Published on January 29th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan0
How The Terrorists Won — Part 2, The Economy
January 29th, 2017 by Zachary Shahan
Part 1 of “How The Terrorists Won” dealt with the mental-emotional ways in which we have been losing to terrorists and are simply fueling more terrorism. However, there are also very practical, nuts-and-bolts ways that the terrorists have been successful at weakening the United States — it’s nothing they can do on their own, and it may not even be what they planned, but we have been enthusiastically falling into the trap.
Before I get into that topic, though, I think I should take one quick side trip to highlight a key part of the same overall equation: “Trickle-down economics” has been sucking the US economy dry for a long time. It is basically just a big con and has been revealed as such, but we are still being conned. If you cut taxes on the super rich (multi-millionaires and billionaires) — money that would have been used by the government in various ways to help the masses — the super rich are not really going to do much more (or any more) to create jobs and boost the economy. If these people have so much money that they can stash millions or billions in bank accounts, why would giving them more money lead to them doing something for the economy? By and large, they are already doing what they are going to do.
What tax cuts on the super rich do is they shift more wealth to a tiny number of people while sucking it away from the middle class and poor. These tax cuts take money away from the social safety net, from economic stimulus efforts, from programs to protect humanity from pollution and climate change, from programs to help families and the disadvantaged to survive (literally), from job-creation programs for veterans, and from our basic education and transportation systems (which just makes the US less competitive globally and makes our lives tougher).
It’s a similar situation when it comes to cutting corporate taxes and regulation. By and large, those cuts just allow corporations to hoard more money or send more cash to the super-rich investors who are climbing the Forbes richest people list.
None of that is clearly tied to foreign terrorists, but it’s a big part of the equation this article is about.
Clearly, there are Democrats who have pushed for tax cuts on the super rich, corporate tax cuts, and loose regulation of corporations, but the Republican Party is much more focused on implementing policies on behalf of the super rich, is much less concerned about protecting Americans and other humans from corporate abuse and pollution, and routinely fights — obsessively fights — the policies and programs that actually benefit the US economy. Interestingly, Republican politicians are also the ones most commonly and most deeply falling into a US economic trap fueled by terrorism.
If the US government takes in less tax money, the simple math is that we have less money to spend. The question then is where to spend the money and where to cut spending. If you cut spending on education, your kids are generally going to be worse off and less competitive in the global economy when they grow up. If you cut spending on forward-focused energy programs, the US is going to fall behind on the unprecedented global clean energy & electric vehicle transition — with more of the economic benefits going to corporations and citizens in Europe, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, etc. If you cut spending on the social safety net and health care, US citizens are going to see their health and well-being decline. And so on and so on.
Of course, a huge portion of the US budget goes to the military. The US military budget is larger than the budgets of the next 7 or 8 countries combined. Here are charts from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on precisely that topic:
Here’s a chart on the US military budget relative to other US government expenditures:
In other words, the military budget is bigger than the budgets of Science, Energy, Housing, Labor, Transportation, Food & Agriculture, and Education combined. (Meanwhile, note that on health care we vastly trail what other developed nations offer their citizens.)
Fear of terrorists and obsession with a “war on terror” — which, I’ll repeat, is one of the most counterproductive and harmful ways to approach the terrorism problem — have driven many politicians in the Republican Party to funnel even more money into the military and to drastically cut the meager budgets and agenda of the Department of Energy, Department of Education, Department of Transportation, and so on in order to throw more American dollars into war.
This shuffling of taxpayer money away from services that actually benefit the US economy and American well-being — toward more wars abroad — hurts the US greatly. It further weakens our society. It drains our current economy as well as our future economy. It makes life more difficult for countless Americans. It creates more cancers, heart disease, asthma, and other health problems for American citizens. All for what?
Shuffling more money into war isn’t just inefficient when the war is a “war on terrorism.” It’s completely ineffective. It’s a waste of money and human lives.
Again, terrorism breeds terrorism, hate breeds hate, fear breeds fear. By terrorizing more communities and blanket-hating members of a gigantic religion, we are not “fighting” terrorism, we are feeding it.
Combining tax cuts on the super rich, corporate tax cuts, and corporate deregulation with increased military spending on a counterproductive “war on terror,” the US economy is getting wrecked.
American citizens are struggling because they keep sending more and more of their money to billionaires and terrorism.
American society is degrading and perhaps even disintegrating because the focus of government has shifted from helping the people to helping the wealthiest people and wasting money on a counterproductive terror race.
Is that not precisely what the terrorists would have wanted? Is the collapse of American society and disruption of Americans’ lives not precisely what the terrorists aimed to stimulate? Are we so easily duped that we have fallen for it and are now crashing our society just as they wished?
Well, we did elect a con man to run the United States alongside his branding business.