Yes You Can
The American dereliction of equality and wellbeing for all is based on a lie: “We can’t afford it.” Actually, they can afford it. Their refusal to fund vital services–health, housing, education, welfare, infrastructure–is not for lack of resources. We’re talking about the richest country in the world. That refusal is based on the misguided, ungenerous and belligerent priorities enforced by the American oligarchy. Instead of paid maternal and paternal leave when a baby is born or healthcare for all Americans, the remote-controlled executive, legislative, and judicial arms of the US government opt for waging permanent war and bulldozing tons of money into the coffers of war-mongering “defense” contractors. Instead of granting their students free or inexpensive subsidized education through university, like proper first-world countries–Germany, Norway, Finland, Scotland, Austria, Sweden, France and more–they fritter their wealth away on massive superfluous tax cuts for the rich and building bigger, more inhumane prisons.
Don’t Pretend It’s Complicated
This issue is not complicated. It’s as transparent as mountain water. The interests that run the United States have long since removed the veil and assumed the “leadership” in rigging the country’s institutions or what’s left of them. Instead of lifting up their own citizens and giving the rest of the world a break, the American nomenklatura is busy lining their own pockets with no regard for the wellbeing of their countrymen nor those of other countries, including their “client” countries. It’s a revolting system run on greed, revolving doors, gross unfairness and both sophisticated (Robert Mercer & Co.) and unsophisticated (Donald Trump) methods of mind control. “Let’s make America great again by further impoverishing and denigrating the poor and lower-middle classes, in particular minorities, and by plundering the natural resources of our country and those we have subjugated,” is the never-declared but clear message.
When a random honest politician proposes something different–healthcare, remission of college debt, environmental action–they are insulted and shouted down as “socialists.” This is not only bad manners but ignorance. The United States is the only “advanced” country in the world where socialism is equated with evil, where the mere mention of “socialists” evokes Pavlovian knee-jerk negative reactions. The truth is all the contrary. The world’s leading countries–all of Europe, led by Scandinavia; great parts of Asia; as well as Australia, Canada, and Iceland–incorporate in their governing mix elements traditionally considered socialist. Most of those that don’t are under the feral capitalist influence of the United States.
Why Military Spending Is More Than You Think It Is
Kimberly Amadeo writing in The Balance.com, US Miltary Budget, Its Componente, Challenges, and Growth (Updated March 03, 2020)
Estimated U.S. military spending is nearly a trillion dollars ($934 billion). It covers the period October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021.1 Military spending is the second-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security. This figure is more than the $705 billion outlined by the Department of Defense alone. The United States has many departments that support its defense. All these departments must be included to get an accurate picture of how much America spends on its military operations.
Amadeo goes on to itemize and analyze military spending in a medium-long article. If you don’t have a head for columns of numbers (neither do I), I’ll sum it up for you: The United States spends too damned much if its national treasure making war. On the other hand, if you would like to see the breakdown, here’s a link.
At the risk of appearing auto erotic here’s another link, this one to my piece on the greatest military procurement scam of all time.
Cutting Back Military Spending Makes Everything Possible
According to Kimberly Amadeo’s article, to reduce military costs, the DoD needs to reduce its civilian workforce, pay and benefits of soldiers, and its military bases around the world. She forgets to include cutting back the number of military personnel. That considered, perhaps it wouldn’t be necessary to reduce pay and benefits for those who remain.
As well as trimming military spending, something that is now feasable due to radically-changed geopolitical realities, there is another powerful measure for financing domestic development. It’s the obvious one, sufficient taxation not only to siphon the excess off the top and apply it to deficiencies at the middle and bottom, but to finance badly-needed infrastructure improvements. It’s as simple as that, but until now the American ethos has forbidden such common-sense solutions. That’s “socialism” and Americans have been taught from infancy that socialism and any other collective solutions for society’s ills, is mortal sin. It’s contrary to all of America’s traditional egocenetric values: rugged individualism, the self-made man, “free” markets, American exceptionalism, trickle-down economics, social Darwinism, and the supremacy of bling. Yes, people sleeping on the street are an eyesore and inconvenience, but it’s a small price to pay for the confirmation of the superiority of the American Way of Life.
If that sounds sick to you it’s because you’re not a proper American patriot. After all, if the American government were to attend the homeless and the rest of the country’s freeloaders they wouldn’t have money left to train and equip your sons and daughters and ship them off to be killed or maimed in some far-off, hot, sweaty place. Be reasonable, would you? And if some commie journalist were to suggest that the US is the invader, not the invadee, send him off to one of those conspiracy-theory FEMA camps they have been preparing for years, alleging that they’re for Boy Scouts.
What Ever Happened to Simple Pleasures?
Can’t you live fulfilling lives without limosines, gold watches, computerized fridges (that transmit digital files of you bickering in the kitchen with your wife to the NSA), private jets, and expensive amusements like buying legislators? And, as much as I admire Elon Musk, do we really need to go to Mars? (Full disclosure: My own vice, which I camouflage as a “simple pleasure,” is a log fire that probably pollutes approximately as much as a small nuclear reactor.)
The good news is that a recent fortuitous circumstance has obliged us all rethink our lives and that of the planet. I’m refering, of course, to COVID-19. Before the pandemic we thought we had dozens or hundreds of priorities but luckily, almost overnight, we’ve realized that we only have three or four, and a new Beemer is not among them. At the top of the list is simple survival, a little detail that might not have occured to us before the shocking COVID-19 reminder. Then family. Then humanity (not “country,” humanity, we’re all in it together). Then civilization. (I’m loath to use the term “culture,” a dirty word in some countries.) Your priorities might be somewhat different. Others might be radically different. They might run to the communist threat, the Rapture, the price of pork bellies and the dilution of the country’s bodily fluids by mongrel races. This would be a small minority, of course, and you can be consoled by the fact that none of these “others” have any specific gravity in the government.
So, aside from fewer than half a dozen serious concerns, and seen through the coronavirus lens, everything else is essentially superfluous:
- Your cellphone, which day before yesterday was life itself
- Your mistress. You’ll have to choose between her and your wife, you won’t be able to afford both.
- Your children’s boarding schools. Your kids will have to attend public schools with the unwashed, and you will have to get to know them (both the kids and the unwashed.)
- Your weekends in Las Vegas. Buy the DVD of a film called Very Bad Things. That will put you off Vegas for the duration.
Let’s not extend this list of new realities. You can imagine the rest.
Countries Also Have Challenges
So much for personal needs and limitations. What about national priorities? They’re significantly pared down, too, essentially limited to the political and economic measures required to assure national survival. This will be simpler than before. Since all the countries in the world are suffering from the same public health and economic problems, they will all lack the time and resources to meddle in the affairs of other countries. That will obviate the need for gigantic standing armies and hundreds of overseas military bases. All of that treasure and effort can thus be redirected to constructive humanitarian projects both at home and abroad, a long overdue realinement of national priorities that will take into consideration the world’s new realities. It seems logical that the first step would be to redesign and implement improved national health systems to permit them to deal with existing and future crises. This is the most urgent mission, capable of bringing all countries together for the common good. Needless to say, if any country were inclined not to cooperate, they should be boycotted and banished from the community of nations. The gravity of both present and future contingencies makes half measures unthinkable.
So, counting on the universal awareness that we’re all in this together, our children and grandchildren should be free to create a better world. Thanks in some measure to COVID-19 they will be able to dedicate the wonderful technological resources at hand to that end. By that time Elon Musk should be back from Mars and available to put his prodigious South African shoulder to the wheel.
4 thoughts on “We Can’t Afford It–A Post-Virus Utopian Fantasy”
Yes, sir—the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and the law & order culture promised by Nixon, the pharmaceutical and health insurance lobbies, to say nothing of Wall Street…have sucked all the air out of the room, and the plenipotentiaries have worked it out so cleverly that they’ve divided us against each other, blues against reds, “socialists” against capitalists, Wall St vs Main St—I mean how many ways can we say the USA is divided? This is why I’ve appreciated watching Bernie Sanders campaign, because he clearly has a vision that you share: that we’re all in this together, and the world really doesn’t need BILLIONAIRES. I think the writer Mike Davis was right to suggest the US gov after Trump ought to nationalize Amazon; and I think Congress would do well to pass legislation to effectively make $999 million the maximum amount of money you can earn or be worth—effectively putting an end to billionaires. Nobody needs to be that rich; and we are truly all in this together. Thanks for your comment, Mr. Booth.
Thank you, Mr. Elgrably.
I think that’s got to be one of your best articles. It smashes the nail on the head on several hits. I’m sure it may offend many American readers but that’s what it should do, then need to wake up to the crisis of their ways.
Thanks Gina. The only American reader who gave me any feedback loved it. Ha ha. Hugs to you both, be well, Mike