The Bottom Line

On Friday, August 10th, author David Swanson stated: “For less than 10 percent of U.S. military spending, we could make state college tuition free,” and that statement brought to mind a letter we circulated on March 3, 2003, offering “A Sensible Alternative”. Here’s what had occurred to us back then:

“There are more than a million young men and women now serving in our armed forces and none of them know what the future has in store for them. They, as well as all young Americans, are entitled to a peaceful and productive future, however. Consider this scenario, if you will, as an alternative to the program of war and terror that our administration has embarked upon. In place of uniformed robots (because that’s what our children are forced to be), one million newly employed young civilians, with averaged earnings of $ 50,000 per year, would require a total payroll of only $ 50 billion per year … a far cry from the cost of this upcoming war. Hundreds of business entities could be established to employ these young people and to restore economic dominance to our country. (Our decision-makers have already transferred our manufacturing capabilities to foreign countries, remember.) The cost of such economic redevelopment would be a drop in the bucket compared to the amount now being appropriated for the horrors scheduled for the world. We simply need to redirect the ‘funding’ from munitions manufacturers and the armed services into more rational endeavors.

“Is there a chance that these newly-founded and newly-funded endeavors wouldn’t show a profit? Maybe. But did anyone ever show us the ‘bottom line’ of the U.S. Army or the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Air Force? And what about the government itself? If deficit-spending brings about the kind of growth we’ve seen in our lifetime, who needs a profit? Instead of withdrawing ‘taxes’ from payroll checks, let’s put our ‘taxes’ into payroll checks. And remember, we’d be turning out goods and products that would be building society, not destroying it.

“Ten years guaranteed employment for the above-mentioned one million employees amounts to $ 500 billion dollars, a figure much lower than the initial cost of our militaristic plan of world domination. We could refer to this revised program as our peaceful plan of world domination, because the output and overall achievements of this talented and properly trained and educated group of young people would do wonders for our staggering economy, and the ripple-effect would benefit the entire world.

“On the other hand, the reverse ripple-effect of this upcoming conflagration will bring death, disease and terror upon our children and upon our children’s children. The cost for this self-imposed national disaster will prove to be incalculable, and our children and our children’s children … those who survive … will hold us responsible. You might also consider this; our young people now under arms will not be looked upon as war heroes. Instead, they will be vilified by future generations. No one wants that.” –

[Productive jobs in a 21st century shipbuilding program would give them hero status, though.]