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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
The United States was once a nation of unprecedented prosperity. Given our abundance of natural resources, excess of land (courtesy of the brutally ravaged native Americans) and the inexhaustible work ethic of a motley crew of immigrants, we sailed to the pinnacle of human progress and created a standard of living unmatched in any country in history. Though clearly imperfect in many ways, for generations the sheer girth of the American middle class exemplified the reality of the American dream as being accessible to virtually anyone.
But those days are long behind us, squandered by the insatiable greed of war-mongers and corporate villains. Our nation has from its very inception had an unquenchable thirst for blood. Wars have simply always been a part of who we are – which perhaps explains why people are so willing to accept the absurdity of our current economic quagmire.
Today millions of Americans stand on the metaphorical breadline, while hundreds of thousands more are literally tossed out of their homes and onto the streets. Official unemployment figures hover at the 10% mark, but the reality is much starker. And in the midst of such devastation, unseen since the days of the Great Depression, the corporate-controlled media has masterfully turned the public debate away from the most urgent issues of the day, and instead convinced the frenzied masses that government spending is the enemy.
In some respects, this is undeniably true. But the public remains largely ignorant about the ways in which their bitterly sacrificed tax dollars are spend, and rather than demanding true accountability from their government, they focus on the trivial issues that they have been conditioned to obsess over by the corporate media.
So while the population demands, rightly, that the U.S. government curb its skyrocketing debt, it fails to observe the most obvious examples of wasteful spending within the federal budget. People cry out, much to their own detriment, that services for the poor and unemployed be slashed. Infrastructure, education, health care and, to a large degree, retirement benefits are all deemed unnecessary luxuries that are beyond the authority of government to bestow. Somehow, it is perceived that the wealthiest nation on earth simply cannot afford what were once considered basic elements of society.
Meanwhile, the true orgy of government spending – which constitutes a massive, perpetual giveaway to specific, largely inessential industries – continues unabated. Consider the following breakdown of the U.S. federal budget, and draw your own conclusions:
A staggering 58% of the federal budget is devoted to “defense.” Granted, we are currently engaged in at least three wars – perhaps more, depending on your definition of “war.” Yet those wars, all of them, are wars of aggression. The doublespeaking propagandistic corporate puppets in the mainstream media may prefer the term “pre-emptive,” but the cold hard facts inarguably demonstrate that we invaded these nations wholly unprovoked – or at least, if any provocation existed, it was partially of our own making.
Politicians love to talk about the need for a “strong defense,” and the fabricated “war on terror” has been extremely useful in propagating this fictional agenda. But where does defense end and aggression begin? We spend more on our military than the next 26 nations combined. We have troops stationed in at least 150 countries around the world. When will Americans wake up to the grim reality that we are an imperial power, a modern empire?
It is hard to find accurate figures regarding U.S. military spending, but the most conservative estimates approach $700 billion per year. Again, that’s a conservative estimate of $700,000,000,000 per year. More accurate figures, once all related expenses – however creatively accounted for – are included easily top the $1 trillion mark. So while the nation literally starves, untold sums of money are squandered on what essentially amounts to government subsidies for wholly unnecessary industries. It is, in short, anything but a free market. U.S. defense spending represents nothing more than an unfathomable transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, and it takes place on a grander scale with every year that passes. And the trend has continued since at least the Reagan administration, as one corporatist president after another has entered the oval office and carried out the same fuck-the-poor-enrich-the-rich agenda.
If the American people only knew, they might do something about it. They might actually care. But then again, they might just pick up the remote and see what else is on.