Monday, February 4, 2008

Those caring vivisectors

According to CoverTheUninsured.org a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, there are 87,554 uninsured children living in Wisconsin. According the US Census Bureau 10.9% of the state’s population was living below the poverty line in 2004 (about 605,659 people.)

It isn’t unreasonable to imagine that many people in Wisconsin are receiving sub-optimal heath care or even no health care whatsoever, or nutritional meals or even have a warm safe place to sleep at night..

In 2007, Governor Jim Doyle announced $7,270,027 in grants and awards to 136 organizations across Wisconsin for emergency shelter and transitional housing programs to help homeless persons in the state. In 2004 he had noted that the number of shelter providers in Wisconsin had increased by 33% since 1995 to meet the 70% increase in numbers of persons receiving emergency shelter for homelessness with at least 24,000 people being turned away due to lack of resources throughout the state during the same time.

But on January 22, 2008, UW-Madison stem cell researcher James Thomson said that Wisconsin should invest $50 million a year in stem cell research… not to find the cure for some hideous disease, but in order to compete with California's $3 billion investment. Thomson went on to admit that treatments based on stem cells were probably at least ten years away. Thomson thinks that we should spend taxpayer money to further his research and that we should be spending our money to pay people to experiment on monkeys.

$50 million a year for 10 years. Half a billion dollars. And, we might have treatments based on stem cells in ten years. But at least we’d be competing with California as we chased the pie in the sky.

Meanwhile, children will go without health care, will live in a car or sleep in a shelter.

We have much better – more humane, more compassionate, more productive – ways to spend taxpayer money. The citizens of Wisconsin have no responsibility to compete with California or to further Thomson’s career goals.

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