That adds up to exactly $830 billion.
No doubt there is genuine waste that could be cut. But $830 billion, or some portion of it, could be used to grow our economy and brings tens of millions of Americans out of the ongoing recession that is their daily reality, even as the Lords of Disorder continue to prosper. It could be used for educating our young people and helping them find work, for reducing the escalating number of people in poverty, for addressing our crumbling infrastructure, for giving people decent jobs.
It's going to Wall Street instead.
The right word for that is tribute. As in, "a payment by one ruler or nation to another in acknowledgment of submission ..." or "an excessive tax, rental, or tariff imposed by a government, sovereign, lord, or landlord ... an exorbitant charge levied by a person or group having the power of coercion." (Courtesy Merriam-Webster)
In this case the tribute is made possible, not by military occupation, but by the hijacking of our political process by the corrupting force of corporate contributions.
The fruits of that victory are rich: Bank profits are at near-record highs. Most of the country is still struggling to dig out from the wreckage they created but, as Demos' Policy Shop puts it, "for the banks it's 2006 all over again."
On Bended Knee
"Millions for defense," they said in John Adams' day, "but not one cent for tribute."
Today we're paying for both. That doesn't leave much for the elderly, the disabled, the impoverished, the children, or anybody else who doesn't "benefit from disorder." Nobody's fighting for them in this budget battle.
That leaves the public with a clear choice: Demand solutions that are more just and democratic -- or submit willingly to the Lords of Disorder.