebuilding after bombing (preemption).

The recent news of Somalia falling back into the hands of Al Qaeda (and their sympathizers) posing a renewed terrorist threat to the US suggests poverty does have something to do with breeding terrorism. It doesn’t cause it. But, poverty and lawlessness makes a damn good Petri dish for terrorist incubation growth.

Remind me which party was for increasing aid for dealing with such failed states prior to 9-11. Oh, yea. It was the liberal Dems because they felt sorry for poor Somalis. Same with post Soviet withdraw from Afghanistan. Conservative pre-011 response: Help those poor bastards? No way. Afghanistan is of no interest to us now that the Soviets have left. It’s a very poor nation and can’t possibly be a threat to God’s favorite Christian nation. Remind me which party is strong on national security?

It’s hard to admit it, but liberals are losers. Not so much because they lose. They don’t even believe in competing. Not even competing against stupid ideas….like waging war against terrorism, or ‘fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here’. Liberals don’t even like saying “fighting the good fight”. It sounds too much like war.

Give me a freakin’ break. Do the freakin’ math. Poverty is about 10 times more lethal than war. And to most liberals its not worth taking a military approach (tactics and strategic planning and overwhelming political force…) to win it.

Do I sound disgruntled? Damn right I do. I’m going to stay that way until some liberal organization has the courage to take a disciplined (not usually a liberal trait) stand for NEW funding for meeting basic human needs because it’s the SANE thing to do in an insanely interconnected and interdependent world. I’m not holding my breath. I’ve thought about starting yet another organization…like that’s gonna help. I have drafted a legislative proposal that Congressman Van Hollen’s staff promised to run through Legislative council. But, again, I’m not holding my breath. I first drafted the proposal in 1996. Timing is everything… and persistence hasn’t yet paid off.

Imagine. What would happened if just one organization had the courage to lead (another trait unbecoming to the liberal herd/consensus mentality) a bold new initiative for sufficient funding to meet global needs? I’m guessing most liberal groups and even many conservative groups would see the value of it and jump on board. What could such a huge advocacy effort actually accomplish regarding the ‘political will to cut the loss of 29,000 children a day? How much would it increase our security and help preserve our freedoms and prosperity? You do the freakin’ math.


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