Tuesday, December 12, 2017

COTW: The Burden of Empire

While the handmaidens of war "debate" a conference bill on a massive tax gift to the wealthy, take a look a how the US spends more than a third of the funds it collects from taxpayers:

It is this incredible cost of empire that is repeatedly justified as a job producer.  Economists dispute this claim of reactionaries, pointing out that other government spending, such as infrastructure replacement and education create jobs more efficiently. Economist John Keynes advocated government deficit spending to create more aggregate demand in times of crisis, but he never advocated military spending as a means.  In a famous letter to FDR in 1933, he wrote:   

In the past orthodox finance has regarded a war as the only legitimate excuse for creating employment by governmental expenditure. You, Mr. President, having cast off such fetters, are free to engage in the interests of peace and prosperity the technique which hitherto has only been allowed to serve the purposes of war and destruction.  

Conservatives assailed FDR's deficit spending for social and economic recovery as "communistic" or "socialistic".  Today's ideological decedents use the same disparaging terminology to denounce efforts to pass progressive social programs such as expanded Medicare to replace a for-profit system that is brokenYet they have a curious mental lacuna concerning more deficit spending for an ever-increasing military establishment.  Their derangement is no doubt caused by greed.

What the weaponized version of deficit spending does is further enrich a cadre of profiteering weapons manufacturers that endlessly feed off the Pentagon cash cow at the expense of the rest of the nation.  The F-35 fighter jet is the avatar of Pentagon boondoggles. It will cost $400 billion to complete the acquisition program through 2038, requiring an average annual expenditure of $12.4 billion according to GAO, and the product is beset with technical failures and performance shortcomings. For this price the country could provide its citizen's with Medicare for all.  If peak demand for oil is approaching as experts claim, the end of 'Merica's petrochemical empire is at hand.  How can such flagrant expenditure for weapons of war be morally justified by a supposedly democratic, peace-loving nation?  NOT.