I realize this is a campaign year and I know most of the political posturing that’s going on has only one purpose – to win votes. And I am aware that the outrageous proposals put forward by the Republican dominated House of Representatives have no chance of being adopted in the Senate.
But, given all of that, I am aghast at the Republicans’ plan to slash programs like Meals on Wheels, food stamps and school lunches to avoid cutting the defense budget.
What are they thinking?
Do they suppose that the people who depend on those Meals on Wheels are too old to get out and vote? Do they figure that students don’t have a vote, so let them go hungry? Do they write off the poor as perennial Democratic voters, anyway?
And do they believe that the other Americans are so selfish, so heartless, so primitive that they would agree to let old people and poor kids starve as long as they’re OK?
I know the defense industry provides jobs in many Congressional districts, and I know cutting the Pentagon budget could have an economic ripple effect across the land. The sad truth is that America has become the world’s largest arms manufacturer and exporter. The American economy is increasingly based on endless war.
But it may be time to rethink the war-based economy. America spends more on arms than the rest of the world combined. It’s almost as if the United States were a bank robber, holding the rest of the world to ransom with its military might. That worked in the old days but it won’t work today.
China and Russia are flexing their muscles. And while America depends on aircraft carriers to enforce its will, China’s way is more subtle. I read recently that the Chinese have bought their first U.S. bank, for example.
These are tricky times and cave man tactics no longer work as well as they did decades ago.
It’s time for Americans to think of the defense budget in terms of national defense – instead of international intimidation. In that context, the prescribed Pentagon cuts would not be so bad.
In any case, the idea that old people, children and the poor should be punished to keep the military-industry complex flourishing is simply unthinkable.
It’s hard to imagine that the Republicans are serious when they propose demolishing the social programs that have evolved in America over the past century. Perhaps this latest Scrooge act is just a swaggering appeal to the right-wing crazies who have taken over the party.
Or it could indeed be what the Republicans propose to do if they (God forbid!) win control of the House, the Senate and the White House in November.