The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) just release the results of a poll on the budgetary priorities of the average American citizen. Just to show you how profoundly out of touch the leadership on both sides of the aisle in Washington is, let me ask this question: when was the last time you heard a spokesperson or even a leading light of either party suggest cutting the “defense” budget by anything approaching 31% (the overall average amount)?(*1*)
Who would think from the natterings of our pundit class that 65% of the American public (Democrats and Republicans alike) would favor cutting the “defense” budget and redirecting a significant proportion of the resulting savings into social services and deficit reduction efforts?!?
I found out about this via an article on Truthout (my mother sent it to me this afternoon).
Here’s the article’s sub-header: “Would reduce deficit, cut defense sharply, and increase spending on education, job training, renewable energy, veterans.”
Sounds like a program I could get behind!!!
This is all the more astounding, considering the ongoing effort by The Mighty Wurlitzer to confound and confuse the American public. It appears all they’ve managed to do is confuse and confound our political ruling class and the media elite that cover them… but, on the other hand, I guess that’s all they need to do, right? At least until those of us at the bottom of the political food chain start voting people out of office on a regular basis.
If there is a single politician in Washington who has suggested reallocating our budgetary priorities in the manner outlined in this article (or anything even reasonably close), I’d like to know… because I certainly haven’t seen anything to that effect. My guess is there isn’t. Even among the “progressives”.
*1* The Green Party’s platform in both 2000 and 2004 called for cutting the “defense” budget by 50%; here’s the relevant language from the 2004 platform: “Our defense budget has increased out of all proportion to any military threat to the United States, and to our domestic social, economic and environmental needs. The United States government must reduce our defense budget to half of its current size. The 2005 defense budget is estimated at around $425 billion, and that does not take into account military expenditures not placed under the defense budget.”
Take a look at the Green Party’s platform, and see what you think… even though I don’t agree with all of it(*2*), I think there’s a ton of stuff in there to like and that is far more in alignment with the values of the average American (exclusive of a few hot button issues) than not.
*2* I think the “steady-state economy” stuff is based on the faulty assumption that economic growth is dependent on the ever increasing consumption of natural resources, as a technologist, whose career has been built on automating systems to enable more to be done with less, I think I have plenty of evidence to argue otherwise.