Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff

1- Cut military spending

2- Increase taxes on households making more than $250,000

3- Increase Capital Gains tax

4- Cut spending on entitlement programs

5- Increase minimum age for Medicare

6- Increase minimum age for Social Security

7- Eliminate the Bush Tax Cuts entirely

8- Reduce Unemployment Benefits

9- Make Medicare a voucher system

10- Keep Bush Tax Cuts for everybody, and mainly cut spending

11-Eliminate Bush Tax cuts for everybody, and lower the spending reduction

12- Eliminate Welfare

13- Eliminate Food Stamps

14-

...okay, never mind the next 20 proposals.

The debt reduction negotiations that are taking place are going to involve a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. At a certain point, I gotta step back and ask which of these ideas make the most sense, which make a little sense, and which make no sense.

Military spending is the most obvious, and yet, strangely, is the item the GOP seems most afraid to cut. They scream and yell about increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but when it comes to the cliff they seem more willing to talk about endangering national security by these unthinkable cuts to the military. It's the thing they want to avoid at all costs. During one of the Obama/Romney debates, I think it was Bob Schieffer who said "Look, nobody wants to cut military spending...." and then proceeded to ask the debaters which other items they think are most likely to be addressed.

Wait just a second Bob.

I want to cut military spending, and not just this measly $60billion that is currently on the table. I want to cut military spending by $200-$300billion. Everyone wants to talk about the $17trillion debt as if it's something we've all gotten ourselves into, when the reality is, if we hadn't been unnecessarily building up our military since the end of the Cold War in 1988, we'd have a national debt that would be many trillions of dollars less. Many trillions. If we figure in GW Bush's 2 unfunded wars which, by most accounts will top $2trillion by the time we fix everything we blew up (more like $3tillion if we believe people like Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes), and then figure in the $500-$750billion we've been spending every fucking year for the last couple of decades, and then add to that the newfangled Homeland Security budget of $50billion or so per year since 9/11, ...

We spend more on our military than the next 9 members of the Top 10 combined. If we cut $300billion from our defense budget, we'd still be spending 4 times as much as the next closest country, China. FOUR TIMES as much as China!

I'm all for lowering our national debt, and the interest that we have to pay on it, but seriously, until we accept the fact that we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars per year more than we really need to spend, it's really doesn't make any sense (to me) that we should begin targeting any other government spending. It's got to start with the military, or we're throwing our own citizens; poor, sick, homeless, unemployed, ...under the bus so that we can keep supplying the insatiable appetite of the Pentagon, the military contractors, and their buddies in Congress.

To anyone who tells me that cutting $200-$300billion from the defense offense budget will add a load of people to the ranks of the unemployed, I say that's the problem. We have allowed the military to become such a huge part of who we are as a nation that we've got millions of people depending on the inertia of these massive budgets to keep their jobs.

So Lockheed Martin has to lay off a few thousand people. They're smart. They'll find jobs. So what if the people who make Tomahawk missiles have to reduce their workforce? What have these people done to help our economy? How exactly does a bunch of new cruise missile orders help us get out of debt? We need to stop being a military with a government and go back to being a government with a military again. The sooner we reduce the influence of the military on our overall budget, the better. And I say there's no time like the present. The Fiscal Cliff? Yeah, we're heading for one alright, and the best way to stop a plunge over the edge is to start making some fucking sense out of how our government spends our money.

Who would still say that dumping a couple of trillion dollars into Iraq and Afghanistan was worth it?

That's money spent now, and there's no way to get it back.

However, there is a way to make sure we don't repeat those mistakes, and that is to make it a lot more difficult for these vampires to piss through more money than any human being can even comprehend. Time for the military to get a haircut I say,...a big one. Then, and only then, should we start worrying about how much we're all willing to chip in to keep our old folks cared for.

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