Friday, March 19, 2010

What I Don't Want to Pay For

Some conservatives are blocking the health reform bill because some government money might be used for abortions. It’s a short-sighted position, not least because statistics show that countries that offer guaranteed health care that includes coverage for abortions have a much lower rate of abortion than we do here. That means that giving people universal health coverage does more to reduce abortions than not giving them that coverage because they might use that coverage for abortions.

But all of this has gotten me thinking about what I don’t want my tax dollars to be used for. For example, Viagra. Hey, if women can pay for their own abortions, men can pay for their own erections. Bet that wouldn’t get through Congress.

A few other things I’d rather not support:
  • Pre-emptive war
  • Faith-based anything
  • Medicare charges that are way out of line, just because they can be
  • Hundred-dollar hammers for the military
  • Fancy offices for government officials
  • Bailouts for financial institutions that pay bonuses to their employees, no matter how well they perform
  • Social security for multi-millionaires
  • Subsidies to big agribusiness
  • Earmarks like the infamous “bridge to nowhere”
I’m sure this list would be much longer if I knew how all of the dollars that disappear from my paycheck are spent on my behalf.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am not interested in shooting anything but a camera.

As I’ve listened to news stories this week about the gun case being argued before the Supreme Court, I’ve been immensely dismayed to hear what some of my fellow Americans have to say about guns and gun ownership. Aside from target shooting or bagging Bambi for dinner, I wish nobody owned anything more powerful than a BB gun.

To my mind, a handgun is essentially a device designed and manufactured to kill other people. And it makes it so easy to do it. Lose your temper and blow someone away. Forget to lock your gun cabinet and your kid shoots another kid — or himself — by accident. Hold up a convenience store and shoot the clerk who refuses to open the cash drawer. Kill the teenage mischief-maker who breaks into your garage, looking for beer.

With a gun, it takes a millisecond to remove the obstacle that stands between you and whatever it is you want. Unfortunately, that obstacle is often another person.

I don’t believe that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” People with guns kill people. We can get rid of the people or we can get rid of the guns. I vote for getting rid of the guns. And then I can go to national parks again.

Some gun owners don’t trust the government. I don’t trust people with guns.