Iraq War Costs Top $168.2 Billion, While Congress Cuts Medicaid Funds
Cost of War.com has a running meter of the cost of the Iraq War. And the cost now exceeds $168.2 billion dollars, or $1,513 per family. or $673 per person. And Congress has had no problem approving every $80 billion dollar plus spending bill and every bill that rewards reconstruction contractors such as Halliburton, despite so many stories related to excessive costs linked to Dick Cheney's old company.
Congress has sought to save money by cutting critical health care funds by proposing a $20 billion dollar slash in Medicaid funds, endangering the ability of sick or disabled elderly to stay in their own homes or health services for many poor persons. Some vital programs, such as the Oregon Health Plan would suffer a $213 million dollar Medicaid cut, and endanger the lives of many lower income families including children. This is a moral outrage.
One of the few points of light, is that Republican U.S. Senator, Gordon Smith, who is a an Elder in the Church Of Latter Day Saints, has decided that this is immoral and is the lead sponsor of an amendment that passed the Senate, and hopefully will have enough support to pass the House Of Representatives as well. The Latter Day Saints Church has a strong tradition of honor for family history and for senior citizen respect. It is from this background of senior respect that Senator Smith has become a lonely voice in his party on some issues that impact human lives so much. Some other senators who claim a religious philosophy don't seem to have comparable good works like this that prove that they vote their faith like Senator Smith does.
Many Democrats such as Senator Edward Kennedy can always be counted on to protect the lives of the poor and elderly. It is very good that a religious Republican from Oregon, Senator Smith votes his faith and also protects these vulnerable persons. Senator Smith also supported extending antihate crime legislation, unlike most Senators in his party including John McCain, who claims to vote common sense, but his record finds little evidence of often.
There needs to be more Senators like Smith among the Senate Republicans. Too often so many have no problem voting more funds for war, but the same would take health benefits from the poor. Some even hold up faith as an issue when running for office. But the Bible addresses this best, "Faith without works is dead".