If you are a frequent reader of The Chronicle, you likely are convinced by now that the two dirtiest words in our language are "liberalism" and "socialism." Let's take a look at these two words.
Franklin Roosevelt was the first great liberal president, and he gave us Social Security. Without it, probably 85 percent of our seniors would be in severe poverty. In the South each year, flooding occurred primarily because of the Tennessee River. He formed the Tennessee Valley Authority to build dams to harness the river, and the dams provided hydroelectric power that helped industrialize our region. Forget the recreation on the river.
And to me, the greatest bill of all was the G.I. Bill. The Republican Party fought the bill, but President Truman saved it. The G.I.s came home, took advantage and got their education - then their children and grandchildren got theirs. Without it, I would not have been able to go to college. Before World War II, only a few could afford to send their young people to college. Typical enrollments in our state universities were 4,000-5,000 students. Now they are much larger because of the bill that gave people a chance to go on with their education, and they deserved it. Then President Lyndon Johnson gave the seniors Medicare and Medicaid for our poorest. Without these programs, our seniors and our poorest would be without medical care considering insurance costs today.
Now let's look at the other side. You need only glimpse at President Bush's latest budget. He slashed Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' health care and farm support. The Pentagon got the money, and the rich got the tax breaks. So maybe the liberal and his social programs really can be good for our people.
I can think of some more worthwhile social programs that the $800 billion spent in Iraq would take care of.
Jim McGaughy, Aiken, S.C.