So I was doing some research for another post I am still thinking about making, but I found this and it is shockingly absurd that no one has said anything about this (at least that I know of).
The simple fact is that defense department spending more than doubled over the last 10 years. What the fuck?
I can understand that after 9/11 we would naturally have sought to modernize our military. Let's face it. In 2000, our military was alright, but we were woefully unprepared for the new world in which we are in. Our military assets were still largely designed to counter the threat of another nation attacking us, not a small group of isolated individuals (which is what al-qaeda is, at least on a global scale). So naturally, our next step was to invest money to develop technology more suited to countering this new threat that America faced.
But looking back... What the hell were we thinking in Iraq? I was against the war to begin with, but on a long term scale, the war in Iraq has cost us far more than we have gained, and I'm not even including the lives that have been lost and forever changed among our Armed Services. Yes, Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. No, he did not have WMD. Yes, Iraqis are probably better off without Saddam, but what direct benefits have Americans received from Iraqis having a better life? I am seeing none, except a lot of animosity towards the US from around the world.
But consider, in FY2001 we spent 316.2 billion on our ENTIRE military budget. In the FY2013 proposed budget, we are looking at 613.9 billion, and that's down from 690.9 in 2010. I am glad to see that over the last few years we are starting to moderate the amount we are spending on our military to some degree.
But let's consider something else for a minute. Our national federal debt has risen so high that I have lost track and don't even desire to keep counting. It struck me as I was thinking about this, you know, I wonder how much lower our debt would be if certain things had been different.
Now, keep in mind earlier that I said after 9/11, I would have naturally expected and supported a rise in military and defense spending to refocus our military and equip them to properly answer threats that exist now that we really haven't ever dealt with before. So, personally, I would have supported a rise of maybe another 50% in spending. Looking at the chart of defense spending over the last 10 years, that puts us at the FY05 level of 478billion dollars. If we take every dollar above that amount that we have spent since then, the financial losses that we have sustained are dismal - something to the tune of close to 1.3 trillion dollars that we have wasted on unnecessary military expenditures. Thanks, Dubya. We knew you could run a business into the ground, nice to see that your skills are still as sharp as ever.
I say this not to aggravate old arguments about the war in iraq, nor to renew arguments about defense spending, but more as a call to arms. Things need to change in this country, and fast. Special interests and corporate campaign financing have all but ruined what this country was supposed to be. It doesn't help that they don't make Americans like they used to - goodbye to the likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, people who actually gave a shit about the country they lived in and wanted the benefits of freedom and liberty to last for generations.
Well, in my opinion, we are at a crossroads. Americans over the last 200 years have become complacent about our liberty. Yes, we've been challenged externally and obviously we've been able to handle the challenges that we have faced thus far, but this is maybe the first time that the very core of our democracy has been challenged by an unexpected internal mechanism when you combine market capitalism and representative democracy - the rise of corporate interests and their ability to outweigh the concerns of individual citizens. I am sorry, but representative democracy is not designed to be good for the interests of Big Business. If it happens that way, great, but any type of democracy is instituted by the people of the people for the people. If Big Business doesn't like it, they can go jump off the nearest bridge because it really doesn't fucking matter, we didn't put this government together in order for corporate interests to hijack it so that Big Business could screw over Little People.
So I propose this. It's almost a guarantee that there are a lot of people who are as irritated with this shit as I am, so there would probably be enough people to get a petition going somewhere that would require 100% public funding of national level campaigns. I am still not sure how the details would work, but fortunately I am only one of what I believe to be a lot of very pissed off people, so I am sure if we could come together on this, between however many people are truly upset about business as usual in Washington, someone or a group of someone's can figure out a policy plan to make this work. But the point is, there has got to be a more effective system of campaign finance than allowing Big Business to corrupt our legislature and high offices.
Now, I am not saying that Big Business shouldn't have a voice - but that voice shouldn't automatically drown out the rest of us. If a company wants to send a lobbyist to Washington as a representative of the company to try and persuade an elected official to go a certain way on an issue, that's fine, but the influence of money and campaign finance should never enter the equation. Similarly, if some special interest cause - be it a conservative or liberal cause - wants to try to influence Congress as a whole or specific Senators or Reps, that again is fine, as long as campaign finance never enters the question.
Simply put, our elections shouldn't be about who can raise and spend the most money, it should be about who is better able to represent the views of the American people. Putting candidates for national office on a level playing field will force them to deal with the issues at hand, rather than pandering to special interests and big business. If an incumbent wants to justify re-election, he or she will have to convince people that they have always had the best interests of their constituents at heart.
And you know what? I guarantee that after all 535 congressional seats have been voted on following the passage of such a measure, almost no incumbent from the old system of campaign finance wins re-election.