Sunday, August 26, 2007

Misplaced priorities bigtime

At a restaurant last night, a couple of friends and I were discussing something out of the usual for, if not poets, this blog -- the astronomical costs of the Iraq war. We hear these almost unimaginable numbers -- right now, 455 billion dollars and counting, just for the US -- but what do they mean in relation to the entire budget of the US gov.? So rarely in mainstream media do we see a pie chart clearly showing the spending proportions and therefore the real priorities of the Unitedstatesian government. If we saw that the military cost, say, five or more times as much health or social welfare or education, we could obviously conclude that the United States was indeed a war-mongering nation. Well, after a quick Google I found this quite reputable-looking site called The National Priorities Project, which does include several pages of cost breakdowns. And here is the closest thing to that pie chart we were talking about. So ... war mongering? You bet.

P.S.: That pie chart, tho, only represents federal spending. What I would like to see is a chart depicting the spending priorities all levels of government put together. That would be a truer measure of the American (ahem, Unitedstatesian) nation's priorities. Federal spending though shows things to be pretty badly skewed, nevertheless. Besides the obvious numbers -- 56% (and probably more) for military spending vs. 8% for education, employment and social services combined, 6% for health care and only 3% for natural resources and the environment -- what can one make of that whopping 4% for veteran's services and security? It suggests that the best -- maybe the only -- way to guarantee yourself decent social security in the States is to hire yourself out as a soldier in one of the President's wars and get yourself shot -- but not killed. Good job if you can do it. Good luck if you try.

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