Key to enforcement of US economic exploitation of people outside the US is the use and threat of military force. The dominance of the military in US public life and the US economy is also key to the economic exploitation of Americans. Our largest export is weapons, and our largest and longest public investment is in killing. With corporations no longer paying significant taxes, and progressivity stripped out of the tax code, the use of half of every tax dollar for death and destruction is a direct drain on working people. So is major borrowing of money for imperial adventures.
Investing in war could not stimulate the economy in the way that other public spending could, even if war spending were honest and efficient. Weapons makers do not have to produce anything that is of any use to a community. They just have to reach into our pockets (or our grandchildren's pockets) and take our money. And, of course, war spending never is honest or efficient. Much of it goes no further than the already stuffed pockets of a pack of cold-blooded cronies. It's not reinvested in an economy.
According to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' book "The Three Trillion Dollar War," we have almost certainly spent at least three to five trillion dollars on occupying Iraq if you include lost work, veterans care, the rise in oil prices, and the interest on debt. It's hard to even think of any useful work we could do on jobs, infrastructure, housing, clean energy, or education that could not be done for five trillion dollars. With that kind of money, you have to start straining your imagination to come up with ways to spend it, you have to make college free and preschool free, and hire more teachers, and pay them very well, and build them new public transportation to get to their new solar-powered schools, and you're still just getting started. And the payoff is not just that you've educated kids instead of killing them, although that seems rather significant to me. But you've also much more effectively created jobs and money in the economy that lead to other jobs and more money. This is very different from shoveling bundles of cash into a humvee and never seeing it again.
In the U Mass Amherst report, Bob Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier found that "$1 billion spent on personal consumption, health care, education, mass transit and construction for home weatherization and infrastructure will all create more jobs within the U.S. economy than would the same $1 billion spent on the military." Spending on personal consumption, they found, generates lower paying jobs than military jobs (at least until the service industry is better unionized), but investing in health care, education, mass transit, and home construction creates better paying jobs.
Almost 20 years ago, with the end of the Cold War, there was discussion of a peace dividend. Now, with no comparable enemy yet discovered or manufactured, the United States spends more on the military than it ever did during the Cold War. At the same time, we ignore the need to invest in green energy, thereby engaging in an action perhaps more suicidal than anything we ever did during the Cold War.
...The amount of money we could put to good use if we shut down the military of the empire is almost unfathomable, as is the potential of green energy.
Source: Economic Exploitation and Empire
Submitted by davidswanson on Fri, 2008-05-23 16:23.
By David Swanson
This combines remarks made on two panels on May 23, 2008, in Radford, Va., at the Building a New World Conference: http://www.wpaconference.org
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
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Political Campaign Intervention
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Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
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Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)