On the economy. Senator, you have stated, “What we need to do is to eliminate all the burdensome regulations affecting the financial industry.”
Recently the Fed — for all practical purposes — bailed out the “financial industry with a $30 billion guarantee that enabled J P Morgan/Chase to purchase a heading into bankruptcy Bear-Stearns. Let me remind you Senator, the financial crisis was promulgated by an almost complete disinterest in looking into the operations of the financial industry. I might add that the country experienced similar disarray during the Reagan administration relative to the S & L scandals, and earlier in the Bush administration at Enron, Tyco, Atlantic Crossing and others.
I might add that the disinterest this administration has shown in monitoring mine safety, or imports, or the airline industry has led to mine collapses, tainted toys and food, and to hundreds of commercial aircraft being grounded for safety issues. So Senator, specifically how would eliminating “burdensome regulations,” and I might suggest that all regulations are burdensome to the industries affected by them, much fix the horrible mess in which we now find ourselves?
On the federal estate tax issue you’ve also recently declared it should be repealed entirely. The fact your wife, Cindy Hensley McCain, is heiress to the $250 million Anheuser-Busch distributorship fortune couldn’t possibly be influencing your hostility to the federal estate tax could it?
You have also opined strenuously that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts should be made permanent. As you are aware, both David Walker, the recently retired head of the GAO, and Douglas Holz-Eakin, recently head of the CBO, and now your economic advisor, repeatedly said in House and Senate hearings that the huge deficits that have doubled the national debt since 2000 are attributed primarily to the revenue shortages that the tax cuts fostered, as opposed to non-defense spending. With these on the record testimonies, specifically how will making the cuts permanent produce the revenues necessary to restore balance to the federal budget?
On healthcare. Senator, you have claimed that the way to address the healthcare issue that finds somewhere between 40 and 50 million American citizens without access to care, is to “introduce more competition” into the mix. That position raises a few questions I’d like to ask you.
First, why would any hospital, health insurance company, or the pharmaceutical industry see themselves benefiting from enhanced competition? They’ve got it pretty good right now, haven’t they? And, again specifically, what incentives, and to what extent, do you suppose would be required to prompt these industries to see the light?
Next, and I seem to be tiring out the adverb “specifically,” but that’s because I’m really looking for answers and not touchy-feely evasion, how would “more competition” prompt any insurer to cover an insurance applicant with serious pre-existing conditions?
And finally, on this topic, Senator, as you know, the escalating premium costs and deductibles and co-pays are the greatest impediment preventing even healthy folks from getting health insurance. How would “more competition” lower sufficiently those cost components so that, say, a family of four with an after-tax household income of $30,000 to $40,000 could afford them? Specifically, Senator . . . please.
On NATO. You’ve said that, just like President Bush, you’d push the NATO alliance to accept both the former Soviet Union republics of Georgia and Ukraine as members. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that you know as well as does anyone that Article V of the NATO Charter declares that “an armed attack against one or more (allies) shall be considered an attack against them all.”
Furthermore, I will not speculate that perhaps you do not know that Article VI of the United States Constitution states “. . . all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.”
Lastly, your years of service in the Senate and your long established interest in history have doubtlessly left you with the knowledge that Russia retains simmering interest in both these countries. Therefore Senator, if a dispute arises between either and Russia, and if Russia attacks either, are you now suggesting that the United States should, or would, fulfill its NATO treaty obligation and attack Russia?
On Iraq. I realize you’ve been pretty busy lately, what with campaigning and with your trips to Iraq and France and elsewhere, confusing who in Iraq is aligned with whom in Iran, and who the heck in either country has some tie-in with al Qaeda. Nonetheless, I suspect your staff has kept you full abreast of senate hearings, and especially the one April 2, where Generals McCaffrey, Scales and Odom all testified how “it” is over, that the military is plumb worn out for both equipment and personnel, that the military simply cannot march much farther, and that Iraq is likely to be led, in the next few years, by some 2-star Iraqi general who may, or may not, be friendly to the United States.