Sunday, January 18, 2004

$1.5 Billion for Healthy Marriages

Bush is pushing a plan to provide $1.5 billion of our tax dollars for supporting marriage. When I first saw this little item, I was opposed, since, after all, isn't one of the few charms of a Republican administration supposed to be that they don't let government take on tasks that are better left to individuals, churches or corporations? That's what they say when they argue in favor of shredding the safety net for poor people, anyhow.

Having taken the time for sober reflection, though, I realize that President Bush is doing the right thing here. I look back at the tough times in my own 21 year marriage, and I think about how much strife could have been avoided if we had a sizeable chunk of that $1.5 billion dollars available.

- "You're right, honey, I don't do my share around the house, and I'm sorry. Let's call a maid service in the morning. Now come on over here and kiss me, snookums."

- "Sweetheart, you seem a little grumpy at me for staying out all night drinking and playing poker. Let's fly to our ranch in Crawford, Texas for a month or so of R&R, okay? Now come on over here and kiss me, snookums."

- "Sugar-pie, you're right, I do spend way too much of my time and attention on my career, and not enough on our relationship. So tomorrow I'm going to retire and live off our savings. Now come on over here and kiss me, snookums."

This innovative plan of his also explains the gap between the "Compassionate Conservatism" he ran on and his opposition to allowing gay people to marry. That son of a gun is so compassionate that he doesn't want to expose all those gay people to the institution of marriage until after he spends a billiion and a half of our dollars making sure the institution is all that it can be.

Personally, I'm thrilled that when the Democrats recapture Congress and the White House, I can count on the right-wing to set aside little quibbles about the proper role of government and foolishly spending tax money on apparently ill-conceived plans. I'm excited by the prospect of every interest group under the broad umbrella of the Democratic Party getting a billion and a half dollars (or more! Why should we care about fiscal responsibility if the Republicans are going to run up a huge deficit anyhow?) to spend on their favorite plans.


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