My mind works in mysterious ways. I decided to take the “Way Back Machine” ride. On the news yesterday there was much talk about what President Obama said about troops coming home from Afghanistan. It sounds like too little, too late to me. I was thinking about something I heard recently about the cost of the wars. The amount I remember is two billion a week. That is one hefty sum which led me to the internet to do some research. I came across a recent document from the Congressional Research Service entitled, “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11.” http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf
Inside this document there is Table 1 that breaks down the yearly cost. I highly suggest looking at the document as there are some strange things within it. Considering these figures, I went on to look up some other information as it pertains to the U.S. National Debt and I came across some interesting old articles. http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/
The cost to continue these wars is staggering. On CSPAN yesterday morning Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio, said that it costs $400.00 a gallon for gas for those troops on the front line in Afghanistan. http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/63407-400gallon-gas-another-cost-of-war-in-afghanistan-
If you read this article you will also discover that it costs a billion dollars for a thousand troops. Just think about that!
The day before, I also heard Senator Manchin from West Virginia say that the Chinese are mining copper in Afghanistan. They benefit from our troops in the area but they don’t pay for them! What are we mining? Probably more terrorists that hate us! Representative Kaptur also had a discussion with President Obama. She wants to take 1% of the defense budget and put it into a jobs program. She wants to utilize unused bases around the country to start these programs for rebuilding communities hit hard by these economic times.
What I’m trying to get at are a couple of different things. First of all the Republicans have taken back the tax level for the wealthy to the fifties. (They have said it’s not just for the wealthy but that we all benefit.) As a woman, I used to joke about how the Republicans want to take us back to the fifties. However, it is no joking matter. Back in 1999 for the first time in 25 years, the US Government planned to reduce the size of the national debt. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/411973.stm
Towards the end of the Clinton term in September of 2000 he said this, “Like our Olympic athletes in Sydney, the American people are breaking all kinds of records these days. This is the first year we’ve balanced the budget without using the Medicare trust fund since Medicare was created in 1965. I think we should follow Al Gore’s advice and lock those trust funds away for the future.”
Everything was looking promising. Of course we all now know how much fun everyone made of Gore’s “lockbox” statement. There is more here on what he had to say on the subject and it is worth remembering considering the current state of things. http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/al_gore_social_security.htm
So, what changed everything? As far as I can tell there were four episodic things that changed the direction of our country. First were the 2000 election and the decision by the Supreme Court. Second were the Bush tax cuts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_policy_of_the_George_W._Bush_administration
Third was the tragedy of September 11th. Finally, fourth were the decisions to go to war and remain entrenched in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya for basically ten years. Now some would say I forgot about the sup-prime mortgage problem. However, I think like dominoes, when you put in motion all of the other things, well, shit happens! It’s like what came first, the chicken or the egg? In my mind the Bush tax cuts have put an unbelievable strain on our country that can be felt across the nation. We feel it on our roads, in our schools, and worrying about our jobs. While many people may think they want to keep their tax cuts, most are probably not thinking about the true cost of those cuts and who benefits the most. The tax cuts are tricky because they have embedded into them something for families. So, when the wealthy get their big cuts, people with children are probably okay with it because they get their cuts as well. Most people don’t think about how those cuts have cost our country in so many ways. As the federal government does less and less for us, they push more and more back onto the states. We all know the result of that, cuts and more cuts locally.
States seem to be getting desperate. I learned about “Project 60” proposed by the governor of Idaho. Hmm, what could that be? There is talk on the internet about a Chinese company building a self contained city and bringing their own workers over. Could we be that desperate? Here is the message from Governor Otter. http://www.project60.idaho.gov/message.html
I went to the Project 60 PDF file. The link is on the page. Embedded into the nice brochure is this:
Establish an Idaho EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program which grants visas to foreign nationals investing $500,000-$1,000,000.
I ended up at this blog today and I am wondering about all of this. http://wallstreetpit.com/78558-who-really-owns-america-now
One guy called in on CSPAN yesterday and he stood out because of what he said. He called us a “plantation nation”. The wording could have been slightly different than that but I do remember the plantation reference. He basically feels that business in their pursuit of all things global have made out country and its citizens into a plantation like setting. We are like a slave nation. We are the good little worker bees and big business is the owner of the plantation. He wants the slaves to revolt! Our children are being told that they are going to have to compete globally. I don’t think the wages in China are going to bring our own wages up here. There is no loyalty any more to country. The loyalty seems to be to business. Business will go wherever they can produce their product cheaper. It doesn’t necessarily have to be better but the bottom line is the bottom dollar. If business can use programs like “Project 60” to import cheaper labor, they will do it. That means that all of us that thought our jobs couldn’t be out sourced to another country better start thinking about the past and how it relates to the future.