- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 4, 2003

So you think your government looks out for you? Not nearly as much as it does for aliens.

On Sept. 24, Robert Pear reported in the New York Times that the Bush administration has quietly decided to stiff 6 million poor elderly and disabled Americans by denying them Medicare drug benefits. According to the Bush administration, these Americans are already covered under state Medicaid programs.

President Bush should read the newspapers. On Sept. 23, Robert Pear reported in the New York Times that “rising costs prompt states to reduce Medicaid further.” It seems the jobless recovery has forced virtually every state to take action to cut back on Medicaid.

Not to worry. All the 6 million poor and disabled Americans need to do is acquire Mexican citizenship and recross the border as illegal aliens. Once Americans acquire the status of illegal aliens, their medical care is provided free without even a co-pay.

American veterans can take recourse to the same solution for their plight. The Bush administration plans to cut veterans’ benefits by $28 billion over the next 10 years. Democrats claim the cuts could cause half of all veterans to lose their only source of medical care and could even prevent them from receiving their disability pensions.

Not to worry, veterans who defended your country, just become Mexican illegals, and you will be cared for.

Are you the parent of a college-aged student whom you would like to send to your alma mater, but can’t as you have moved away from home, placing out-of-state tuition between you and your old school? Not to worry. Just send your offspring in search of Mexican citizenship. Depending on the location of your alma mater, once your son or daughter recrosses the border as an alien, the state’s taxpayers will cover the out-of-state tuition charge.

Not to worry about being caught crossing the border. The amendment by Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, to the homeland security appropriations to provide $125 million to put 1,300 customs inspectors to help patrol our borders was rejected by the Bush administration as “too expensive.” The same day, President Bush made an “emergency request” for $150 million to pay for “border inspections personnel” on Iraq’s borders.

Meanwhile, as our caring government stiffs veterans, the poor and the disabled, Mr. Bush intends to spend $15 billion on AIDS in Africa and wants $87 billion as a mere down payment for Iraq.

The Washington Post reports that hidden in the $87 billion for Iraq are “$100 million to build seven planned communities with a total of 3,258 houses, plus roads, an elementary school, two high schools, a clinic, a place of worship and a market for each (planned community); $10 million to finance 100 prison-building experts for six months at $100,000 an expert; 40 garbage trucks at $50,000 each; $900 million to import petroleum products such as kerosene and diesel to a country with the world’s second-largest oil reserves; and $20 million for a four-week business course, at $10,000 per student.”

Every conceivable Republican contributor is being rewarded. But our 1,500 wounded soldiers — many missing an arm, leg or eye — are being charged for their meals during their hospital stays. And the Pentagon wants to cut the pay of our troops in Iraq, denying them $75 a month in “imminent danger pay” and $150 a month in “family separation allowances.”

As any fool can see, Americans come first with their government.

Leaders on the Pentagon handpicked “Iraqi Governing Council” say the $87 billion is 10 times the amount required. “Where they [the Americans] spend $1 billion, we would spend $100 million,” said Ahmad al-Barak, a human rights lawyer and a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. Just give us $8.7 billion and go home, he recommended.

Did you know that only $20.3 billion of the $87 billion — merely 23 percent — is dedicated to Iraq’s reconstruction? You can imagine the rake-offs in the remaining 77 percent. This is the greatest pork-barrel ripoff of the American taxpayer in history.

Not to worry. Mr. Bush is going to take it out of Medicaid and veterans’ benefits. Now we are going to conquer the world and have an empire, we have to cultivate a more hardy breed of people here at home. Welfare is for Muslims. To soften them up, you know.

According to economist Thomas Stauffer in a lecture on the total costs of U.S. Middle East policy commissioned by the U.S. Army War College for a conference at the University of Maine, since 1973 Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion, or $5,700 per American.

Let’s see, that covers 5 million Israelis. Imagine what we can spend on 600 million Muslims.

Paul Craig Roberts is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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