Friday, February 09, 2018

The Richest, Most Powerful Nation in the Third World

She used to be Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Now she's just Sarah Sanders. I wonder if papa Pastor Mike had anything to do with that.

I often catch SarahSan's daily White House press briefings. Lately there's been an endless amount of talk about budget, budget, budget and SarahSan routinely fingers the Democrats for denying America's military the money it needs to, oh, I don't know, fail to win wars. Trump browbeat the Democrats. SarahSan browbeats the Democrats. They do it because it works. Chuck "Rollover" Schumer invariably plays dead and goes along to get along. Voila, another $300 billion for the Pentagon.

My, my, my, don't those Republicans like to spend money America don't have. After causing the meltdown of 2007-08, they were fierce austerians when Obama went the Keynesian route and poured money into the economy to prevent the Great Recession from turning into the Great Depression, Redux.

However, now the Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House and the economy is booming (for some), it's time to tax wealth, pay off debt and restore the nation's fiscal health. Only that's not happening. No, this year the budget ensures the feds will lot a trillion dollar deficit - in a boom economy. That all but guarantees that when the US economy next weakens, the American working public, blue and white collar, will be left in a desperately bad way.

But about that extra 300 billion for the military. That has The Guardian's Tom McCarthy asking whether the US really needs a huge boost in military spending when it can't turn the lights back on in Puerto Rico.

Critics, including Stephen Miles, director of the Washington DC-based Win Without War advocacy group, said the new military spending numbers were a symptom of misplaced national priorities.

“When our nation can’t manage to turn the lights on for the people of Puerto Rico, when we can’t help those suffering from opioid addiction get treatment, and when we can’t ensure education and healthcare to all of our citizens, how is it possible we can justify spending billions more on weapons that don’t work to fight enemies that don’t exist?” Miles said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, supported the deal, calling it a “win for the American people”.

In 2016, as the world’s biggest military spender, the United States racked up a larger outlay ($611bn) than the next eight countries combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The potential $80bn leap in military spending in 2018 would itself surpass the total annual military budget of any other country apart from China.

The extraordinary levels of US defense expenditure were highlighted in a recent report by the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

The US “spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined”, the report said, and yet “US infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world”.

America, the richest, most powerful and most dangerous nation in the Third World.

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