Listening to TV pundits sigh and moan about America’s dire lack of funds, and pondering the politicians’ gloom-and-doom predictions for Social Security and Medicare, you might think that there’s a shortage of ready cash in this country. And to hear Republican candidate Rick Perry denounce Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for “treasonously” printing more, you might suppose conservatives like him favor some kind of national belt tightening.
You would be wrong on both counts.
Republicans don’t mind spending America’s money. But they do mind spending it to make poor Americans’ lives less wretched.
When it comes to blowing up buildings in far-off places and raining bombs on people with dark complexions, they can find unlimited amounts of cash.
An article today by Nancy A. Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers quotes a recent Brown University study that finds the current U.S.wars and their ripple effects are costing Americans $3.7 trillion through fiscal year 2011.
And it doesn’t seem to bother conservatives that a lot of military dollars end up in the pockets of crooks and drug dealers – and even the insurgents that America is supposedly fighting against. A Huffington Post report today reveals that:
After examining hundreds of combat support and reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan, the U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers with ties to both.
But I doubt that’s news to you.
What you might not have thought about is the lavish spending on political causes.
The billionaire Koch brothers, for example, are pouring truckloads of cash into elections around the country in an effort to drive the dreaded liberals out of office. They’re not only funding federal and state campaigns but also contributing millions to try and oust school board members who support public education.
I realize it’s their money and they can spend it any way they want – especially now that the U.S. Supreme Court has removed restraints on corporate contributions to political campaigns. But it goes to show they – and people like them – wouldn’t feel any pain if Uncle Sam raised their taxes by a buck or two.
The Kochs are not the only people throwing billions at political campaigns in America.
Everyone’s crying poor these days but they always seem to find money for their favorite candidates and causes.
Those recalls in Wisconsin, for example, cost more than $40 million, with national unions and out-of-state conservative groups providing the bulk of it.
And you may have heard that U.S.-based corporations are sitting on about two trillion dollars in uninvested cash while they lay off workers and fight any attempt to close tax loopholes or reduce tax subsidies.
The rich don’t mind spending billions lobbying Congress to retain their privileged status, but they fight tooth and nail when they’re asked to contribute a few more tax dollars to alleviate the government’s deficit problem.
What ails America is not a shortage of money but a lack of true patriotism.
To hear them talk you might think Republicans share a deep love of their country, but what they really love is their privileged lifestyle and their ability to send other people’s children to die for them and their money.