Tuesday, January 26, 2010

President Obama: Proposing to Rein in the Deficit Without Addressing Military Spending is Downright Reckless

President Obama has just woken up from his full time job of a celebrity movie star. It is now slowly dawning on him that he is also the President of the world's military superpower - the United States of America. Please pardon him for getting confused. After spending much of last year giving Obama family centerfolds and interviews to People magazine - a glorified tabloid, and appearances on the Colbert report, where he commanded Stephen Colbert to "shave his head", we don't blame him for getting confused.
Now we are sorry to be a little harsh here, but frankly all this cutesy business is getting to us. First it is seriously appalling that the President of the United States, has reduced himself to the role of a movie star, appearing in People magazine of all places, talking about where he took Michelle for a date, when both he and Michelle Obama should be doing more to alleviate the dire economic crisis facing millions of Americans. Bringing the Office of the President to People magazine or the Colbert Report (which we love, by the way) is just cheapening it and making a mockery of it.
The American people put him in office so that they could get real "change" and not a cute photo-op. There are millions of folks out there having to rely on food stamps, who have no jobs, whose homes are getting repossessed, veterans begging on the streets, but so far we have seen no real attempt at reining in health care costs, the out of control military budget or reckless Wall Street practices. Not even a real plan to create jobs.
What is even more aggravating is that in response to the public outcry, he has only NOW, paraded out Volcker whom he had earlier sidelined. In addition, the President is foolishly proposing a 3 year budget freeze on domestic programs such as education, nutrition and air traffic control but proposing NO CUT on military spending, which amounts to ~$1 trillion annually ($700bn outright defense spending + $300bn indirect spending allocated to military projects from other government programs). According to the New York Times:
The payoff in budget savings would be small relative to the deficit: The estimated $250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3 percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is expected to accumulate over that time.
Is adding $8.75 trillion to the current $12.3 trillion of U.S. government debt over the next ten years, deficit control? Proposing to be serious about reining in budget deficits, without addressing the 500 pound military spending gorilla, is fool-hardy, reckless and myopic. In 2008 global military expenditure stood at $1.46 trillion of which the U.S. accounted for a whopping 41.5% i.e. about $606bn (see chart below). Compare this with China's military budget of about $84bn in 2008.
Why does an already reining military superpower need to spend nearly $1 trillion in defense every year, all to stop a puny underwear bomber from attacking the nation once in 8 years? Can we not be smart about addressing the terrorist threat? Do we have to shred our currency to be SAFE? What kind of safety is that when we have completely destroyed our currency and economy?

Where is the President who once said:
"We are not here to fear the future, but to SHAPE it?"
-Barack Obama
Can we have him back please?

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