Monday, September 27, 2004

Do presidents ever lie?

My small cadre of readers have called me to task for the previous post in which I accuse President Bush of telling a lie.
I guess it depends on what the definition of a lie is. If the president says:

"We'll make sure the children's health care program for low-income families
is expanded and families take advantage of that."

Like he did the other day in a speech at the Midwest Livestock and Expo Center in
Springfield, Ohio, is it a lie if the children's healthcare program contracts rather than expands as a result of his policies?

If the president says:

"We will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government's health insurance programs. We will not allow a lack of attention, or information, to stand between these children and the health care they need."

As he did in his convention speech, is it a lie when the state officials, budget analysts and children's advocates discover that there actually is no new money set aside for the children's health insurance program?

If the president says he is going to give children's health programs $1 billion with one hand, but takes away $1 billion with the other hand, is he lying or is he just being disingenuous?

Maybe president's are like the Vulcans in Star Trek - incapable of telling a lie, but they can always exaggerate. Maybe Bush was just exaggerating how much he was planning to give the CHIP program by about a billion or so.

This study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities spells out the whole history of the CHIP program and explains how and why the $1 billion surplus came into being and how if the Congress does not pass legislation (that Bush opposes) by Sept. 30 it is going to go away for good.The original $40 billion over 10 years will suddenly turn into $38.8 billion over 10 years. And, as the study details, even the full $40 billion isn't going to be enough as medical costs continue to spiral out of control.

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