By Jack Jodell, March 30, 2011
OK, John Boehner. You and your Republicans have now controlled the House of Representatives for nearly 3 months, and YOU’VE been Speaker of the House since January 5. NOW WHERE THE HELL ARE THE JOBS YOU PROMISED US, MR. BOEHNER? WHERE THE HELL ARE THE JOBS?
Jolly Roger over at the marvelous site Plutocrap (http://reconstitution.us/) posted the following graph on his site recently, which explains the vastly mistaken spending priorities this country is locked into, when compared to the rest of the world. It illustrates the amount of money WE spent on military matters vs. what the rest of the world spent in the year 2008. Though it is not current (the figures from both China and Russia have since grown higher), it gives a disgusting glimpse of the still overly dominant role our own country has played in the supply of arms across the globe. To make the graphs below larger, just left click on them.
The 2008 US Gross Domestic Product, the total of all goods and services produced, was roughly $14 TRILLION . Our $711 BILLION shown here means that for every dollar produced in our economy, we spent just over 5% of it on military matters. Considering that we are deficit spending, and that a lot of the money we are borrowing to fund this addiction comes from China and Saudi Arabia, not exactly the most stable or reliable “allies”, it seems a bit foolhardy for us to be spending all these BILLIONS on ridiculous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya, doesn’t it? You bet it is!
Conservatives (Republicans and teabaggers alike) love to complain about the money we are “wasting” on entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, federal retirement plans. unemployment compensation, and agricultural subsidies. By taking a look at the Federal Expenditures chart for 2010, you’ll see that we DO spend a lot in those areas. But first of all, these are vitally needed programs which keep the poor, our veterans, and the elderly from starving or being forced into abject poverty due to the ever-rising cost of our ridiculous for-profit health care system. They are NOT mere giveaways to lowlife types! Secondly, many of these programs are self-funded at least in part through workers’ lifelong taxpayer contributions.
I find it shameful that we in this country are responsible for roughly HALF of the world’s entire military output. We have become not only the self-appointed, smugly self-righteous policemen of the planet, but also the biggest arms merchant the world has ever seen. Got the cash? We’ll sell you whatever you need to kill your enemies! Our fat-assed greedy stockholders of the military/industrial complex are getting even fatter with every rocket, plane, tank, bomb, missile, or gun that we sell to kill others with. It is incredibly wasteful, destructive, and, most definitely, not a record to be proud of in the least…
All of which got me to thinking: what if we were to take roughly half of that $711 BILLION we so recklessly spent that year on military matters and were to apply it instead to useful and practical CONSTRUCTIVE things like rebuilding our infrastructure? According to some projects listed in a Popular Mechanics online article dated May 12, 2009, we could do a LOT to modernize our badly-neglected infrastructure. We could, for example,
1. Update our aging Air Traffic Control systems. Cost = $150 million.
2. Upgrade our water system. Cost = $6 billion.
3. Erect a smart electric grid. Cost = $4.5 billion.
4. Develop and launch a truly high speed railway system. Cost = $8 billion.
5. Renew our crumbling highways and bridges. Cost = $27.5 billion.
The total of these endeavors is only $46.15 billion. Let’s allow for inflation and call it roughly $50 billion.
Then, why don’t we add another $300 billion to renovate and upgrade our slowly decaying public schools? If you nitice, we still haven’t yet spent all the money we would save if our vastly overbloated military budget were halved! Best of all, spending money on these projects NOW would provide a huge increase in sorely-needed JOBS. With all of these new hires finally off of unemployment and back in the workforce actually buying things and paying taxes, this economy would spring back to life pronto. Plus, we would enjoy the added benefit of creating infrastructure improvements which would last for years and provide for a more secure future. Last, but definitely not least, our deficit would shrink considerably due to the vastly increased numbers of renewed taxpayers once more contributing their tax dollars. If we were to go one tiny step further and restore the Clinton-era top tax rate of only 39% (it was 91% back in Eisenhower’s day), our deficit would quickly turn into a safe, long-lasting SURPLUS, which is exactly where it was before the “free market” Grover Norquist crowd of tax-haters pushed through their irresponsible, reckless, and wholly needless George W. Bush tax cuts for the rich!
THAT, MR. BOEHNER, IS HOW YOU CREATE JOBS. NOW WHY THE HELL DON’T YOU AND YOUR RICH, CORPORATIST CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN AND TEA PARTY ACTIVISTS FINALLY DO SOMETHING BESIDES POLITIC -AROUND, AND ACTUALLY EARN YOUR PAYCHECKS? OR WILL YOU CONTINUE TRYING TO TAKE FROM THE POOR AND ELDERLY ON FIXED INCOMES WHILE IGNORING CUTS IN “DEFENSE” SPENDING JUST SO YOU CAN KEEP SUPPORTING THE HERE AND NOW WITH YOUR BAD SPENDING PRIORITIES?