Some Cuts in the US Budget I'd Like to See
Thanks to the political intransigence and immaturity of Republicans and Democrats (though let's be honest: mostly Tea Party-inspired Republicans), the economy of the world's greatest democracy is likely set on one of two probable courses: sudden implosion or slow rot.
Collapse can come very suddenly to a civilization. In this case, a chance of a few percentage points in interest rates could herald dramatic changes in world politics.
Long story short: the USA has to slash spending (and raise new revenues, but that's another story) to help balance the books so they can pay their disappointed Chinese creditors. Here are a few of our ideas, including cutting the transfer of American wealth abroad by ending support for regimes that are working against US interests (ought to be a no-brainer, right?) and more serious cuts to ineffective airport security and defense departments:
- $2 billion in military per year to Pakistan. The day after Osama bin Laden got two bullets to the face in Abottabad, the USA should have ended aid and all diplomatic ties with this failed state.
- $600 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. The PA uses these funds to help pay the salaries of convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons. Another undisclosed portion surely ends up in the Swiss bank accounts of the corrupt leaders of Fatah. And since the PA also pays bills in Gaza, it is effectively susbidizing the administration of Hamas, an internationally-recognized terrorist organization. Stop it now.
- $2 billion in military aid to Egypt. It is pretty clear that long term (and perhaps even in the short term), the interim military dictatorship that the stillborn revolution has created will give way to a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government. There is a fairly high risk that American military equipment could be used to attempt to destroy the USA's one stalwart democratic ally in the region. One only needs to look at Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon to see what can happen when America's Middle East strategy fails.
- Cut funding for the TSA. Obviously, security is essential for American airports. But the TSA's budget does not reflect value for dollars spent, particularly when security screeners pat down elderly nuns and toddlers. By transforming the TSA with behavior-based profiling procedures, the TSA might be able to provide lower costs and actual security without imposing such an indirect tax on national productivity.
- Chop the next-generation joint strike fighter aircraft programs (though feel free to actually increase spending on drones). Scrap an aircraft carrier or two. Cut the nuclear arsenal of over 5,000 nuclear weapons down to 1,000 -- still enough nuclear capability to usher in a global apocalypse or potentially defend Earth against a force of invading extraterrestrials armed with ray guns.
The sad part is that even these cuts wouldn't be enough to put the USA's accounts into the black. But it would be a start.
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist