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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/13/20

America's Sick Priorities

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The US Congress is pushing through another record-breaking military budget while tens of millions of Americans are staring into the abyss of Christmas misery from poverty and disease. The twisted priorities of Washington's politicians show the American political system is sick beyond words.

With hardly a hitch, the Democrat-controlled House voted for a $740-billion military spend for the following year. The Senate is also expected to follow suit and pass the bill in short order. President Trump is griping about it, not because of the increased fiscal largesse, but because the bill contains an add-on measure to rename military bases named after Civil War Confederate generals. Talk about absurd political correctness!

Meanwhile over half the nation's population of 330 million are haunted by deprivation exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of millions have lost their jobs, and as many more again are facing eviction from their houses due to unpaid debts.

Hospitals in every state are struggling to cope with the surge in people sickened by the COVID-19 virus as the death toll in the US heads towards 300,000 since the pandemic erupted nearly nine months ago. The US has by far the biggest number of deaths from the disease in the world, yet its citizens are abandoned without adequate social welfare and medical care.

Americans are crying out for urgent economic assistance to cope with unemployment and to put food on the table for their families, and yet their Congress is still wrangling and delaying over passing a pandemic relief bill because "it would cost too much."

One easy fix would be if the US military budget was re-directed to meet social needs and the burgeoning plight of its citizens struggling with poverty and disease.

Another source of relief and possible social reconstruction would be if a reasonable, progressive tax was levied on the inordinate elite wealth in a nation where a handful of billionaires possess as much capital as half of the population.

A study published this week by Americans for Tax Fairness found that US billionaires increased their net wealth by $1,000 billion since the pandemic broke out in March. Yes, that's right: in just nine months, the billionaire class increased their combined wealth by $1 trillion.

"Never before has America seen such an accumulation of wealth in so few hands," said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness.

He poignantly added: "As tens of millions of Americans suffer from the health and economic ravages of this pandemic, a few hundred billionaires add to their massive fortunes. Their pandemic profits are so immense that America's billionaires could pay for a major COVID relief bill and still not lose a dime of their pre-virus riches."

It should therefore be no surprise that the US is collapsing from the pandemic. That society is in death throes because of its endemic pathological political economy which the pandemic is but ruthlessly exposing.

The American political class is bought and paid for by billionaires who want endless wars to feed the military-industrial complex and endless tax privileges to feed their insatiable and irrational wealth accumulation. The political system is divorced from the needs of the vast majority who are left to die in poverty, disease and deprivation.

America is the antithesis of "democracy" despite all the brainwashing to the contrary declaring virtuous "exceptionalism" and "greatness." It is a putrid plutocracy, run by and for the obscenely wealthy and their political flunkies in Washington, many of whom are plutocrats themselves.

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Author and journalist. Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal (more...)

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