Move the Budget Debate to One of Those Democracies We're Bombing into Place
Imagine how radically different the current debate over the Giant Debt Ceiling Monster would look if we moved it to one of those nations we're bombing into a democracy. Imagine us all still U.S. residents with the same views we have now, but imagine that our representatives in Washington, D.C., were obliged to give a damn what we thought.
Back on January 3rd, Americans expressed their first choice of action. While 3% chose to cut Social Security and 4% to cut Medicare, 20% said cut the military, and 61% said tax the rich. On January 14th, 52% said they would approve of cutting the military. Another poll, conducted January 15th to 19th, found 55% choosing to cut the military as their first choice (taxing the rich was not offered), while 21% said cut Medicare and 13% said cut Social Security.
In April, the Washington Post - ABC News found that 72% of Americans want to raise taxes on people with incomes over $250,000, while 42% say cut the military, 30% are willing to cut Medicaid, and 21% Medicare. Even Gallup says that 42% want to cut Homeland Security and 42% want to cut the military, while cutting Medicare and Social Security are at 38% and 34%.
Americans in certain swing states seem to agree:
Raise taxes on those with incomes over $250,000 a year
Don't Cut Social Security
Don't Cut Medicare
Don't Cut Medicaid
Cutting the military doesn't look like as solid a majority position as taxing the rich, until one looks a little more closely. According to Gallup, 22% say the United States spends too little on the military, but 39% say it spends too much, and remarkably -- and delegitimizing at least six current wars -- 57% say the United States should not attack another nation unless attacked first. In fact, only 25% of U.S. voters believe the United States should always spend at least three times as much on defense as any other nation. In reality, the United States spends about seven times the closest competitor (and almost none of it on anything truly defensive), a status that must have the support of significantly fewer than 25% of Americans. But fewer than that many Americans are aware of it.
When shown what the federal budget is and given the opportunity to change it, Americans significantly cut the military and tax the rich.
The problem with taxing the rich and cutting the military for the debt crisis debate is that if we were to do those things, there couldn't be a debt crisis, because the debt would begin to be paid off.
So, dear international phone-hacking war-marketing media barons, please stop showing me how many Americans have been scared into opposing raising a debt ceiling. If you gave a damn what Americans wanted, you'd be looking at how we can raise the floor.
Try this little activity: How would you spend the federal budget?
Enter a percentage of the budget that you would spend on each category. Make sure the total equals 100%.
Job training, mass transit, and a jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure and mass transit:_____%
Management of public lands:_____%
Pollution control and Renewable energy research:_____%
Subsidies to small farmers:_____%
Elementary and secondary education, and higher education, and special education for students with disabilities:_____%
Economic development aid to select foreign countries, medical aid to poor nations, and development aid to poor nations, the Peace Corps, and disaster relief abroad:_____%
United Nations, peacekeeping, weapons nonproliferation:_____%
Military and Homeland Security Department and Military "aid" to other nations:_____%
Law enforcement and federal prisons:_____%
Housing for the poor and elderly:_____%
Paying off national debt:_____%
Airports and railroads and highways:_____%
Subsidies to big agriculture:_____%
Don't scroll down till you're finished!
Now compare what you did with what the White House projects for 2015:
Job training, mass transit, and a jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure and mass transit: 2%
Management of public lands: 1%
Pollution control and Renewable energy research: 1%
Subsidies to small farmers: 0%
EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Elementary and secondary education, and higher education, and special education for students with disabilities: 4%
Medical research: 3%
Scientific research: 1%
FRIENDLY FOREIGN RELATIONS
Economic development aid to select foreign countries, medical aid to poor nations, and development aid to poor nations, the Peace Corps, and disaster relief abroad: 3%
State Department: 1%
United Nations, peacekeeping, weapons nonproliferation: 0%
HOSTILE FOREIGN RELATIONS
Military and Homeland Security Department and military "aid" to other nations: 56%
Current wars: 4%
Veterans' benefits: 11%
Law enforcement and federal prisons: 2%
Housing for the poor and elderly: 3%
Paying off national debt: 0%
BIG AGRICULTURE AND BIG TRANSPORTATION
Airports and railroads and highways: 6%
Subsidies to big agriculture: 1%
Now imagine having taxation with representation.
David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie"