Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Pentagon's Credit Card Must be Taken Away!

Enough is enough already! The Pentagon and its military parasite defense contractors can't be allowed to continue to milk the public teat. Not in the desperate debt circumstances in which we find ourselves. Why is it, or how is it, all the paper patriots are forever screaming that "freedom isn't free" yet they've allowed the Pentagon to put two prolonged occupations onto the national credit card without paying for them? Do they expect our kids and grand kids will be in a better position to do so? I hardly think so.

In every era past, the real patriots understood that wars had to be paid for out of the common public sacrifice - via higher TAXES- and NO one complained! As my dad once told me before he passed away in July, 2009, anyone calling for no taxes during a serious wartime (as in WWII) would have been branded unpatriotic at best, and a traitor at worst. So you never heard anyone bitching, pissing and moaning when gas was rationed. Or when income taxes went up!

Not one person complained about heavy new taxes during the four years of the U.S. fighting in the Pacific theater, or in Europe, though we've seen no similar pay-go with over ten years in Afghanistan. Nor did people bitch in the immediate post-war period when the high taxes helped to finance the Marshall Plan - to help pay for the reconstruction of Europe. People were smart enough then to grasp that Europe's stability meant their own - and if they paid NOW (in higher taxes) they would be less likely to pay later in another war.

Indeed, many of those post-war taxes were still in place when the Korean War broke out. Despite ALREADY high taxes, congress passed new taxes in 1950 and 1951 to pay for the costs of the conflict. They had enough sense to know, unlike the useless miscreant tea baggers today, that if you engage in military actions - especially prolonged- they HAVE to be paid for! You can't keep signing a national credit card and expecting future generations to pay the debt!

Even with Vietnam, though Lyndon Johnson often said the country could have "both guns and butter" (i.e. the Vietnam War plus his "Great Society" programs) congress knew otherwise and in 1968 passed a 10% surcharge - which meant that 10% of owed income tax was added to the bill to pay for the war.

Because of those steps, at each earlier stage, the nation didn't go into massive deficits and debt. Those didn't commence until the 1980s when Ronald Reagan decided to do two things at once that set us into a parlous and unsustainable arc: 1) Lowered all the existing highest marginal tax rates from the 70% to the 28% level, and 2) launch a massive arms -military spending spree that ultimately cost $2.4 trillion, nearly all of which was unpaid for by higher taxes. The combination of cutting tax rates while ramping up military spending turned us into a deadbeat nation. A debtor to all other nations for the first time.

The situation has only been exacerbated since (though briefly the red ink was staunched in Bill Clinton's 2 terms when the highest rates had returned to 39.5%). When Gee Dumbya Bush was inserted in 2000, thanks to the Supreme Court, he initiated a massive tax cutting spree that still hasn't ended. At the same time, he launched two costly invasions and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this year, estimated the total costs of Afghanistan and Iraq, projected out to 2017, as $2.4 trillion - including $705 billion in interest that'll likely have to be paid to Chinese Bankers. This would have my father, if alive, puking his guts out. That a people (and part of its government) could be so damned hypocritical as to insist not one dime in taxes be paid for conducting these operations.

Of course, my dad's oft repeated conclusion - because of this defect- was "You can see neither of those things (Iraq, Afghanistan) is legit. If they were, they'd damned sure be paid for like World War Two!"

I tend to concur. Even a 10% tax surcharge, such as congress in 1968 instituted for Vietnam, would bring in roughly $112 billion if applied in FY 2012. If such a surcharge had been instituted within a year of EACH occupation, nearly all the $2.4 trillion would have been paid for. Had the Bush tax cuts been allowed to expire last December, as every sane person with more than air between the ears would have acknowledged, we'd have enough money left over so we could avoid threatening vulnerable citizens with Medicaid and Medicare cuts.

It's damned well past time the Pentagon be made to pay their fair share for their extended occupations, not to mention plans to build 2,443 fighter jets at $0.5 billion each. This is especially since - as defense analyst Chuck Spinney has shown- they still haven't accounted for $1.1 trillion missing in their budget since 1999.

If we refuse to hold these militaristic morons and their contractor parasites accountable, then we no longer inhabit a democracy but a military dictatorship.

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