Jan 302011

The levels of attention and knowledge of events at the federal level vary greatly among U.S. citizens. One of the side effects of the digital age –– saturation –– has led us to the point where those who consider themselves informed, likely are not.

Take, for instance, the argument to lower defense spending. As one of my fellow columnists mentioned last week, the U.S. outspends the next 29 governments –– not countries ––combined in defense spending.

Now, call me unenlightened if you want, but I do not particularly give two fecal units about how any other nation spends its money.

Including both the funding for active combat zones and the military spending actually counted toward the budget, let us assume $1 trillion in annual military spending by the United States.

Whoa, that looks like a huge chunk of increasingly worthless greenbacks. Considering what the rest of world spends on military, sure, it is massive spending. Unfortunately, those who cite our military spending tend to disregard a few relevant facts.

Our defense budget protects more than the United States. The Founding Fathers, I believe, would find this fact abhorrent.

Western Europe sleeps under the blanket of security funded by the American tax-payer.

This fact is likewise ignored by the democratic-socialists who cite European social programs as the gold standard for a democracy. Since those European nations do not use their tax revenues to pay for defense, they instead funnel them into social programs.

And oh, by the way, most of those European social programs are disintegrating as we speak. Still think higher taxes and more spending is the path to righteousness?

Keep in mind, I despise the way the civilian brain trust that calls D.C. home abuses the U.S. military and uses it as the enforcement arm of a largely incomprehensible foreign policy.

However, to deny the facts of the true financial situation is to ignore how dire the situation has become.

Military spending, the combined military spending of the entirety of every government on the planet, does not touch the unfunded liabilities in the United States of two completely broken social programs.

Globalissues.org identified the world’s combined military spending in 2009 approached $1.6 trillion. Social Security and Medicare, the crown jewels of the kingdom of stupidity, have unfunded liabilities north of $100 trillion.

There is not enough money in existence to fund the two biggest U.S. social programs in the near future. Okay, I agree, we have every need –– and the Constitution calls for –– a stop to the overseas military presence. It is absurd we cannot secure our own borders but instead send our military around the planet to enforce the policies of the largest collection of imbeciles in human history.

Looking to defense as the place to cut spending? Seems to me like cutting out beer but continuing to buy and drink hard alcohol after you lost your job, family, car, house and liver to alcoholism. It’s a meaningless and ineffective gesture.

Once again, I find myself looking to the design the Founding Fathers put in place for the U.S. federal government –– designed to serve the collective interests of the state governments –– and finding one of the finer ideas in human history.

I look at the legacy of two U.S. presidents, Lincoln and FDR, and find myself nauseated at the absolute disregard they showed for the intent of the Constitution.

True unemployment sits at about 20 percent; meaning one in five Americans does not have a full-time job. This is largely the fault of the corruption we have allowed to take root at the federal level.

No major news agencies are discussing these facts. Defense spending cuts? Sure, but you don’t worry about a heart attack victim’s broken hand until you get him stable.

Seth Stern is a senior journalism major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:34 pm

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