How many times have we heard the dire warnings about socialism and what would happen if those socialists ever took control of this country and its government? Well, I have news for all of those who may be living in fear and paranoia of that possibility; socialism is alive and well in America and has been for some time.
How can that be? Well, for now, let’s set aside Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and other social programs administered by the U.S. government. Instead, in this article we’ll concentrate on two of the most powerful entities within this government, the consortium made up of the U.S. military and the defense industry corporations who work together splendidly.
First we have the capitalist sector of America, the massive defense industry corporations who make the weapons of war that enrich their bottom lines. Then we have the U.S. military which takes this weaponry and uses it in the pursuit of its agenda of endless war. Together they form that large and successful consortium that is continuously funded by American taxpayers and administered by the U.S. government.
Yes, we constantly hear many Americans condemning socialism and how terrible a system it is and yet the gigantic U.S. military organization that stretches across this entire planet is a living example of socialism in America. And there is no question but that the vast majority of the American people are solidly behind it.
A typical definition of socialism is, “an economic concept that advocates public/government ownership and management of all resources. Well, that’s it; that’s exactly what the U.S. military is and here is why:
Those who serve in the military have government-guaranteed jobs as long as they don’t violate certain rules and regulations. There are no unemployment rolls, those who follow reasonable rules and stay out of trouble will not lose their jobs; and their jobs cannot be outsourced.
The U.S. military is fully funded by American taxpayers and administered by the government.
Its members and families are provided with free base housing and those living off base are given allowances to help cover their housing costs. They receive free health care, including eye care and dental benefits.
Most members are provided with an education by attending various military schools where they receive sophisticated electronic training and acquire other high-level skills that they can use when and if they decide to go back to civilian life.
All members can receive a pension if they remain in the military for the time required.
Members can take part in the Food Stamp program and they can use the money in base commissaries where prices are considerably lower than those in civilian stores. Those who qualify can receive up to $500 per month under the FSSA, the Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance Program. In recent years, military members have received over $100 million annually from that program and that cost continues to increase.
Now let’s shift our attention to the capitalism element of this close, tight-knit relationship. Actually this specific sector of American capitalism, the defense industry, has a socialist element built into it because these corporations depend greatly upon a steady stream of military contracts from the government. We might accurately describe it as a quasi-capitalist/socialist industry; these corporations are, in effect, receiving a form of government welfare. In fact, if it were not for the government most of them would not exist or would be in a different business.
While capitalism and socialism, in theory, are like the difference between night and day this military/corporate alliance dispels that concept in that these two entities totally complement each other; they pursue intertwined objectives and work in unison to maintain the vast U.S. military empire.
Here are some concrete examples of how this capitalistic/socialist consortium operates and how it has advanced its agenda of endless war at the expense of the America taxpayer; also how it has wasted hundreds of billions and trillions of taxpayer dollars, a great portion of which is badly needed for America’s domestic needs.
We hear politicians constantly talking about waste in government, but they can’t seem to grasp the fact that the biggest area of ongoing waste is to be found in military spending. So let’s talk about our national debt and how military spending contributes so greatly to its constant growth. The U.S. national debt was $5.7 trillion in 2000; then after the Bush War on Iraq and the Afghan War, which together cost over $3 trillion, plus the many instances of other wasteful military spending, this debt now has reached $18.5 trillion, an increase of $12.8 trillion or, if you can believe it, 325% in less than two decades.
And here are more examples of wasteful military spending:
The massive Baghdad embassy that cost $750 million; why in creation did those in Washington think they needed to construct the world’s largest embassy in such a small country?
The vast military empire of 700 bases with some form of military personnel in 150 countries. Why do we need 179 U.S. military bases in Germany, 109 in Japan, 85 in S. Korea, 58 in Italy, 37 in Puerto Rico and bases in 74 other countries? 1900 in Djibouti, 950 in Chad, 900 in Gabon, 2000 in Mali, 80 in Burkina Faso and troops in Senegal, Niger, Kosovo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Guinea, Honduras, Peru and in numerous other countries? And that’s only a part of the entire network of bases and installations.
The F35 fighter jet program which was initiated in 2001 and which has cost $396 billion to date will, if continued to conclusion, end up costing over $1 trillion. And the worst part of it is that the development of this fighter jet has been plagued by a myriad of problems involving software/ navigation, weapons delivery accuracy, flight control problems, reliability issues with their avionics processors, landing gear, thermal management systems, ejection seat assemblies, cockpit display electronics unit, seat survival kits, igniter-spark in the turbine engines, and on-board oxygen generating systems.
While this country’s national infrastructure worsens every day and would need at least $1 trillion to bring it up to acceptable levels Congress has put this important need on a back burner because, for years, those funds have been earmarked for use in other countries where our military has been in action. $109 billion was spent in Afghanistan on its infrastructure and, additionally, $60 billion was squandered in reconstruction in Iraq.
Several hundred billion have been spent on the construction of over 500 military bases in both Iraq and Afghanistan, almost all of which are now either in the hands of those governments or under the control of terrorist factions. Military equipment that cost billions was left in Iraq when U.S. troops pulled out and ISIS gladly accepted this gift from the U.S. government which they proceeded to use to good advantage in Iraq and Syria.
In what has been called biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve took place in 2004 when nearly $12 billion in $100 bills was flown into Iraq in huge cargo planes and, then, it just seemed to disappear. It supposedly was intended to be distributed among Iraqi ministers and U.S. contractors but after numerous investigations it was never determined who the actual end recipients were.
While all these boondoggle type projects represent a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars they have consistently been a great boon to the defense industry and to various civilian and military contractors. Their return on investment has been fabulous while the ROI of the American people is ZERO! Kind of like a Ponzi scheme, the definition of which is “a scam investment designed to separate investors (in this case, the American people) from their money.”
We badly need to unravel our twisted priorities. It is imperative that America be strong and stable domestically if we wish to continue to maintain a powerful, effective military. To do so we must have a strong domestic foundation; a strong society, economy, infrastructure, system of education, adequately funded research and development, and health care to list just a few. That’s not been happening as we pour massive amounts into the military and have little left for our important domestic needs.
Now why exactly should there exist this fear of socialism? One of this country’s most effective forms of socialism, the U.S. military, provides safety and security for its people by guarding them from attacks by foreign enemies. Then when Americans retire they receive Social Security and, if they so choose, they can join Medicare. So we can conclude that America’s form of socialism is alive and well and dwells among us.