Will The Hypocrites Please Stand Up

If there had been any doubt about rampant hypocrisy in Congress, it was erased yesterday. The House voted in a special authorization for military spending over $600 billion. The amount exceeded that requested by the Defense Department and flew in the face of previous calls for reductions in Government spending by these same representatives.

This spending, unlike any laws aimed at the social safety net, can be directly connected to votes and campaign donations in various States. The Defense Industry is good money spent, these legislators apparently think.

There are legitimate concerns, of course, about what military posture the US should maintain as we enter the 21st century. The lawlessness found in much of Africa, the nationalistic ambitions of China and Russia, and the inherent instability of the Middle East all pose potential threats to the US by disturbing established flows in international commerce.

What should the world’s policeman do?

For those who decry the role of world’s policeman, please reread the recent happenings in the Ukraine and Crimea. Or, try reviewing the Chinese bullying of Vietnam. And tell me about Iran, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, and Libya.

So those who advocate for a strong military, in addition to rewarding a wide variety of supporters (read votes), could also have serious concerns about the future.

This vote by itself may not be the best bellwether predicting hypocrisy. One must look further, say to these House members’ campaign speeches and advertisements to get the clear smell of the hypocrisy.

How can the US cut healthcare (repeal Obamacare), adopt block grants for Medicaid, replace Medicare with vouchers, and put forward across the board cuts in most other safety net programs, insist upon remaining the world’s policeman?

For those who hold this position (raise defense spending, cut social ones), one can safely view them as hypocritical.

I’m afraid, however, the ugly truth is that, like it or not, the US must remain the world’s policeman.The US, however, must get smarter at it and undertake these duties far more efficiently.

Defense Department spending is by design inefficient and costly. Major defense projects are intentional segmented as that as many States can participate. The roles of the State Department and the military are poorly coordinated resulting in a balance that favors guns far more than diplomats.

And wasteful and fully useless engagements like the invasion and occupation of Iraq or the 12 year presence in Afghanistan must be avoided in any future policemen role. Maintaining the present US military footprint, in a more cost effective manner, would be prudent in view of the instability one can see in the rest of the world.

US military might could allow economic and cultural interactions to actually keep the peace.

The other side of the US domestic conundrum is a budget deficit.  This deficit has fueled this drive to reduce the social safety net spending.   But what if we attacked health care costs?

US healthcare spending approaches $3 trillion. On a per capita basis, this is about twice as much as two dozen other modern countries, and these countries produce equal or better health care outcomes. If the US could adopt a national healthcare system like Germany’s, this cost difference alone could eliminate our $700 billion budget deficit and put another $3-500 billion in US citizen’s pockets.

With such compelling economics, why isn’t Congress racing to implement these changes? The answer, while complicated, at the end of the day would require current participants in the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and drug suppliers to reduce their revenues by $1-!.5 trillion.

That would represent a lot of campaign donations, need I say more.

Just one word… hypocrisy.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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