The next time you’re challenging some politico or pundit to explain why we don’t have national health care, adequate public housing, decent mass transit, etc., etc., and he (it’s usually a he, in this context) tells you in a George Bushian exasperated tone, “We can’t afford it,” refer the schmuck to the War Resisters League.
Every year as people scurry toward April 15, the League puts out an informative two-page document that tells “Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes.” My copy just arrived in the mail; you can get a copy via www.warresisters.org.
WYITMRG puts the plain facts on the table, the kind of facts that even smooth political talkers can’t dispute – at least not without making even bigger asses of themselves.
The fiscal 2008 edition of WYITMRG says that out of total federal outlays of $2.347 trillion, with a “t,” fully $1.188 trillion will go for military purposes. (The figures do not include trust funds like Social Security and Medicare, which are funded separately, i.e. not through income taxes. The War Resisters rightly charge the feds with “deception” for presenting a so-called “unified budget” that, by adding in the trust funds, makes the various programs of organized violence seem smaller than they are.)
The $1.188 trillion includes nearly half a trillion for the Pentagon, plus military-related outlays for the Department of Energy (nuclear weapons, @ $17 billion), the military side of NASA, the twelve-figure annual outlay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and occupations; and a huge outlay for interest due on the portion of the national debt attributable to past wars.
Of course, the most burdensome costs of all this military spending are best measured in lost and shattered lives all over the planet. You could say the people of Iraq have been “taxed” to the tune of maybe a half million lives, just since Bush’s dirty little invasion of 2003. Meanwhile, Americans have “contributed” more than 3,000 men and women. Forget this week’s plunge in the Dow and NASDAQ – we need to fire the broker who gave us the “War on Terror,” surely one of the worst long-term investments ever.