By Clark Hopper
Congress needs to stop feathering their nest, while pretending to help Americans. I am talking about Americans out here in the real world, the ones outside the beltway. We are Americans who work for a living, raise our children, support our schools, obey the laws Congress makes, pay our taxes and Congressmen’s salaries. The great majority of our Congressmen, with a few notable and indispensable exceptions, enjoy benefits, incomes and privileges most Americans will never know. In spite of this, they consistently refuse to represent us! We see Congress fumble, stumble and fall even deeper into disgrace, while manufacturing ugly propaganda and smear tactics to mislead and deceive Americans. Congress pretends to care about and fight over all sort of phony issues like “Obamacare.” Congress has given themselves the best health care money can buy and we pay for it! They make a ruckus about choice, death panels and other red herrings, having nothing to do with the real reason they oppose and dismiss “Obamacare. This is just one of many examples of hypocrisy and cynicism Congress spews. More deceptive examples of these fabrications are:
Fracking is about energy independence.
There is no consensus among climate scientists that there is a Global Warming problem.
The second Amendment is about the inalienable rights of private gun ownership.
The first Amendment requires Congress and the Supreme Court to treat corporations as people and giving money to politicians is a form of free speech.
US corporations pay taxes at effective rates that are the highest in the world.
A low capital gains tax boosts economic growth; they say it is better to finance government with high taxes on earned income and payroll taxes.
Economics is not a science dedicated to the enrichment of the 1 percent, nor is it simply about the 99 percent! It is about the whole society. We all stand to gain from fair markets that are truly competitive, where the playing field is not rigged to produce the same winners and losers every time!
The largest decoy in the US Congress is their insistence on who has the largest budget. It is not Medicare or Social Security, as Congress wants you to believe! America spends $1.3 trillion a year on a military it does not need and Congress will not talk about reducing its size. Think of it this way, the US is currently running a yearly $1.3 trillion deficit, federal spending less tax revenue. This is almost exactly the amount being spent annually on the US military and on military/intelligence related activities! In contrast, the federal government allocated $870 billion for Medicare, Medicaid and other programs under the guidance of The Department of Health and Human Services in 2012. The total Department of State budget is $56 billion and a portion of that is actually for military activities such as intelligence operations and protection of embassies and consulates. The Department of Agriculture’s budget was $150 billion, which includes The Food Stamp Program. Federal spending on education was just $100 billion.
Social Security does not receive any budget dollars from the federal budget. All Social Security funds come from the Social Security Trust Fund, which in turn has been financed by the dedicated payroll tax, paid by working people and employers!
None of these non-military budget-spending categories could possibly be cut enough to make a real dent in the nation’s massive debt, which is running $1.3 trillion a year and now totals $16.3 trillion. Certainly, 50% cuts could theoretically be made in health, welfare spending, education and other parts of the budget. Cuts of that scale would cause such mass suffering and chaos, possibly causing the nation to erupt in open rebellion! The military budget could be cut by close to $600 billion, without compromising our country, because the United States is a nation perpetually in a state of war. If Congress were to end the wars, which are costing $160 billion a year, the US would be no less safe, and the federal deficit could be instantly slashed by nearly $600 billion a year. That is also the amount being cut in the current so-called “Fiscal Cliff” bargain over a period of ten years!
In a genuine democracy, there would be politicians and a political party calling for an end to the US military glut and the massive spending needed to support it! Polls show the majority of Americans want to see this happen, even though there are no people in Congress calling for it and cutting military spending is blacked out by the US corporate media! Instead, the American public gets a fake debate between Democrats and Republicans and between the White House and Republicans in the House of Representatives, all focused on the rest of the US budget, the non-part military part.
There is only one way to attack the nation’s massive and growing budget without destroying people’s lives and the nation’s economy and that is to cut military spending now!
The opinions discussed in this column are my opinions alone and not those of the entire Saline County Democratic Central Committee.