What Planet Are You Living On? War Spending and Paul Krugman by DAVE LINDORFF
The U.S. has over the past decade spent some two trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and on the so-called “War” on Terror. The actual spending has been much higher (as the honest Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz has explained), because only about 50% of the U.S. budget each year, including expenditures for “intelligence” and the military, is covered by tax collections from individuals, corporations, import duties and other federal fees and collections. The rest is financed with borrowed money, all of which has to be repaid in later years with interest. This country has spent another $5 trillion or so on the bloated military budget over the last decade, to finance a military complex that costs as much as the rest of the world combined spends on war and preparing for war. And again, only half of that amount was actual tax revenues. The rest has to be paid back over coming years with interest, because it’s all been borrowed.
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The big debate we need to have in this country is over whether or not we want to keep spending ridiculously huge amounts of money on ‘defense’. We are constantly told that we are broke, and that we can’t afford to pay our teachers and our nurses and the people who help when we have trouble. We are told that we don’t have the money to help Americans threatened with losing their homes to foreclosure. We are told we don’t have the money to stimulate more American jobs. Its good to stop and think about just how much money we are spending on things like nuclear weapons, what we get back for that money (which is a weapon we pray is never used and which never malfunctions), and on what we could be spending that money on to build a better America.
If you want to join that debate, come work with the Colorado Coalition. Among the things we do, once or more a year we visit Congressional offices to lobby for less spending on nuclear weapons.