Stupid or Evil?
The wrong side of history
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Military Industrial Complex
“Let them eat cake”?
“Let ‘em starve to death” would appear to be more the message that Marie Antoinette House Republicans seem intent on conveying. The House GOP leadership, getting behind the so-called “Ryan Budget” cooked up by good Catholic boy and Social Darwinist Rep. Paul Ryan, are calling for deep domestic spending cuts so that they can maintain future Pentagon spending levels without raising taxes. Six different House committees will be clamoring for deep cuts in the fraying social safety net so that the taxpaying citizens of the United States of America can keep Germany safe from the Russians well into the 21st century!
While our own people go without?
And when the Pentagon itself doesn’t even want the money?
What’s wrong with this picture besides everything?
But what’s more explicit in this round is the real shift of resources from the domestic side of the ledger to military spending. Caught in the middle are not just Obama’s ideas but the working poor and long-term unemployed forced for the first time to rely on programs like food stamps in the current recession.
At one level, the pro-Pentagon, anti-tax stance fits traditional Republican doctrine. And the whole goal is to come up with enough savings to forestall automatic spending cuts that will fall most heavily on the Defense Department in January.
But what’s also driving the latest cuts is a newer narrative, voiced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), that the social safety net is at risk of becoming a “hammock.” And even as the unemployment rate has begun to fall, conservatives are alarmed that the level of income-related government benefits continues to rise.
Nothing better illustrates this perhaps than the renewed focus on food stamps — now titled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). And the estimated $33.2 billion in 10-year savings there could have an immediate impact on the farm bill debate and come November, the 2012 elections.
An average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, who would be forced off the rolls until they have spent down their savings to less than $2,000 in many cases.
Indeed, food stamp enrollment and costs have exploded since the financial collapse four years ago, making SNAP a target for the right — but also a far bigger political issue in swing states like Florida, Nevada and Ohio.
National enrollment reached 46.4 million people in January 2012, a nearly two-thirds increase from the average monthly participation in fiscal 2008. The annual costs — now running in excess of $80 billion — have more than doubled in the same period. And even the most ardent food stamp proponents will sometimes say SNAP is a program “asked to do too much.”
It’s disturbing to contemplate living in a country that prioritizes guns over butter to the extent that America does, and we do so without ever really even asking ourselves why we do it. With so precious little societal debate allowed on the matter, when someone does try to question the Military Industrial Complex—like Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich—they get marginalized FAST.
As nutty as Ron Paul is (and trust me when I tell you that I think he’s plenty nutty) I don’t think that it was his Libertarian views on taxation or the free market economy—or even the zany racism and conspiracy theories of his newsletters or questionable white nationalist associations or ANY OF THAT—which caused virtually the entire GOP establishment to turn their backs on him (these things were probably all considered pluses!) but the fact that the guy was openly advocating that this country simply minds our own goddamned business. How dare he!
Me, personally, I’d rather have new roads, Medicare for all, free schools, bullet trains, alternative energy resources, repaired levees in New Orleans and Sacramento, an expansion of Section 8 housing, subsidized energy costs, childcare for lower income families and things like that than a new nuclear warhead. I see a need for an American military, sure, but when we find ourselves supporting the perpetual war economy that so obviously causes a detriment and not a benefit for the society that actually funds it, isn’t it time to step back and ask WTF we’re doing!?
But hey, I’m glad the Republicans are pushing this kind of thing so aggressively, because I expect it to go nowhere and it demonstrates—once again, should anyone not have gotten the multiple memos—what their priorities are and why they need to be roundly defeated at the polls this year. Make no mistake, I’m not, nor have I ever been, or ever once considered myself a Democrat. I could not give less of a shit about the Democratic party. Truly I do not care, but these horrible Scrooge-like Republican motherfuckers need to be obliterated in a electoral wipe-out of epic proportions this year.
They keep this shit up and they’re going to get it, so have at it, lads!
Prophetic words: President Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of America’s greatest war heros, gives his outgoing message to the American people warning about the Military Industrial Complex on January 17, 1961: