Democratic Underground

What Stem Cell Controversy?
August 23, 2001
by Bob Volpitto

The idea behind the stem cell research controversy is that there should be no controversy. This proposition seems like something taken from "Bush-Speak", but it isn't and here's why.

Since way back when, the federal government began donating millions of dollars in research (translate: corporate welfare) to the pharmaceutical industry. Tax-supported research programs to benefit these wealthy corporations at the expense of taxpayers who are not only paying for the research but for the results in the form of exorbitant prices at their local drugstores is an anathema.

Maybe I'm wrong but I ask you "how in the hell did we ever get into the medical and other research areas in the first place?". During our working years my wife and I owned a small printing business and weekly newspaper. Did the President or Congress send people to my shop to write my copy, sell my ads, run my presses, compose jobs, do my clerical work? No.

Did I get a subsidy to allow me to hire that work done so I could cut my hours from 14-16 a day down to the usual eight? Again, no.

Worse, I had to pay, in addition to income tax, 15% plus in self employment tax on every dollar profit I made. If I wanted health insurance coverage for me and my wife, it came out of our meager profits. No government subsidies here either. If we wanted to take a few days off, which we rarely did, we paid for them ourselves. I get a distribution check from my IRA of $150 that supplements our Social Security - big deal. No help from Big Brother here either.

Too bad I didn't take up farming. These guys are guaranteed an income and are sheltered against natural disasters. Once after a hard rain, our roof leaked spoiling a quantity of paper. The landlord said, "I've got insurance if yours doesn't cover your losses." Neither one of us got a dime from the Treasury Department.

By now you get the point. Why should taxpayers pay for stem cell research or any other research for multi-billion dollar corporations when the "little guy" struggles to make ends meet on his own? I, for one, would turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and the back of my hand to cries for corporate welfare. Let 'em know how to make it on their own.

Let's not kid ourselves. This "tempest in a teapot" is another photo-op for Dubya. Now the mainstream media are making him the hero of the hour when all he is attempting to do is please enough voters on both sides of the issue to ensure his re-appointment to the Presidency in 2004.

Won't work. In attempting to satisfy everyone Dubya will end up a loser - just he was in 2000 if all the votes had been counted.

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