Wars sending U.S. into ruin

February 10, 2010

Eric Margolis

U.S. President Barack Obama calls the $3.8-trillion US budget he just sent to Congress a major step in restoring America’s economic health. In fact, it’s another potent fix given to a sick patient deeply addicted to the dangerous drug — debt. More empires have fallen because of reckless finances than invasion. The latest example was the Soviet Union, which spent itself into ruin by buying tanks. Washington’s deficit (the difference between spending and income from taxes) will reach a vertiginous $1.6 trillion US this year.

The huge sum will be borrowed, mostly from China and Japan, to which the U.S. already owes $1.5 trillion. Debt service will cost $250 billion. To spend $1 trillion, one would have had to start spending $1 million daily soon after Rome was founded and continue for 2,738 years until today. Obama’s total military budget is nearly $1 trillion. This includes Pentagon spending of $880 billion. Add secret black programs (about $70 billion); military aid to foreign nations like Egypt, Israel and Pakistan; 225,000 military “contractors” (mercenaries and workers); and veterans’ costs. Add $75 billion (nearly four times Canada’s total defence budget) for 16 intelligence agencies with 200,000 employees. The Afghanistan and Iraq wars ($1 trillion so far), will cost $200-250 billion more this year, including hidden and indirect expenses. Obama’s Afghan “surge” of 30,000 new troops will cost an additional $33 billion — more than Germany’s total defence budget.

No wonder U.S. defence stocks rose after Peace Laureate Obama’s “austerity” budget. Military and intelligence spending relentlessly increase as unemployment heads over 10% and the economy bleeds red ink. America has become the Sick Man of the Western Hemisphere, an economic cripple like the defunct Ottoman Empire. The Pentagon now accounts for half of total world military spending. Add America’s rich NATO allies and Japan, and the figure reaches 75%. China and Russia combined spend only a paltry 10% of what the U.S. spends on defence. There are 750 U.S. military bases in 50 nations and 255,000 service members stationed abroad, 116,000 in Europe, nearly 100,000 in Japan and South Korea.

Military spending gobbles up 19% of federal spending and at least 44% of tax revenues. During the Bush administration, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — funded by borrowing — cost each American family more than $25,000. Like Bush, Obama is paying for America’s wars through supplemental authorizations ­— putting them on the nation’s already maxed-out credit card. Future generations will be stuck with the bill. This presidential and congressional jiggery-pokery is the height of public dishonesty. America’s wars ought to be paid for through taxes, not bookkeeping fraud. If U.S. taxpayers actually had to pay for the Afghan and Iraq wars, these conflicts would end in short order. America needs a fair, honest war tax.

The U.S. clearly has reached the point of imperial overreach. Military spending and debt-servicing are cannibalizing the U.S. economy, the real basis of its world power. Besides the late U.S.S.R., the U.S. also increasingly resembles the dying British Empire in 1945, crushed by immense debts incurred to wage the Second World War, unable to continue financing or defending the imperium, yet still imbued with imperial pretensions. It is increasingly clear the president is not in control of America’s runaway military juggernaut. Sixty years ago, the great President Dwight Eisenhower, whose portrait I keep by my desk, warned Americans to beware of the military-industrial complex.

Six decades later, partisans of permanent war and world domination have joined Wall Street’s money lenders to put America into thrall. Increasing numbers of Americans are rightly outraged and fearful of runaway deficits. Most do not understand their political leaders are also spending their nation into ruin through unnecessary foreign wars and a vainglorious attempt to control much of the globe — what neocons call “full spectrum dominance.” If Obama really were serious about restoring America’s economic health, he would demand military spending be slashed, quickly end the Iraq and Afghan wars and break up the nation’s giant Frankenbanks.




    Indian Food Minister when asked to take some measure on extreme hunger and poverty in most parts of India, advised people to start eating RATS to fend off their hunger. Source: BBC

  2. Too late! US has already become the client state of Israel.

  3. Wars sending the US into ruins, is a problem of the Americans, and no business of a Greek sitting in Canada.

    What is the hidden reason that this Eric Margolis, who is not an American, sitting comfortably in Canada, trying to teach the Americans what is right and what is not ?

    The answer is, this Eric Margolis is on the payroll of the Pakistani army for a long time.

    • Neel, I had a casual view of Indians in general after spending time with my neighbours in a foregn country. I met people from all over India and I still have a soft spot for South-Indians who are humble and polite in nature. But then comes a fella named Neel123 and start gulping up hate on a Pakistani forum and start testing people. Thank God not all Induans are like you as that would reflect poorly on your country.

      Back to the article: Americas success or downfall effect the whole world and it is only natural for the world to have a say in the matter of the future of this globe when 1 country is spending 50% of the entire worlds defence budjet. It effect us all – sadly!

  4. I think this sensence “Mr/Miss XYZ is on a payroll of ABC and DFE” has become a tabo now. When we want to degrade someone cosially, such statements are passed without anyone having any proof to the effect.

    Very disappointing.

  5. i wish neel was right :)) eric on pakistani army payroll :)))

  6. Money numbers you have mentioned is just paper money. China & Japan hold Us treasury bills which the US president with a stroke of his pen render those treasury bills worthless – remember what happened to german & japanese assets in WW2. The real question is whether the US has the following to sustain its empire 1. Human resources – my answer is YES it has. There is a huge flow of brain drain from the third world to the US which more than enough make up for the shortcomings, if any, of the natives. 2. Capital Resources – such as Oil, Iron, Uranium, Copper, Water, Food etc., my answer is YES – Canada which has an abundant of these resources is literally a state of the US.
    So my opinion is that the US is no where near any collapse as it seems to look. The 21 st century and probably the next 300 years belong to the US. The sooner its rivals come to term with this, the less painful it would be for them.

    • Keep dreaming!.Hitler also thought that Nazi power would last for a thousand years!.You’re on the brink and you know it!

  7. Would love Eric to be on Pakistani payroll.

  8. @neel123

    By the way Eric Margolis is not Greek. He is of Eastern European/Jewish ancestry.

  9. who is this neel person?!!! Why does he always have to produce rot whenever he opens his mouth? As far as Mr Margolis is considered, he knows quite well that America is following the way of the Romans, that is, into an abyss of perpetual stagnation and endemic poverty and finally a civil war. What goes around comes around.So AMERICA be prepared.

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