America's Twin Towers

by Edgar J. Steele

October 22, 2004

"I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe...Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing."
   -- Daniel Webster, Works 1:403 (June 1, 1837)

"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."
   -- Ronald Reagan

Last week I mentioned the Twin Towers, not the ones taken out in New York City, but the Twin Towering Deficits:  fiscal and foreign spending.  I stated that the destruction, even death, resulting when those Twin Towers fall will far exceed what happened on 9/11.  The current Iraq war, which both Bush and Kerry have pledged to continue right on through calendar year 2005, has played no small part in both those deficits.

America's federal budget deficit (the amount of money our federal government spends in excess of its total receipts...think in terms of your ever-increasing credit card balances as an analogy) runs well over a half trillion dollars annually, with no reduction in sight.   Indeed, the rate of increase is, itself, increasing.  

An uptick in interest rates will devastate the federal budget, as tax receipts increasingly must be earmarked to interest payments for the national debt.  Defaulting on the debt is not an option, as that would destroy the dollar overnight.  The now-inevitable cutback in federal spending and entitlement programs will lead to rioting in the streets (think LA's South-Central riot writ large...real large) and a worldwide economic depression that will cause us to start numbering our depressions, just like WWII did for the "Great War" (WWI).

America's balance of trade deficit (the amount by which American imports exceed her exports) also runs over a half trillion dollars annually, with no relief in sight unless and until a massive devaluation of the dollar occurs so as to make what little America still produces relatively attractive to the world market.  Of course, that devaluation will precipitate a stock market crash of epic proportions and usher in Depression II.

So, that's more than a full trillion for each deficit in calendar years 2003 and 2004, with 2005 already looking to be even worse.  The Iraq war has accounted for about 20% of the totals for both deficits - that's just the direct costs, by the way, and does not include the indirect costs such as incurred for Homeland Defense, airport nazis or security improvements at Dick Cheney's underground bunker...er, home.

For a little perspective on the ongoing cost of our current misadventure in Iraq, take a side visit to "Crunchland," which graphically depicts the $79 billion spent until the time of Bush's silly "Mission Accomplished" aircraft carrier photo op in May 2003, plus the additional $87 billion then demanded by Bush for the upcoming fiscal year (that just has ended),  as well as the $25 billion supplement demanded in May 2004, for a total of $191 billion.  Every penny was approved by Congress.  Here is a picture from "Crunchland" showing 191 billion dollar bills stacked up:

See that little figure in the bottom center?  That's a car.  See the littler figure just to the left of the car?  That's you.  Considering that there are only about 80 million tax-paying households in America (far less if you discount for government employees, whose tax payments really are just wooden nickels), your share was $2,388.  And that's only if you are average.  Most of those reading this little piece earn more than the average.  That's how much of your money, withheld as taxes, went to wage war on a relatively defenseless country that was no threat to us, did nothing to us and in which well over a thousand young Americans have died...so far.  A war that also has claimed as many as 15,000 innocent Iraqi civilians (that's a lot of women and children - women and children just like those in your family...well, "just like" in the sense that somebody feels that way about them).

Now, that's perspective. 

"Our administration is concerned about deficits, and the way they deal with deficits is you want to control spending. And I hope Congress lives up to their words. When they talk about deficits, they can join us in making sure we don't overspend."  George W. Bush, Remarks from White House web site (Jan 6, 2003).

Remember when we used to get worked up over our President merely lying to us about his sex life?  Ah, those were the days, weren't they?  To think, I actually loathed Clinton.  I'm having trouble coming up with a single word that captures the full measure of what I feel about Dubya.

When you step into the voting booth in two weeks, please remember just how Congress and our current President have joined together "in making sure (they) don't overspend."  Congress could have stopped the spending.  Congress could have stopped the war.  It did neither.  Instead, Congress and our current President joined together in making war on us, via the laughably-named Patriot Act and the Gestapo-like Department of Homeland Security.  That took even more of our money, of course, money that has been similarly wasted.  Beginning to see how America's twin towers got built?

New America.  An idea whose time has come.

-ed

Copyright 2004, Edgar J. Steele

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