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Vail Valley Voices: Tough holiday agenda

Sal Bommarito
Vail, CO Colorado

The president is entangled in three huge issues this holiday season: Afghanistan, health care and the economy.

However, it appears that Barack Obama is trying to swim against the current of public opinion in each of these situations.

Relative to Afghanistan, Obama is going to send more troops (about 35,000, bringing the total in Afghanistan to 100,000) to fight an unwinnable war in a country that has no chance to become a sustainable democracy.



Many great warriors and nations have tried to conquer this land, only to succumb to the inde-pendent Afghan tribal spirit and the harshness of its terrain.

Apparently, nobody in the adminis-tration has read the history books, which warn against military aggres-sion in this country.

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The mission is no longer a military victory over one group or another. The Taliban is entrenched in rural areas, and the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are in Pakistan.

So now, the U. S. is attempting to train the Afghans to protect them-selves – a mission impossible.

By sending more troops into the conflict and spending additional money to support the effort, the U.S. is further deteriorating its armed forces, which are already battle-weary, and using precious resources that are needed domestically.



Most Americans see Afghanistan becoming another Vietnam or, at least, another Iraq.

Health care is dead on arrival in Congress unless it is watered down to accommodate Senators against one aspect of the bill or anoth-er. If it is diluted, the coun-try will still spend at least $1 trillion to buy insurance for 10 million to 25 million citizens.

Health care costs for the other 275 million-plus Americans will not decrease, according to many experts, and may actually increase.

The question is: Should the country spend so much money on a program that helps so few at this moment in time? The answer is yes but not in a vacuum.

A new health care insurance pro-gram for those who can’t afford it must be accompanied by lower costs for all, since out-of-control health care inflation is threatening the stability of our economic system.

The economy seems to be moving ahead slowly, but the U.S. unemploy-ment rate is currently 10 percent (and much higher for certain groups).

This phenomenon is not unusual for an economic recovery, where employment gains generally lag behind increasing business activity. However, the sheer number of Ameri-cans out of work could result in a recessionary relapse, especially if housing continues to be a laggard.

Almost everyone believes unem-ployment is the most serious domes-tic problem, and yet the president is unmoved.

We need a jobs program not more Welfare giveaways. Men and women must be required to work to get assis-tance. And hopefully, work will include some training for better jobs in the future.

The President is overly focused on micromanaging financial institutions and automobile companies.

The interrelationship of an escala-tion of another war, increasing health care costs and very high unemployment is an unholy and destructive triad.

Great costs affiliated with war and health care reform, coupled with an increasing number of people out of work, will have a long-term negative impact on our economy.

We must end our Afghan folly now. We must provide health care for all Americans and lower health care costs (start with tort reform and pros-ecution of health care offenders).

We must put Americans to work like President Roosevelt did during the Great Depression.

Sal Bommarito is a novelist and fre-quent visitor to Vail over the past 20 years.


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