December 17, 2002

Missile defense boondoggle continues

Bush Orders Military to Build Limited Missile Defense by 2004 - I find it amazing that we’re going to spend up to 9.2 billion USD to create a system that not only wouldn’t have prevented what happened 15 months ago, doesn’t even prevent what it’s supposed to, and prevents something that has an incredibly small chance of happening. (More on missile defense history.) I find it amazing that we spend less than two-thirds of that on a program (Head Start) that for nearly a million children every year:

promote[s] school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of low-income children through the provision, to low-income children and their families, of health, educational, nutritional, social, and other services that are determined, based on family needs assessments, to be necessary.

I don't know a lot about this program and I'm not saying to divert big chunks of defense money to human services. And if we were swimming in cash, I don't even think that funding something like missile defense is necessarily bad -- it may not work but it may inspire useful technology along the way in unpredictable tangents. But when one in five children aren't getting enough food it's a certainty the government isn't doing its job. Then again, maybe all the poor people need to take up a collection so the politicians will leave no child behind.

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