The other day in my bumbling, non-scientific way I was trying to figure out how much my share of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with the aggregate ten year Pentagon budget would be if the roughly $500 billion a year Pentagon budget remains static all ten years and the projected $2.2 trillion dollar cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their aftermaths were paid off in their entirety in that same ten years rather than being paid for, with interest, by our great-great-great-grandchildren.
My conservative estimate was that the total expense would be in the $7 trillion dollar range, not including additional interest. $7 trillion dollars divided by 300 million Americans comes out to $23,333 per American or $93,332 per family of four -- $9,333 for that family each year for ten years. Alas, the honest cost will likely be twice that (or more) -- read "The Trillion Dollar Defense Budget is Already Here" by Robert Higgs, -- but I am trying to be an optimist here.
Imagine my chagrin when I came across an old Scott Horton article in the May 30th, 2007, issue of "Harpers" titled "Bush's Fiscal Incompetence" that indicated the seven trillion dollars I was agonizing about is merely a drop in the bucket of U.S. citizens' collective indebtedness!! To quote the article:
"Taxpayers are now (responsible for)... $59.1 trillion in liabilities......$516,348 for every U.S. household..."
And that was just the money we owed then!!.
I panicked!!. I would like my household to pay off our share of those "liabilities" as soon as possible before our share accrues more interest! Hence my search for 200 additional wage - earning people to become part of my household.
$516,348 -- we are pretending the additional liabilities that have accrued since May do not exist -- divided by 202 means each of the 202 people in my expanded household will be responsible for $2,567, give or take. Hey, I'm a patriot!! If we "sacrifice" and scratch and use our savings, my husband and I can both do $2,567, and I want to do it now!
I know a household of 202 people would not quite square with the $59.1 trillion, but I am utilizing creative accounting methods here -- the kind the government uses.
But back to my ad for people to join my household.
Employees of Northwest Airlines need not apply since it is unlikely your recent pay cuts would allow you to contribute much to the tax fund. However, if you are one of the 11 executives who received $60 million in bonuses for doing such a good job of screwing the regular employees out of a decent living, you can afford it, and I would love to have you as long as I don't have to spend much time with you or pretend to respect you.
Hey, I am not trying to discriminate against "regular" people here. The bankruptcy court that okayed bonuses for the top Northwest Airlines executives already did that for me.
It is lucky for the eleven Northwest executives I am trying to seduce into joining my household that Eisenhower is not, now, our president. If he were, Uncle Sam would get $50 million of their $60 million, and my household's share of the national debt would be less -- assuming, of course, those executives choose not to become part of my household -- because under Ike the richest Americans paid 91% of the highest end of their income in taxes, and corporations paid 52%. Against Republican pressure Ike refused to support lowering those rates.
What an anti - capitalist view! The Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WWII, and the Republican who was president during the time that is now nostalgically considered the "good old days" of America must have been a damned Socialist!! According to Michael Korda who penned Ike's latest biography, because Ike thought the rich should be taxed to benefit the poor and the presidential achievement he was proudest of was the fact that during his tenure the incomes of the "regular" people increased by 20%, many of his fellow Republicans thought he was actually a communist at heart!!
On another note, we would owe much less money if Eisenhower were still in office because he would not have invaded Iraq. He said "I don't believe there is such a thing as a preventive [sic.Bush's "preemptive"] war, and I wouldn't even listen seriously to anyone who came and talked to me about such a thing." He thought getting tangled up militarily in the affairs of the Middle East would be a huge mistake. He is also the president who warned against the influence of the military (Bush, Sr.'s Carlyle and Cheney's Halliburton) industrial (Condi Rice's Chevron) complex on policy decisions, like the decision to go to war. He would not have invaded a country that had not attacked us mainly to benefit Halliburton, Bechtel, the Carlyle Group, Chevron, Exxon and BP, or in the hope that by being "commander-in-chief" during wartime he could experience vicariously the valor and share in the glory of the heroes on the ground and thus nullify the AWOL, chicken-hawk, "the Vietnam War is great, but don't expect me to risk my life in it, I have a rich, powerful papa" image from his past. It is my opinion Ike would have held in absolute contempt any leader who would sacrifice the life of American soldiers for personal gain particularly a president and vice-president with business ties to the military-industrial complex. He would have considered such men among the "domestic enemies" he took an oath to protect this country and the world from.
Ike wanted peace and believed that "total, unilateral disarmament is the imperative of our time." As a former general, if he had had the misfortune of being president when a new war we could not stay out of broke out, there is no way he would be, as Bush is believed to be, the first president to not raise taxes during war time. He would certainly not ask only the soldiers and their families to sacrifice, and he would not, in addition, give tax cut after tax cut after tax cut to the already too rich.
Additionally, in spite of our economic woes, no candidates in the current presidential race with the exceptions of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, have advocated cutting the huge and wasteful the Pentagon can't or won't account for a trillion dollars it has been allocated, and brooks no oversight --"Offense Budget." It is a sad fact that what little remains of our manufacturing base is largely dependent on manufacturing and selling the weapons of death and destruction, which is why wars generally bring a country out of a recession. http://www.opednews.com/goodenvanhorn_112004_button.htm The already too high jobless rate is also likely to go up when the Reservists and National Guardsmen now deployed try to reenter the work force.
According to Horton the fiscal mess we are now in has happened because:
"Throughout the Clinton years, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page would raise the siren call of irresponsible spending and excess taxation, and broadcast media often followed suit. Now economic historians view this period as one of remarkably responsible fiscal stewardship in which an impressive treasury surplus was built up and plans laid to bring down the historical deficit. But those sirens went mute immediately upon the inauguration of George W. Bush. During his misadministration, staggering debt has been built up, and wasteful spending has far outstripped anything Washington has ever seen before..."
Who's to blame? A president and vice president who inhabit an alternate universe...The Bush 43 team is about short-term political gain. Full stop. Their indifference to the suffering they will leave behind, to their squandering of a nation's patrimony, is unprecedented in American history. But not, evidently, much of a subject to trouble our pliant media."
Amen! It has always been a mystery to me how Wall Street cheers when a company cuts costs by putting people out of work, and then is surprised when those people then hurt the economy by not having as much money to spend!
It is good, though, to know that some things in life remain consistent. Like the "pliant" media. Particularly the pliant broadcast media.
I remember sitting at the auto repair shop last summer it was actually Friday, June 1st -- watching CNN news as I waited for my "book truck" to be repaired. The reporters mentioned that Northwest had come out of bankruptcy and that labor costs had been cut, but in the several times I heard the story, I never once heard that the bankruptcy judge had allowed the top eleven executives who did such a good job of screwing their employees, $60 million dollars in bonuses as an incentive to stay on at the airline. I got that information from a copy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune provided by the auto shop for its customers.
I guess top executives receiving huge bonuses for being so effective in forcing regular employees to take cuts of up to 40% or more while also being required to pay a larger share of their health care costs is so "business as usual" any more that it isn't even considered news, thus the corporate broadcast media does not feel obliged to report it. Or, perhaps it is because the "corporate" masters know that this is not a Democrat or Republican issue, but it is an issue of morality simple right or wrong -- that would outrage all decent people if it were widely known, and it is not in their best interest to highlight the people and entities who are really responsible for "class warfare."
But, not to worry!! The 5 or 6 hundred dollars my husband and I -- along with the 200 people who opt to come to live with us -- are likely to soon receive from the government's economic stimulus package, will, through some new sort of "voodoo economics" doubtless, wipe the people's and the nations fiscal problems out in their entirety!!