Food vs. Fighter Jets
By April Mays on 05/11/2012 @ 01:00 PM
I was sitting on the metro listening to a little boy of 10 or 11 years old talk about how he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up. It struck me that the U.S. has been at war the entire time this little boy has been alive and if he has lived in the DC area all of his life I am sure he has seen plenty of military propaganda.
I do not presume to know anything of this child's life but the unfortunate fact is that funding for his education, any welfare his family receives through cash assistance, food assistance, or Medicaid are all in jeopardy of being cut to fund a grotesquely over-funded military. Just yesterday the House approved a bill that cuts $310 billion-mostly from poverty assistance programs-to pay for automatic spending cuts to the Pentagon that are scheduled to occur next year.
Aside from that, if this little boy grows up and joins the Air Force as he says he wants to he could potentially pay the most tragic price with his life or health by simply flying a faulty air craft. The F-22 is the most expensive fighter jet ever produced, yet the jet still suffers basic design problems that endanger pilots. Lockheed Martin, the principle producer of the F-22 Raptor has done rather well for itself with profits of $3.8 billion in 2010. Not too shabby for a company making a faulty device. Aside from general waste, this is another example of how our money is not being spent wisely for the Americans at home or those in the military.
But what about the jobs that Lockheed Martin and the military provide? This is the argument repeated time and time again in relation to military cuts. However, I would like to point out that spending on other government programs such as education, food stamps, infrastructure, and more both create jobs and give direct benefits to a struggling economy at the same time.
I do not need to tell you that the military-industrial complex is running rampant in the U.S. and seems to be growing in power and influence by the day. The sheer size of our military compared to the next biggest military alone shows the beast for what it is.
However, if deficit reduction and getting the economy moving is really the goal of this Congress, shouldn't they be looking in the most obvious spot for savings? What about the future of the little boy I saw on the metro? Will he have an education that allows him to get the job he needs to support himself? Will he get the adequate nutrition and healthcare needed for proper development? This, my friends is the trillion dollar question. What are our values as a nation? What we choose-to pay for fancy fighter jets or meals for hungry children-says something important about our values as a country.