Welfare or Warfare: Keeping Defense Contractors Rich While America Crumbles

Republicans want to take the country back to the 1950s, and they want to cut taxes for the wealthy claiming it is good for the economy even though the Bush-era tax cuts have not created jobs or stimulated the economy.  Republicans also oppose cutting defense spending that drains the economy and takes valuable resources that could rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create jobs.

In the fifties, the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans was about ninety percent and it was a time of prosperity and building that we haven’t seen since…the fifties. There was a cold war going on and the military had just downsized sending hundreds of thousands of men back to the States who needed jobs and educational opportunities the tax revenue and building programs provided.

Tax revenue paid for roads, bridges, schools, and home ownership programs that citizens are still using and enjoying; until Republicans and Reagan put corporations in charge. Defense spending dollars go to manufacture products that are destroyed. A tank, a bomb, guns, and bullets are made to be destroyed. Smart bombs are about one million dollars each, and they are made to be destroyed while they kill innocent civilians and destroy other country’s infrastructures.

The money from excess or unnecessary defense spending would be nice to fix America’s infrastructure. Rebuilding America would put the country back to work, and suppliers and equipment manufacturers would employ thousands of workers who in turn would pay taxes. America would benefit greatly, and countries we destroy would remain intact without our imperialistic meddling.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost America approximately $3 Trillion so far and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. If history teaches us anything, it is that America will always have a presence in the Middle East just like we do in Germany, Japan, and countries that are our allies.

Military and defense spending is the biggest entitlement program in America, and it is a ridiculous waste of money. The American defense budget is more than the next 26 countries in the world combined, and it includes our allies. It is a travesty that Republicans do not support our troops after their service, but they happily support military contractors for the campaign contributions they receive in return for fat contracts.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, military contractors like Halliburton were given “no bid” contracts to rebuild the infrastructure that we destroyed. A suspicious person may think Bush and Cheney started the Iraq war to make work for Cheney’s company. It is a reasonable assumption because there was never a truthful reason given for going to war.

There is an invalid argument that we need military bases and troops in foreign countries to combat the Soviet threat, and that if we brought our troops home they wouldn’t have jobs. It is a half-baked argument because if we spent the money here at home that we are spending to maintain bases in our allies’ countries, every soldier would have a job and the economy would rebound quickly, and that doesn’t account for the tax revenue or manufacturing jobs that would be created.

Conservatives make it clear they will not cut defense spending or rebuild our crumbling infrastructure because it is not in their make-up. They believe America must have a military presence in every country on Earth even if it means our homeland goes to Hell and our people fall into abject poverty. Their goal is to enrich the wealthy corporations, and prevent prosperity to defeat Obama in 2012. They have broad support from racists and old people who fall for the American Exceptionalism meme.

America is not exceptional in the world’s view or in the physical state of our infrastructure. We have military bases in our allies’ countries and corporations are getting rich supplying men and equipment for wars started without provocation. There needs to be a change in the mindset of our government that puts America and its people first regardless of the corporate world’s desires.

Republicans decry entitlements for old, infirm, and disadvantaged citizens, but hand out entitlements to healthy military personnel to keep them busy instead of bringing them home to rebuild America. Conservatives believe it is more important to spend precious dollars on military hardware that is destroyed than to rebuild America and repair our damaged economy.

In one sense, it is an excellent idea to go back to the 1950s when the wealthy paid their share and the country built roads, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure improvements. However, Republicans only know how to spend money on bombs and bullets so defense contractors are profitable. It is an easy choice for true patriots, but for conservatives, patriot means killing and destroying valuable assets at the expense of Americans and our infrastructure. They have done it since Reagan was president and have never let up; and all the while, America crumbles while conservatives get richer.


Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion. Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn't look good. Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.

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