My Turn: Send your dollars today

Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2003

It boggles my mind how middle-class voters continue to support government policies of welfare to the well-off. I am not sure what they are thinking. Do they think someday they will be rich, too, and want to ensure their own benefits? Or do they feel genuinely sorry for those with the burden of being millionaires? The reasoning truly escapes me.

Today's news was that the U.S. continues to shovel billions of dollars of armaments to countries all over the world, especially poor countries. We are far and away the biggest arms seller in the world and we have been for decades. And pop quiz - who gets the money? Why, American corporations of course. And it's such a wonderfully sustainable industry. We arm the world. They use the arms to kill each other (and us). We invade to "stop the violence" and then rebuild them. This all takes buckets more of money and, surprise, who supplies the military? The same good people who sold the arms to the rest of the world in the first place (the poor deprived folks at Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, Raytheon, General Dynamics, United Technologies, etc.). Such a deal!

And since this is so tough on the arms suppliers, your tax dollars ($8 billion or so) go to help those corporations market their wares. And did you ever hear of the "Defense Export Loan Guarantee" (DELG) program? Check it out!

Once we have completed our techno-stomping of the "enemy" we can spend gobs-o-cash more on rebuilding. (Mr. Bremer just asked for $87 billion). And who gets that $87 billion? Why the U.S. corporations that rebuild Iraq. And who are they? Why Mr. Cheney's buds Halliburton and Bechtel. And who pays? Here's the great part: I don't. My children do! Every dollar of that $87 billion is a deficit dollar. That means we charge it on the great government mega-visa card that shifts the cost down to the next gen. Yes, my children, I authorize the bonds, the corporations get the dough and you eventually pay.

Oh, and just to make sure our corporate friends don't have to pay too much of their hard-earned money, let's cut taxes on capital gains and dividends and then eliminate the inheritance tax. After all, maintaining a corporate leader lifestyle takes a lot of dough. And we certainly don't want to deprive their children of their own "Head Start" program.

And so the gap between the high rollers and the minimum wagers widens each year. Pay for CEOs rises by more gazillions.

Oh and by the way, the Glory Hole needs to cut hours because of low donations.

What a country!

• Jonathan Anderson is associate professor of public administration at the University of Alaska Southeast.

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