Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Defense vs. Food Stamps: What Would You Choose?"

In a Wall Street Journal editorial, the writer claimed neither Republicans or Democrats want major cuts in military spending yet without a deficit reduction deal before January, the military faces major spending cuts. She quoted President Obama as saying, "A lot of the spending cuts that we're making should be around areas like defense spending as opposed to food stamps." Her editorial claims the President wants to cut military spending, which she believes would jeopardize America's security.

President Obama aside, the facts are the U.S. government is going broke, yet it spends as much on its military as the next 25 biggest nations combined. The U.S. Department of Defense is America's biggest employer. The Pentagon alone employs 800,000 civilian workers. Add in the military, its military industrial contractors, and their contractors, Homeland Security, the CIA, etc. and we are speaking of several million U.S. jobs. Military spending is America's biggest welfare program and few Congressmen in either political party want it touched because it means jobs in their Districts.

So what choice would you make? Funding a massively bloated war machine now fighting endless wars or food stamps, the cost of which is a rounding error to what the military receives? Food stamps are a lifeline helping to feed vast numbers of poor men, women and children. Military spending is so grossly out of proportion, perhaps we could also take from the military additional funds to pay for other social services, and for student loans and to prevent some home foreclosures. Maybe some additional military funding could instead be used to pay for homeless shelters and other housing to shelter those families who have lost their homes.

This is not to be insensitive to the millions of Americans employed directly or indirectly by the military. But if we had the courage to downsize our military, in the biggest retraining action taken since the U.S. ramped up to fight World War ll, many of these people could be retrained to use their skills to deal with environmental, energy and other giant problems that confront mankind. By massively retraining U.S. military workers, they could help to rescue the planet rather than help to destroy it and feel good about themselves in the process.

To see this Wall Street Journal editorial by Mackenzie Eaglen, "Defense vs. Food Stamps: What Would You Choose?"

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