There is an image in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove of a crazed leader of the military industrial complex plotting Armageddon while making plans to save himself and a bevy of breedable Miss America contestants in a bunker under the Pentagon. I see that image every time I ask myself… what are we really spending our tax dollars on?
The military industrial complex gets more than half of the U.S. budget… 54 per cent. The U.S. spends 48 percent of all the money spent on miltary matters in the world. All of Europe spends 20 percent, China eight percent and Russia five percent. We have spent $688 Billion on wars…of dubious consequence… since 2001, and now spend $10.9 billion a month in Afghanistan and Iraq. It costs $1 million a year for each soldier we deploy to the war zone.
So what could we be doing with all if we were not spending it on war?
Canada, France and Great Britain have excellent public health programs. They do not spend half as much as we do on military adventures. The Health Care Reform Bill passed by the House of Representatives is estimated to cost about $700 Billion over 10 years. (Conveniently that’s what we have spent on Iraq and Afghanistan over the last eight years). We could provide our citizens with a lot of health care with our military dollars.
Our infrastructure is rotting away. Bridges are falling, highways are overcrowded, railbeds are worn out and the electrical grid was built by Edison. The American Society of Civil Engineers has rated the nation’s infrastructure a D- and estimates it will cost $2.2 trillion to fix it.
Every day enough solar energy falls on the rooftops in the southern United States to power the country. Leading nations, notably Germany and China, subsidize the development of this power source by making it possible and profitable for homeowners to hook into the grid and sell surplus power back to the power company. Such a program would take us a long way toward energy independence.
Replant the world. The best way to fight global warming is by planting trees.
Build an international university dedicated to educating the children of all nations in the value of human freedom, the advantages of good government and the methods of honest management.