Fiscal Irresponsibility 'For the Children'!

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 27, 2007 8:16 AM
Investor's Business Daily hopes the president will follow through on his veto threat for SCHIP, which would up spending on children's health care by $60 billion over the next five years despite the already-bankrupt state of our entitlements system. Here's why Bush's veto wouldn't be "anti-children," as Democrats will have you believe:

As passed by the House, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, will create a major new middle-class entitlement even as we face looming national bankruptcy from our $50.5 trillion (yes, you read that number right) in planned spending under Social Security and Medicare.

Today, some 6.6 million kids are covered under SCHIP, at a cost of about $25 billion over five years. The new bill raises that to 9 million kids covered, at a cost of $60 billion. It pays for it with a 61-cent hike in the tobacco tax.

Sounds good, except that tax will hit the poor hardest. And those it helps are not poor. Under the new bill, families earning $83,000 a year could be eligible. If this bill were targeted at the poor, President Bush and the Republicans wouldn't oppose it. But it isn't. It's a new, radically expanded middle-class entitlement.

That, by the way, includes families like the Siravos of New Jersey, profiled recently by Bloomberg News. The Siravos earn $56,000 a year, own their own home and drive two used cars. They also pay $9,000 a year to send their only child to a private school.

Yes, things are a bit tight for the Siravos, as with many American families. But should the working poor subsidize health care for the Siravos and other middle-class families?