Tax Cut, Schmax Cut. It’s The Elephant in the Room, Stupid!
by Michael Mooney, December, 2010.
The Democrats and Republicans are continually involved in a dramatic tug of war. The Democrats want to help people, provide universal health care, end discriminatory practices like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, make the rich pay more taxes to help the economy and save America from evil.
The Republicans want to protect straight marriage, kill Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, let corporations have far less regulations, extradite illegal aliens who were brought here as children and put National Public Radio out of business. Oh, and stop that uppity black guy in the White House from having a second term.
The two opposing parties just fought it out over extending tax cuts either to all Americans, or just to people who aren't making a lot of money. Most people wanted the so-called rich to pay more taxes so that Social Security doesn't go broke. This was important folks, so everyone got angry and took sides.
That’s what we are supposed to be doing. Do you get it?
Can I say “bullshit?”
The drama over tax cuts for the “rich” was only a distraction. It was a huge distraction, but that’s what it was.
It keeps us all wanting to fight something, which keeps us busy, although if we all stand back and take a good look, we will see that the situation - or some entity - manipulates us in the smartest way.
All this bullshit distracts us from looking at the HUGE elephant in the room, the one big deal that could solve a lot of the money problems we have in the good ole US of A, and even allow us to maybe LOWER taxes for everyone.
Yes, my fellow Americans. We suffer through this because only a few of our politicians have actively confronted this issue square in the face.
Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) are the unlikely partners trying to lead this effort. Their study stimulated Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to look at this issue and recommend putting $100 billion a year of the $1+ trillion dollar military budget on the chopping block.
Complicating this a the movement to cut Medicare/Medicaid along with the military budget, when Medicare/Medicaid could actually be increased a little if a big enough chunk of the $1+ trillion dollar yearly Pentagon budget that spreads our military around the world were allocated to taking care of people at home. So how about $200 billion?
$200 billion would reduce military money to $800+ billion dollars (where Russia spends just $70 billion a year). $200 billion is really not enough of a reduction for me, but with $200 billion liberated, some tax cuts for everyone could happen. And it doesn't have to happen all at once. Just suppose $50 billion dollars a year was transferred, so that the change wasn't too abrupt.
However, some Democrats AND even some of the most fiscally conservative Republicans won’t even talk about cutting the huge money used by the military.
But listen to this. Some members of a pushy new group are joining the Frank/Paul partnership - Tea Partiers! I thought I’d never support anything in tandem with Tea Partiers. Well, here I go. And you should too, even if it’s just for this one issue.
The problem with the Tea Partiers will come with what to do with the money.
They’ll want to just cut it. I’d want to cut it enough to save some money, maybe $50 billion a year, but re-orient some of the money to single-payer healthcare or even a public option, building new highways and infrastructure - which means more jobs, with small raises in Medicare/Medicaid, a bigger raise in education, and a small reduction in income tax for everyone.
Think of what even $150 billion dollars spent at home could do!
But that bridge can be crossed once the Pentagon budget elephant is on the table, which will not be easy because so many of our Democrat and Republican politicians’ states benefit from military contracts. And with a Republican majority Congress it could be even more difficult, unless the Tea Party rocks their boat.
But something has to be done -
- something that cuts through the bullshit to the core.
One blogger said, “The U.S. has troops deployed in over 170 nations around the world. Just by reducing these deployments and emphasizing defense of our homeland instead of geopolitical posturing we can begin the process of reigning in spending without harming our missions in Afghanistan and Iraq - the latter of which continues to wind down anyway. A second cost-cutting measure would be to cut spending on military programs the Pentagon itself does not want but which are being forced upon it for political purposes. Cuts can be accomplished without weakening our position.”
Still Protecting Italy?
Yeah. We don’t need to spend money on military bases that protect Italy from the Nazis any more, right? And why are there 75,603 of our military personnel in Germany? Are they awaiting the possible reincarnation of Hitler?
The US, at last report, has 737 military bases around the world and employs over 255,000 military personnel in over 170 countries.
Wouldn’t you think that maybe this kind of “overkill” that gobbles up 44 percent of our tax dollars is causing serious financial problems here at home?
Just as a reminder, remember the $2.13 billion dollar Northrup B2 "Stealth" bombers that were originally created to drop nuclear bombs on the now-defunct Soviet Union. Maintaining the twenty B2's we have costs $68 million dollars a month, $816 million dollars a year. Get rid of them and we could put $816 tax dollars back in the pocket of each of the 100 million tax payers in the US or save $816 million dollars a year! Then consider that the Soviet Union is no longer our enemy. They are our trading partner.
This is JUST ONE of thousands of wasteful military programs.
For instance, 183 of another stealth bomber, the Lockheed Martin FB-22, ended up costing taxpayers $62 billion dollars before President Obama stopped funding production of more of them in 2009 in favor of a more up-to-date jet, the F-35.
Do you still think tax cuts for the rich are so important?
Can I say “Stop the madness?”
Other cuts in wasteful programs should be considered, too, but our bloated military budget is the biggest one with the most abuse.
Take The Bull By The Horns
If you agree with me, you can do something.
You can call the US Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and the switchboard operator will connect you with your Senators and your Congressperson.
Ask them if they would support gradually returning $200 billion of the one trillion dollar military budget to projects that serve the people of the United States within the country, like universal healthcare Medicare/Medicaid, education, building infrastructure and a reduction in everyone's taxes. And ask them if they support the Barney Frank/Ron Paul proposal to cut the military budget.
Maybe we can help Barney Frank and Ron Paul move this issue forward. It’s right on time.