Republicans Want Austerity Programs While Post 9/11 Intelligence Complex Costs Skyrocket

Republicans Want Austerity Programs While Post 9/11 Intelligence Complex Costs Skyrocket

Republicans swept into the House of Representatives giving them control while handing the president a bitter pill to swallow. Sure, government spending has been out of control for a long time. Unfortunately, most spending is not for the benefit of the people. Well, regular people anyway. The United States has long supported a secret government and has built up a military and intelligence complex unbeknown to most Americans. After 9/11, the government expanded that to include a terrorism-industrial complex as a recent FRONTLINE Episode produced by PBS and the Washington Post revealed. Do we need this massive shadow government and the enormous costs associated with it?

Well, yes and no.

America needs to protect herself in an ever-changing geopolitical landscape. The American people are quick to form opinions based on the responses made by our various government agencies whenever a major event or disaster strikes. Normally, the first question out ofanyone's mouth is "did you not know this was coming?" And if not, you should have!

It will always be six of one and a half-dozen of the other. There are some things that you just can't win at because of human nature. One thing is abundantly clear, though, it costs mucho Dineros to support our shadow complexes. As FRONTLINE and the Washington Post pointed out, we don't even know the true cost of those things right in front of our eyes. If one were to think that good old Uncle Sam hasn't been doing this for a long time, even before 9/11, it would be naive.

But, when we look at social programs that the people need, they are always the first to be slashed. Social Security is near insolvency (so they say), but in reality just like we see in our own state politics - there are diversions of public monies everyday. Funds such as Social Security or Pension Funds are routinely robbed by our foresighted politicians and/or kept underfunded in the pursuit of their other aims.

Now, I am not saying that everything President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barney Frank rammed down Americans throats was good, but not everything was bad either. I believe that the health care, for instance, is a program a long time in coming and that the powerful drug and medical lobbies have exerted undue pressures on legislators.
Sometimes to the point of threatening them with the almighty campaign contribution dollar.

This has never been a Republican thing, just as it hasn't been a Democrat thing. It is a Washington thing. And it trickles down to the states to become a political way of life and that is why I have long held that blindly, and loyally following an ideology is mostly a waste of time. Politicians know what the score is. The bigger problem, though,
is that the people refuse to accept what is clearly being dangled in front of their noses.

Donkeys and Sheeple we all must be at times.

Health care reform was a noble idea because it offered protections long denied us. But, even I objected because the true measure and costs of the legislation was withheld from us. Lawmakers were told to sign on the dotted line without knowing the full details. I think, that more than anything, angered people into refusing it. Do we still need health care
reform and revocation of lifetime payment limits or revocation of pre-existing conditions rule that deny coverage after people are laid off from a job where they were once protected?

Damn Right We Do!

I am on Medicare because I was forced onto it after being amply protected previously and I will say this - I ain't getting any better and that is what I believe they want in the long run. Medicare is far less effective than what I once had. The program is definitely not about "preventive care." Then again, that would cost more wouldn't it? So shall we say that the present system is simply about culling the rolls by natural death? Well, that is how I view it.

President Obama also wanted make education a high priority. Today I read that the Pell Grants, which offer so little in the first place, will be adjusted to provide a $5,500 annual grant instead of the possibility of doubling that if you attended summer school. Higher education costs are sky high and getting scholarships will become even more difficult. As I
see it, tampering with education is the first step in stamping out a society. Instead of focusing on making us even more competitive in the global economy, we will no doubt embark on a plan to lessen that ability .

If you relied on Pell Grants, which many do, just be prepared for a tougher road ahead.

Republicans and their weepy Speaker of the House, John Boehner say that they are merely following the mandate of the people to stop wasteful spending. Yes ass-holes all, we want to end wasteful spending! But what we want, more than anything else, is that that waste be cut from the  "military complex programs." And what about the fact that government officials and politicians get enviable health care, stipends and pensions that few of us could ever attain?

Perhaps Republicans should use their mandate to attack the shadow complex spending that has dogged us all. Do we really believe that those non-existent government agencies don't
exist? And I am not going to get obtuse or join hands about conspiracy theorists.

Let us just say it would be foolhardy to believe that there aren't "special agencies within agencies" that operate under a cloak of secrecy and anonymity. And they add a tremendous cost on our National Budget. That is the world we live in, but it shouldn't go unchecked.

Meanwhile, Republicans better understand that austerity programs is not what we asked for. And there will be another election in two short years to reckon with those who use incorrectly interpret the peoples will of what they want and don't want.

Oh Yeah, I would not attempt to follow the United Kingdom's model of austerity either.

 

 

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  • *snicker*

  • In reply to WisdomSeed:

    **snee**

  • In reply to WisdomSeed:

    There's a lot of that invisible budget stuff in the USDA, for example, but it may have a lot of invisible protection from politicians and lobbyists that make it difficult to remove.

    There is, of course, the "Black Budget" of spooks that is truly invisible but is very well protected. Ask a good many academics about the good works they have carried on in various parts of the world, not knowing for years (if ever) that their whole operation was paid for out of the Black Budget for reasons they never knew.

  • In reply to jimbreeling:

    Indeed, very familiar with black budget. Of course for every three endeavors considered "good works" there will be one that is questionable, right Charlie Wilson? LOL.

  • In reply to jimbreeling:

    You have put in about 25 thoughts into one post, and it is very difficult to comment on all of them.

    1. I quit watching Frontline about 8 years ago, because it hit me as a typical liberal "ignore the unintended consequences" show. BTW, it is publicly funded, and the President of WTTW was on Channel 11.3 begging us to write Congress not to cut funding for public television.

    2. Unlike the state, the feds can print money. The only consequence when they go overboard is rampant inflation, basically between 1977 and 1982. With all the deflation that occurred when the "funny money" (derivatives) were driven out of the system in 2008, inflating the money supply at the moment doesn't bother me. It will become a problem if the Chinese pull their money out of the system.

    3. Social Security is the same in that it is only backed by U.S. government bonds, not assets, like a state pension fund must be. They have the full faith and credit of the U.S., but the U.S. can print more money. I didn't see anyone of either party complaining about the compromise to reduce payroll taxes for 2011.

    4. National defense has always been a constitutional obligation, and terrorism is the current threat. Now maybe, the Egyptian revolution will spread and the "democratic armies" (you predicted that one in Egypt) will help the youth overthrow the governments in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Pakistan, and finally root out the terrorists, and we can say the threat has been minimized and let down our intelligence defenses, which woefully failed us in 2001. I'm not betting on any of that.

    5. As far as college grants, it seems well documented that the private universities have done the "economically rational" thing of raising tuition to soak up that money, then begging for contributions so they can play Robin Hood and give full tuition to those who need it. Hence, increasing government aid doesn't solve the problem, but exacerbates it.

    That's probably enough for today.

  • In reply to jack:

    I guess I am known for that. I can understand what you mean about PBS. They have always presented a liberal bias anyhow. I do however have some faith in the Washington Post for being objective most of the time. All media outlets display some sort of bias / agenda though. Unintended consequences occur all the time, don't they?

    Printing money - interesting. As basic economics would tell you, that is a bad move. So while they can, they generally don't. Not just for the inflation concerns. Devaluation of currency does a lot of damage, especially when it comes to free trade.

    Yes we need a strong defense, especially now. The fact that the costs are a closely guarded secret is what bothers me. They say you can add up all the government expenditures and then if you subtract that from the total budget you would arrive at the black budget number, but I don't know if that is entirely true.

    College Tuition is out of hand; but, endowments have dried up because of the economy and they had to raise the tuition. I am preparing to send my boy onto higher education and as we research the programs he wants to attend, well shit - someone better play Robin Hood. Luckily he is high honor roll and does athletics so we should benefit from that. Matter of fact, as a sophomore he has already attracted 36 institutions that want him after a recent Pre-PSAT in which he out-scored 93% of juniors. I don't mind them playing Robin Hood.

    Financial aid isn't always about those who need it - sometimes it is about who they desire to study at their institution. It costs money. Government aid / research grants are essential in my view. Look at how many inventions, etc. came off a college campus. That is why I believe the government needs to fund more. Pell grants, for instance, could be the difference for many in disadvantaged areas. Some kids have no "special academic or athletic abilities."

    Sure, big programs rake in the cash from their athletic departments and I find that to be a curiosity in terms of the whole picture of the financial pie.

  • In reply to maciric:

    Like medical expenses, whether there is any real economic justification for college tuition is an inexplicable mess.

    I don't think the endowments are drying up, when there were announcements, within the past 2 years, of some anonymous donor giving the U of C enough money for about 1/3 of the students entering the college to get full scholarships, and a named founder of a hedge fund giving enough that 1/10 of those admitted to the law school also get them. Of course, there were also statements that in raising tuition to a certain level, certain of the proceeds would be used to increase financial aid for those who can't. Besides that, there are statements that certain schools (especially the law school) are cash cows, or that schools have to compete on residence halls and fitness centers to attract paying students (which they sure did not when I went to college).

    I realize that there are certain merit based scholarships that are not based on financial need alone.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack don't you think that places like the U of C are more the exception than the rule? When I was younger I had looked at smaller institutions that offered a professor / student ratio more conducive to learning. The stark reality is that many of these smaller, yet prestigious in some cases, have suffered because of the economy, reduced enrollments. Larger institutions with a large Alumni pool has a marked advantage as I see it. And if that Alumni pool has a large population of successful graduates - well, you know how that is.

    The big and rich get bigger and richer. Of course that is just my opinion.

  • In reply to maciric:

    I suppose that one would have to study the endowment of each institution. Also, one would have to look at the application:acceptance ratio at each.

    For instance, my sister said that the endowment at the University of Rochester was a case study in another business school. I told her that the reason it was mostly Xerox stock is that Xerox was located there and gave them the stock.

    At least the general stock market has gone back up to pre-bubble levels, if that was the source of the endowment problems.

    Anyway, from what I hear, the upper middle class can only afford to send their children to state schools.

  • In reply to jack:

    Very True. Most larger institutions are well protected, but places like Rochester you have to wonder about. Although it is funny you should mention Rochester, my kid just got a letter of interest from them and he is impressed.

    The stock market is coming back, but I have to assume it would take some time to recoup the losses sustained. This depression was much deeper than most thought. I am only thankful that my stock has stayed pretty much par throughout, but then a again I believe in long term, blue chip anyway so in theory at least one is able to ride it out.

    Now some of those endowments that may have been tied to "old money blue chips" say like an Eastman Kodak, well their market passed them by and that endowment dried up right along with it. Yea there is more to it all and I would think the smaller institutions have struggled more. But hey who knows. There are many factors and changes occur along the way hopefully protecting them.

    Upper middle class? What is that? I thought it was down to us and them (the upper crust).

  • In reply to jack:

    What we have in this country is not a revenue gathering problem it is a spending problem. As with most people ,we aren't always to worried until it hits us in the wallet. Our medical system didn't need to be replaced it needed to be repaired. College just like owning a house is not a privilege. What people need to figure out is " no one owes you anything,nothing." Go out and earn it,give that little extra in school first. I had help in my life from my parents and I am proud of that , they did that because that was their job. We' ve become a nation of wieners . All those dogooders have become enablers for the people who won't give the effort they owe themselves. We never said we were not going to help others,what turns me off is that they now demand it. All things need a good look at ,all across the board. Yes even defense. Let's start with our beloved pols...

  • In reply to waterbill:

    We do have a spending problem for sure. Some of that "pork" was needed though too, right? The real waste is in ineffective and/or outdated programs that stay on the books - that has to be removed and put to better use. The medical system is far more complex water, but I suspect providers and suppliers are taking advantage of the programs and their campaign contributions keep them in the budget.

    I don't think anyone who doesn't take education seriously and works for it, should benefit. Scholarships and grants should be merit based. Without tooting my own horn, my kid works hard and has a 5.3 GPA scored in the 95th percentile of sophomores - and ranked in the 87th percentile for all juniors (as a soph) in the state. Our mailbox has been filled to the brim from universities all over the country pursuing him. Plus he does track and field / football. I think he is earning that scholarship(s).

    On the other hand, there are kids who want to do good, but just don't get there for whatever reason. Now, do we abandon those kids? I am not so sure because we don't know what the circumstances are for each one. I think there has to be opportunities for everyone to at least go to community college you know? Believe me, those people who demand and want wouldn't drain the system because they have no intention of going anyhow.

    So I think we have to rethink how education is funded.

    So far as cutting defense, sure if it is excess and unnecessary. We can't touch essential though. But there is plenty of waste in the military complex for sure.

    Politicians? Take away their health care unless we get the exact same thing with all the options. Stipends and expenses for staffing need to be reviewed too. How many aides does a normal lawmaker have on staff anyway?

    I hear you - mostly.

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