Friday, November 5, 2010

America the Superpower

I don't talk about politics very often on this blog because I know it can be a polarizing subject and my aim is to bring people together, not to divide them.  However, given the recent midterm elections and the ever growing hostility between the two political parties I thought I should take a minute to reflect on the current political situation. 

The focus of the midterm campaigns was on the nation's financial situation, to include the economy.  This makes sense, given that so many people are unemployed (or underemployed).  People are worried about the national deficit.  They believe that our government is spending too much money and digging a financial hole that we'll never be able to get out of.  I'm not going to pretend to know the actual ramifications of an expanding deficit.  I'm assuming that at some point the taxpayers will be forced to pay for it.  I don't think anyone would argue that we should just continue spending and increasing our national debt without worrying about it.  The conflict arises over how to go about decreasing the deficit.

Now I'm no economist, but I have done a little reading on the subject.  From what I understand, there are two basic ways to decrease the national deficit: raise taxes (so the government takes in more money) or reduce spending (so the government spends less money).  Raising taxes is not popular.  No one wants to see more money coming out of their paychecks.  What about reducing spending?  Well, here's the thing.  A significant majority of government spending (and I mean a SIGNIFICANT majority) goes to pay for the following: Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, public assistance programs, and defense.  What politician wants to risk their career by proposing cuts to disabled people, uninsured children, or the military? 

So you can see the problem.  If we are to decrease the deficit in any significant way we have a choice between two unpleasant options.  Either raise taxes or cut government programs for some of our neediest citizens.  Or...reduce defense spending.

I work for the military and I support our service members 100%.  But here's something to think about.  What are our nation's priorities?  People say they want to decrease the deficit but they are not willing to give anything up in order to do it.  America is the only remaining world "superpower."  We need a big military so we can send troops all over the world to defend our way of life.  Or so goes popular sentiment.  I wonder though, can America really afford to be a superpower anymore?  I'm not saying we should cut our military down to nothing, but perhaps we could just mind our own business and let the world deal with itself.  That's not to say we shouldn't get involved in conflicts that threaten the safety of our country, but do we really need troops everywhere that we have them?  We have military bases all over the world in places where there isn't any conflict at all and hasn't been for decades.  Meanwhile, here at home, the economy goes down the tubes and we bicker about how to decrease the deficit.

It seems to me like our country has some hard choices to make.  The fact of the matter is, taxes are going to have to be raised, either now or later.  AND spending is going to have to be cut from places we don't want to cut it.  So what we really need to do as a nation is examine our priorities.  What is most important to us?  Where do we need to spend the most money?  Where can we spend less money?  It's just something to think about...


  1. Thanks for visiting

    Greetings from

    Creativity and imagination photos of José Ramón

  2. We certainly have our share of boom and bust in this country. The advent of Social Security came about with FDR in the mid 30's.

    Considering what we have been through with our financial system I think both parties have handled themselves well. We HAD to have the bailout. It has been profitable for the gov't so no complaints here...

    This will not turn around until jobs are available. Housing will not improve till the job market improves.

    Spend less and tax less. Maybe a flat tax would be the answer.

    Have a good weekend.


  3. Cutting the military budget should be a given, but of course it's almost a taboo subject. We spend so much more than any other nation on our military, and yet veterans continue to come back in tatters, to find underfunded care programs and overworked staff people who can barely address their needs. So, not only is the military budget bloated, but too much of the money goes towards pet tech projects and private force contractors out to make piles of money.

    Beyond this though, corporate America continues to find dozens of ways to avoid paying taxes into the system. From Cayman Island bank accounts to taxpayer subsidized building projects, the biggest of U.S. companies. While the vast majority of businesses in this country make small profit margins at best, and rarely get tax breaks, the top 10% or so of companies, just like the top 10% of individual earners, have a tax code that greatly benefits them (despite their bitching), as well as a ready pile of lobbyists banging down the doors in Washington to make sure they continue to pile in the big bucks. This, not to mention the revolving door of corporate leaders elected to office, or selected for cabinet positions.

    Until these things change, things will be pretty screwed for the poor and middle class.

  4. this is very interesting. :)

    you know, i totally agree with you. i think the USA actually needs to cut so much spending on its military. we (us Filipinos here in the Philippines) actually don't understand why your military go into wars with other countries. i think the threats in your country were actually repercussions of your own offensive attacks on iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, etc.

    anyway, i think your leaders may need to reevaluate your budget. imposing new taxes, i think is not going to help.


My Favorites