Militarism and Going Bankrupt

The United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. The government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of [militarism]. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay -- or repudiate.

We are spending insane amounts of money on "defense" projects that bear no relationship to the national security of the United States. Simultaneously, we are keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segments of the American population at strikingly low levels.

Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our manufacturing base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures -- so-called "military Keynesianism." I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy.

Third, in our devotion to militarism, we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of our country. These are what economists call "opportunity costs," things not done because we spent our money on something else.

The time of reckoning is fast approaching.

[Excerpt of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, by Chalmers Johnson]

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