Yesterday, with a vote of 344 in favor and only 81 against, the United States House of Representatives (representing corporate America exclusively) passed a budget item labeled the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. There was effectively no debate among the members about the need for the contents of this item and there were no serious protests among the citizens of this great land. Accepted pretty much at face value, America has decided that, for next year, we need to spend $700 Billion to defend ourselves.
Earlier this year, even our much maligned president only asked for $600 Billion in defense spending as part of his budget request to make America great again. Apparently, the U.S. House wants to make America greater than great... especially when it comes to defending ourselves against our 'enemies'.
All of that spending for all of those guns should lead one to ask some questions. For one, who exactly are all of these enemies against whom we are defending ourselves? For another, one might be curious as to the amount of money our 'enemies' are spending in their preparations to attack us. Something the inquisitive mind might wonder about is the history associated with these enemies and how often they are in the 'attack' mode of operation.
Everyone in the world knows that Iran is on our 'enemies' list... at the very top along with Russia and China. How did Iran get to be on the 'enemies' list in the first place and how did they manage to move to the top of the list. When was the last time Iran attacked anyone outside of their own borders... and why? What does Iran spend on military purposes? How much of that is for offensive weapons? What exactly is Iran's capacity for attacking the United States?
Ask, can there be any real justification for spending $700 Billion to defend ourselves?
As a nation, we are nearly flat broke. And, because of our condition of national poverty, our leaders constantly reassure us that we cannot afford the luxuries of education, job creation, healthcare, repairing desperately deteriorating infrastructure in our communities and the other items on that long list of other needs at the federal, state and local level.
Globally, the United States ranks 19th — behind Spain, Portugal and Oman — in the quality of its infrastructure, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. The American Society for Civil Engineers gives the United States failing grades for our infrastructure claiming that we need to invest some $3.6 trillion by 2020.
We all know that rail-roads and highways, bridges and ports, tunnels and dams, airports and well managed natural resources result in job growth, business investment and a strong national economy that benefits everyone. We also know that war and war spending only benefit a select few while destroying future prospects for the multitudes.
We all remember the 2007 collapse of the eight-lane bridge on Interstate 35, the main north-south route through Minneapolis in which many died and many more were injured.
In 2013, and not as dramatic because nobody was killed, a bridge on Interstate 5 in Washington State crossing the Skagit River collapsed into the river below. It was considered "functionally obsolete", which means that it did not meet current design standards.
These are simply reminders of 2 interstate freeway bridges that recently collapsed. Most of us drive on an interstate somewhere in this country almost every day. The list of failures is quite long if one takes time to do the research... and, here, we are only looking at bridges. The entire scope of infrastructure in this country is in desperate need of repair.
But, our wise leaders, with their eyes firmly on the 'bottom line', know that we can't have everything and that choices must be made. We cannot afford education and healthcare and infrastructure improvements if we are going to effectively defend ourselves against fictional and self-created 'enemies'. Our funds are limited and they have decided that if they are going to fund anything at all, it will be war, whatever the cost... and that's the truth !!!
of Various Subjects