01 August 2011

Budget talks reveal an alien universe of priorities

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Congress has agreed in principle it will address U.S. budget problems without reducing the mind-numbing cost of imperial wars and without increasing taxes on profitable corporations and the wealthiest individuals, who have enjoyed steady gains since the 2008 crash while the rest of America has struggled.

Good lord, what planet am I living on?

By seeking balance through the spending cuts, vital and necessary programs like Medicare and Social Security are one step closer to the chopping block. A national healthcare plan and a jobs program are dead.

Planet? What solar system?

The U.S. government showered hundreds of billions of public dollars on the very financial industries that wrecked the global economy, but there are no funds to tackle unemployment and poverty, which are entrenched at record levels.

Maybe we slipped into an alternate universe, a reversed reality in which up is down, bad is good, and stupid is wise.

Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya (and maybe someday soon, Iran) are draining trillions of dollars from the national economy. Even former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his successor, the recently retired Robert Gates, openly acknowledged wasteful and unnecessary military spending. But significant defense reductions aren’t on the table.

If you want to know a nation’s priorities, look at its budget; government spends money on the things it considers important. By that yardstick the United States doesn’t like most Americans, coddles the wealthiest and most powerful, and is addicted to military spending that produces war, death and misery.

Stop, slow down, I want off now.

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