Yes, despite all the hysteria in the media, the windbags in Congress and most people I talk to, the debt ceiling is much ado about nothing. Congress and the President are playing a game of chicken to distract you from what you should really care about: the greatest theft of wealth from you and me in the history of the world. Some of that wealth is absolutely priceless, which I’ll clarify in a minute. I am exasperated by the failure of virtually every arm of the media to document this reality. But after a lifetime of training-by TV -we have come to prefer drama over data, sensation over sobriety, raciness over reality.
Dennis Kucinich, despite himself, has an excellent article at CommonDreams. I will summarize his list of the scale and means by which this theft is taking place while adding some history, details, and of course opinions. All of these means serve to fleece all of us in order to enrich a few:
- War. Our so-called “defense” department was sanitized from its former more accurate name “Department of War” back in 1947. Our war-making consumes half of discretionary spending and we spend more than all other countries combined. President Eisenhower warned us of the Congressional/Industrial/Military complex (later, as a courtesy, he dropped “Congressional”). We didn’t heed his warning and now we’re being bled to death by it in two ways. First, multinational corporations now exploit our military as their free mafia-like “enforcer”, allowing them to destroy their competition and take over markets in ways that would be illegal were they to do it themselves. That’s what Iraq was all about and what most of our involvement in the Middle East is all about: oil & oil infrastructure. Although it would be far less costly- financially and in human sacrifice – and phenomenally quicker to simply reduce our energy consumption, the current energy market titans wouldn’t make any money that way. And they own Congress. Secondly, most of the products manufactured by the MIC have no spin-off economic effects; they end up idle, destroyed or abandoned in the sand. If you build a new school in an under-served community, the effects are profound, immediate & long term as well. A $35 mil. helicopter sitting on the tarmac in Afghanistan really helps us out here, doesn’t it? Every billion dollars spent on war cost us at least 3200 jobs. See War Costs.
- Which brings us to Energy and the Environment. Current environmental & energy laws and policies guarantee the transfer of massive monetary and, more importantly, resource wealth from all of us to the coffers of a few. Some decry regulations as too strict, stifling business, hurting the economy. This isn’t true but if even it were that is a short-term view. Our lack of self-discipline & reverence for this Earth is nothing but thievery from our own futures as well as other living things on the globe.
- Insurance industry. I part ways with Senator Kucinich here. The insurance industry is complex and varied. There are real scoundrels as well as saints. The important question is, who adds value and who simply siphons off profits? The test of who adds value is this: does the company provide insurance benefits, that is, transferring risk away from consumers? I agree that health insurers add little to no value- and even subtract from -the health care transaction. For far less in expenditures, a single payer system would produce better health results for all of us. It is ridiculous, and astonishingly immoral, that we have people with health insurance still going bankrupt from medical bills. Property insurers, annuity companies, life insurers, disability insurers all perform genuine insurance functions, giving us tremendous leverage for relatively little cost.
- Wall Street & the Banksters– now larger and more powerful than before the last crash & subsequent financial “reform”, these guys are shameless, paying themselves record bonuses out of bailout funds paid by . . . you and me! Need I say more? What we need is genuine transparency and tax rates for speculators that are the same as those for working stiffs. Taxes, like death, are not fair. They are necessary. And currently our public revenue streams are abysmally inadequate for maintaining the infrastructure, the commons, necessary for a civilized society.
- Money Supply– I don’t know enough about The Fed to weigh in here but I do know that our money supply never should have been privatized. Just look what would have happened to Social Security if our trust fund had been handed over to Wall Street three years ago; it would be bankrupt now.
I hate to say it, but until the average American stands up for his and her best interests, nothing will change.