Sunday, December 23, 2012

Response to letter against military budget reductions

In Beverly Nuckols letter published December 18 she states “Because of air travel, any enemy is no more than a few hours away — or only minutes, as North Korea demonstrated last week with their rocket launch.” She mentions it as if it were some reason not to reduce our bloated military budget. Osama bin Laden wasn’t deterred from attacking this nation by our vast military superiority as exemplified by 5,200 nuclear missiles or 10 aircraft carriers we had then and still have today. None of those weapons could have stopped the Twin Towers from being destroyed and none were used to kill bin Laden yet our military budget increased by around $300 billion per year over the last 22 years.

Nuckols also says we should begin by eliminating budget items added since 2009. I’m all for that since one of the first things added was funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which the Bush administration had kept out of the budget so it would look like it wasn’t affecting our national deficit.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Letting tax breaks for millionaires expire isn't the same as raising taxes

Ken Coleman’s letter “Paying for nothing…” misses some important points like the fact that President Obama isn’t asking to raise taxes on anyone, he’s simply refusing to further extend tax breaks for millionaires that were set to expire in 2010.

Coleman also fails mention that while many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes they do pay sales taxes and whether directly or indirectly they pay property taxes among other forms of taxation. He also fails to recognize that the reason they pay no federal income taxes is that they earn near poverty level wages or have no job at all. Before you say they should get a job there are 3 to 4 unemployed for every job available so even if every job were filled there would be plenty of unemployed left.

If Mr. Coleman and those who believe as he does really want everyone to pay taxes they should push for full employment policies and raising the minimum wage to a livable level. If someone who works a full time job they should be able to feed, clothe, house and provide medical care for their families. When anyone working for a living can be self sufficient then we can talk about more people paying taxes.

Coleman should also consider that the tax rates President Obama wants to return to are the same rates that went with low unemployment while the rates we have now were supposed to create jobs and have not even when left in place for over a decade.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ignoring the bloated Defense budget in "fiscal cliff" discussions

We hear lots of talk about the “fiscal cliff” and Republicans demanding budget cuts but no one ever seems to talk about the elephant in the room called the Defense budget. The U.S. spent $680 billion on our Army, Navy and Air Force in 2011 accounting for 45% of the worlds military spending. In addition over $50 billion was spent on civilian intelligence agencies.

The U.S. has ten active aircraft carriers and three more under construction, no other country, not even China currently operates more than one and al-Qaeda has none.

According to the Arms Control Association the U.S. has over 5100 nuclear warheads, Russia has about the same number but roughly half are awaiting dismantlement. China has 240, France under 300 and the United Kingdom about 225, India and Pakistan about 100 each, North Korea may have ten if they’re able to build functioning warheads and al-Qaeda has none.

The U.S. has over 800 military bases on foreign soil, that’s over four for every nation on earth.

Surely we can retire four aircraft carriers, a few thousand nuclear warheads and close several hundred overseas bases to help bring our federal deficit under control. It’s time we faced the fact that this nation can no longer afford to maintain the empire we established over the first half of the last century. We won’t be the first super-power to recognize it but if we do it now we’ll be the first to avoid waiting until we’ve wrecked our economy.