Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Investments We Choose to Make

An old adage attributed to many authors (including Mark Twain and Benjamin Disraeli) tells us there are three kinds of falsehoods: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Nowadays you have to be wary of the statistics everyone throws around, particularly because a large number of them are actually lies and/or damned lies invented by people who know that we aren't likely to check on their provenance ... either because they agree with our political biases or because we're just too lazy to check. With that in mind, I call your attention to these figures from the website nationalpriorities.org ... which I believe are, if anything, lowballed:

Every hour, the United States is spending about $365,000 in Iraq. That's nearly nine million dollars per day.

Every hour, the United States is spending about $312,500 to fight the murderous religious bigots of the so-called Islamic State. That's roughly 7.5 million dollars per day.

And we won't even talk about what we're spending in Afghanistan.

This is not, as we say, chump change.

Now, one could argue that we have a moral obligation to help Iraq, seeing as how we destroyed the country in a war to rid it of weapons of mass destruction it didn't have and terrorists* who weren't there (but are now flocking there by the thousand, go figure). But at some point, the Iraqis have to take responsibility for their own country. They have to stop fighting each other and rebuild a nation where everyone can live. Unfortunately, this seems to be very unlikely.

What else might we be spending that money on, rather than armies we train and equip that throw away their weapons and run at the sight of the enemy, or on fighting religious fanatics so violent and bigoted that even other religious fanatics can't stand them?

Germany provides a college education for everyone. For free. Don't you think we would benefit from free education for everyone? ... perhaps if we had free public education for all, up to the university level, we wouldn't have as many abysmally stupid people earning a living as politicians and pundits. But we don't even have to make college education free ... the amount spent in a single day in useless wars in the snakepit of the Middle East would tremendously help our struggling public schools, and help ensure that our children's teachers earn a decent wage and don't have to pay school expenses out of their pockets.

Our infrastructure is crumbling around us: bridges collapse, highways are crumbling, the air traffic control system is overloaded, water mains break, etc, etc. And yet we spend billions of dollars to destroy the billions of dollars worth of equipment we gave to Iraqi troops who abandoned it to the forces of the so-called Islamic State.

There's another old adage: charity begins at home.

Let's start spending there.

Have a good day. Think about who your tax dollars are working for.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* Overuse and misuse of the loaded words "terrorist" and "terrorism" is an issue for another post.


Linda Kay said...

I'm with you. The problem comes from the threat of those idiots overseas. But the question remains as to how much they would really care about us if we weren't right there in the middle of things. These factions have been fighting since biblical times, so not sure how we will change it. I have granddaughters in college, and they will have student loans to repay of astronomical amounts when they graduate. I'd love to see a study on how the US could do as Germany does.

Straight Up No Chaser said...

Amen Brother Bill!

Duckbutt said...

I think that much of the money would be better spent at home.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

It would be wonderful to subsidize college-level education for all. Unfortunately, the long-term trend for state universities is for the state to fund lower and lower percentages of the institutions' budgets. The result: tuition increases higher than inflation and massive debts.