Let’s say that your family spent 50% of your income on mortgage or rent. Would a financial advisor tell you that your spending was way out of line? If 50% of your take home pay was for any one thing, it wouldn’t take long for you to end up in financial trouble now, would it? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, all it takes is a little common sense.
Now, if I told you that almost 50% of the Unites States tax receipts went to military spending, would you think me a liar? Well I would be, because it’s more than 50%. Ask yourself why, when we have a friendly nation to our north and a friendly nation to our south and an ocean to our east and one to the west, and a missile system and an Air force that could knock out an invading navy without a problem, then why are we spending half of our budget on military expenditures?
Would it upset you to know that China, the #2 country for military expenditures only spends 6% of its budget on the military? Russia, #3, is the same. Iran, the big boogie man of the Middle East that we are so worried about according to Dick Cheney, is #27 with a whopping $4.9 Billion Dollar budget with 1% of their budget spent on the military. It’s estimated that the United States will spend 52% of its budget, and 481.4 Billion dollars on defense this year, and that’s not counting the money for the war in Iraq which so far we have spent $130 Billion Dollars on this year and another $190 Billion that the President has requested. Isn’t this a little bit of overkill?
The United States spends a little over 6% of its budget for education, and 5.6% for health. I guess if you don’t care about health and education, than the figures shouldn’t leave you breathless. I figure that if the US cut its military budget by 1/2 to where we only spent about $250 Billion dollars, we could increase the health and education budgets by 100% and still have a little over $200 Billion dollars left over.
Why are we spending so much on defense? Remember, these figures are not including the war in Iraq. Don’t you believe that the Military Industrial Complex is a part of this? Why was everyone so surprised when former Senator Mike Gravel brought the MIC up in the first debate in South Carolina? The Democratic Candidates are quite aware of how much we spend on defense. The fact is that the United States spends 48% of the world’s total military spending. What would happen to Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and all of the other defense contractors if we cut our budget by 50%? I guess they would have to look for other things to build.
As long as we spend half the nation’s wealth on the military, we are going to be a belligerent power in the world. When we spend 100 times more than Iran spends, I guess it’s safe to say we can push them around with impunity. Sadly, this is exactly what we are doing. The sad truth is that with all the publicity about Global Warming, we only spend 19% of our budget on science, energy and the environment. Who cares if the planet dies as long as we are the winner militarily?
I know reading the figures on what we spend isn’t glamorous and exciting, but when you look at what we are spending compared to the rest of the world you have to ask yourself two important questions. The first question is the one that Mike Gravel asked the other Democratic Candidates; “Who are you afraid of?” The second question is that if we are spending 48% of the entire world spending on the military, where is the payoff? Most of this money goes to weapons systems that are obsolete after a short time, so are we going to keep this same insane rate of spending up indefinitely? How can we possibly do this? So far, we have kept this up since the beginning of World War II.
Another question you must ask yourself is how long will this “Global War on Terror” go on? Has the world ever been terror free? Are we going down the same road as the War on Drugs? Will the world ever be drug-free?Every time you kill a terrorist, another will take his or her place. The people of Afghanistan are growing opium poppies right under our nose and we can’t even stop that. How the hell are we to eliminate terror from the world? You can’t, it’s just not possible. This war, along with the attacks on our liberties, will go on forever. There is absolutely no difference in the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. Both so-called wars are self-perpetuating and will last two lifetimes, if not forever. Every time you kill or imprison a drug-dealer, there will be someone to take their place. Eliminate the causes of terrorism, the poverty, the injustice and the fanatics that these things foster, and you will eliminate a great deal of terrorism. Bomb the hell out of these people and run them out of their homes and invade their nations, and all you do is foster more terrorism.
The same goes for the drug war. Keep drugs illegal and you create criminals. God forbid you legalize drugs, regulate and tax them and thereby keep it out of the hands of the street vendors and the international drug-runners and you can use the money from the taxes for education and rehabilitation. We didn’t create a nation of alcoholics when we stopped prohibition. The same people will become drug addicts whether it is legal or not. This is another never-ending war with no chance of victory.
Someday, this country will understand how our so-called “leaders”, and I use the term loosely, are taking us for a long expensive ride to bankruptcy. Like I said in the beginning of this piece, if this were a family budget we were talking about, instead of a national budget, the head of this family would be declared incompetent. Meanwhile, we take what our government tells us and don’t even question why we spend half our budget for the military. This, my friends, is our burden to share. Until we tell our government that we have had enough, they will spend us into bankruptcy with their never ending wars. The choice is yours and mine to make. Isn’t it time we made it?
This is how I see it.
*All figues taken from Globalissues.org