It’s no secret that Johnny Rotten was on to something at the Sex Pistols last proper gig in San Francisco 1978. It was then he so inquisitively sneered at his audience, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
These days it’s no surprise that when we flip on the news we are brought up to date on the current financial crisis or the latest on the War Against Terror. Things are tough out there, but what can we the common working citizen do to help? There’s plenty we can do, or should do, but it seems that these problems are best resolved using the debt of citizen tax dollars. Ok then… but what is being paid for, and if trillions of dollars are being committed to fund certain “serious problems”, shouldn’t we pay equal and ample attention to other serious problems as well?
Some statistics for perspective are as follows.
The War on Terror:
-the approved budget for the War Against Terror was $800 Billion
-U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq is $12 billion per month in 2008
-per Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on May 5, 2008 – the US spends $5,000 on the war per second
-it costs $390,00 to deploy one soldier to Iraq for just one year
That is a lot of money to find a man in a territory smaller than the size of Texas. It is at least interesting that I can Google map a satellite image of how many cars are in the parking lot of a Whataburger in Houston Texas on my very own iPhone! Now some more bullshit:
-Mismanaged & Wasted in Iraq – $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings
-Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq – $9 billion of US taxpayers’ money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors. Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles
-Missing – $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces. (Per CBS News on Dec 6, 2007.)
Let’s talk the current financial crisis:
-$700 Billion Bailout distributed to CitiGroup, Bank of America, AIG, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and more (small amount to us) for financial economic stabilization
-TALF is a $200 Billion fund created by the Fed that can be increased to $1 Trillion in order to create money for new loans
-All three major Auto-makers are collectively seeking an extra $18 Billion in Federal (tax-payer) funding
-AIG executive bonuses, post bailout funding, equaled $165 Million
-AIG executives spent $343,000 on an Arizona retreat, also post bailout
-CEO’s from the three major auto-makers flew private jets to their court hearing to plead for $18 Billion more in taxpayer money
Regardless of how one feels about the issuing of these funds, it is the billions of dollars of bullshit that is inexcusable. Saving jobs and the economy is great and all, what about saving lives, that’s just as important right?
When B-Rock utilized his executive authority to reverse the ban against federal funding for stem cell research, he was met with much criticism. Not so much because of the ethical issues involved, but rather it was frowned upon that he would make this research such a priority as it committed time and federal dollars during the current financial crisis.
A yearly total of $29 Billion is budgeted for the National Institute of Health who is responsible for the federal distribution of all money for federally approved disease research including AIDS, Heart Disease, Cancer, and more, just now including stem cell research.
3,000 people die each day in the US from diseases that may be treatable from stem cell research. Globally, AIDS claims 3.1 million lives a year, cancer claims 8 million deaths per year, heart disease and stroke claim 17 million. That is approximately 28.1 million deaths a year for just those three diseases. In 2007, terrorism claimed 68 lives in the US while heart disease alone claimed 459,000 lives.
The question at hand is who really benefits the most from the federal funding of citizen tax dollars? Hint – it’s not tax payers… or their health. More to come.