What If:† Mr. President; Letís Reverse Your Roleóthe View Is Much Different, Isnít It?
By Bernard Levy
Okay, President Bush, letís turn the tables.† Letís pretend you arenít the son of a wealthy Republican, powerful family, but the progeny of ordinary working stiffs.† You graduated from high school with B grades, opted to avoid military service, attended junior college and a local university and received a bachelorís degree in business administration.† You landed a job after graduation and changed employment several times before you moved up the corporate ladder and arrived at Enron.† You earned a reasonably good salary in middle management.†
However, you became one of the unemployed, walking wounded in 2001 and lost your job before your retirement plans were completed.† Okay, letís tell the entire truth.† Since your employer was Enron, your retirement nest egg all but vanished.† Yes, you married a librarian named Laura and have two wonderful, healthy daughters, one of which has† entered the Armed Services to serve in Iraq; the other one sought to do so but her openly-gay lifestyle prevented her from joining the service.†
Since 2000, the White Houseís occupant is a son of wealthy Republican parents.
Laura was scheduled to retire in 2001 but, because of your job and retirement benefit losses, she continues to work.† Your parents are living, but without funds except for Social Security and your dadís small pension.† You have recently found employment at 50% of your former pay and without your past benefits; you pay for 60% of your health insurance premium, and your employer contributes nominally to an IRA.
Your parents have substantial noncovered medical and prescription costs, even after taking advantage of the recent Supplement D plan promoted and enacted by the current president.† Their noncovered medical costs run $1,200 per month, and you and Laura pay half or more of these and other costs and also contribute to Lauraís motherís living expenses.
Since there are rumors of downsizing and outsourcing at your current employer, you regularly attend church, seeking solace and direction from God.
Youíre tired of mounting bills and debts, computer spam, taxes you can ill-afford, pollution in the rivers and your favorite fishing holesófishing is your only ďfunĒ since you canít afford golf.† Youíre worried about your job, sick of hearing about graft and corruption in government and can ill-afford to pay higher grocery prices let alone outlandish gasoline prices; your daily commute is 24 miles each way.† You cannot afford to replace your American, ten-year-old gas guzzling auto, and you are sick with worry about the continuing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the threat to peace from North Korea and Iran and the recent war in Lebanon.† Youíve just been informed by your dentist that your three-tooth, two-space bridge is rapidly deteriorating and, with a required tooth implant, a new one will cost between $6,000 and $10,000, an amount you cannot even begin to afford.†
You voted for the current president in 2000 because you were disgusted with President Clintonís affair with an intern, and you voted the same in 2004 because you listened to your dadís advice, ďYou donít change horses in midstream.Ē
You are now disgusted with the president and canít stand to look at or listen to him.† Being a person educated in business administration, you canít believe the billions of taxpayer dollars wasted in governmental corruption, wrong decisions and outright mistakes in the war on terrorism, the Katrina cleanup and other governmental programs.† Youíre disgusted with this presidentís spendthrift ways of adding 3 trillion dollars to the national debt and not even coming close to balancing the budget.† Youíre sick of our military injuries and deaths, with no end in sight.
Although you choose otherwise, you canít stop thinking about nuclear threats, terrorismóit hasnít directly affected you yetóand the spread of fundamental Islamic Jihads.† You feel strongly that Iraq didnít need to be invaded, and the billions spent on Iraq could have been used to help America pay its medical bills, educate its children, clean its rivers and air and generally promote the welfare of our country.†
You now believe the presidentís actions in Iraq and other countries and his shoot-from-the-hip and big-talk practices have weakened the stability of the Middle East and our credibility around the world.
Youíre tired of hearing the president say, ďWeíre going to stay the course.Ē†† He doesnít have to pay for the consequences of his actions that you and the American public have to bear.
Okay, George and Laura, back to reality.† Is the picture clearer?† Itís much different than your view of the Rose Garden, The White House, Camp David, the extended vacations at your Texas ranch and all your other perks, isnít it?