Choose! by Ho John Lee
In announcing his campaign for the presidency in January of 1964, Barry Goldwater famously promised that "I will offer a choice, not an echo." His was to be a campaign in which principles would create a stark difference between him and LBJ.
Will that be the case between President Obama and the GOP's nominee, Mitt Romney? Their campaign rhetoric makes it seem so.
Romney would balance the budget and pay for a sharp increase in military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy by making deep cuts in funding for social programs. Obama would get the revenue to preserve the social safety net by increasing taxes for the wealthy and modestly reducing the rate of growth in military spending.
As Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute pointed out in a March 6 blog , "Over the next ten years, Romney's annual spending (in constant dollars) for the Pentagon would average 64 percent higher than annual post-Cold War budgets (1990-2012), and 42 percent more than the average during the Reagan era (1981-1989)." Obama's plan would cost $5.7 trillion between 2013 and 2022, whereas Romney would spend a $2.58 trillion more, for a total of $8.3 trillion.
These numbers make it seem that we're presented with a stark choice here. However, both alternatives are based on an extravagant and outdated conception of
Both Romney and Obama are committed to the
When he announced on Jan. 5 that the military budget will increase at a slower rate, Obama added "the world must know the
The Cold War ended with the collapse of the
Our global presence is more likely to provoke than to prevent terrorist attacks. So why do we maintain this empire at an annual cost of $250 billion (according to Chalmers Johnson, an expert on this subject)?
Obama's military budget is level with the maximum reached under George W. Bush, and higher than the peaks reached during the Korean,
"The Obama administration and Congress could cut $150 billion from the budget and still be at Reagan levels. President Obama would need to reduce the budget by about 40 percent, or close to $300 billion, to reach the budget levels established by Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Clinton."
We now spend more on our military than we did during the Cold War when Americans believed that a superpower--the
The bloat in our military spending is not just numbers. It's also as a huge opportunity cost. Every dollar spent on the military is a dollar unavailable for investing in education, health care, transportation and infrastructure.
In addition to a soaring military budget, Romney wants tax cuts that would overwhelmingly favor the wealthy. In March the
For instance, in 2015 Romney would give an average tax cut of $150,000 to the top 1% (whose income averaged $1,500,000 in 2011), and $726,000 to the upper tenth (the .01%) of this blessed cohort. Obama would raise the taxes of the 1% by $105,000 and the .01% by $550,000.
These people don't need Romney's help. According to