At the start of 2011, with a glance back at 2010, the national news is abuzz with talk of debt, of deficit, and.... more Tax Cuts! One economics professor tells us we are down in a deep hole and we'd better stop digging. The Republican Party announces that their Top Priority for the new Congress in this time of economic crisis is "Cut Government Spending," shrink the size of government.
OK, I hear that. And an op-ed column I just read from the Boston Globe tells me where the spending is that needs to be cut. Listen to James Carroll, from "The Rich Get Richer Quicker" -
"... with current annual military expenditures now exceeding $1 trillion - the most ever. Ironically, nothing undermines American security like the cuts in public spending (infrastructure, schools, libraries, etc.) made necessary by exploding budgets for outmoded weapons. Not guns over mere butter now, but over bread - and books and bridges. This monetary calculus leaves aside the most corrupting dynamic of the war economy, how the nation is driven into unnecessary wars simply by the unleashed momentum of hyper-war-readiness. Over-investment in arms leads to their use, period."
Famous bank robber Willie Sutton answered the question "Why rob banks?" directly. "That's where the money is!" Americans know the answer in 2011. The money is at the Pentagon. One trillion dollars worth.
Since President Bush's inauguration in 2001, a decade ago, the annual outlay for the military has climbed from one third of a trillion (roughly) to over $1 trillion. We have borrowed to finance two wars, new weapons systems, and the medical care of thousands of our crippled troops far into the future, all this in a decade of lost opportunity for a society.
So let's climb out of this pit together. Bring down our lavish spending on wars and weapons until it meets the needs of our vital national DEFENSE.
Hands off my health care! Build back a strong infrastructure of pipelines, bridges to somewhere, rail lines that don't derail, modernized air traffic systems that can manage safe air travel. Viable airlines regulated so that maintenance is no longer sent to foreign shops where it is under-inspected.
You readers know what we need. I think I just found where the money comes from to get it done.