For This 99er, Relief Means Death

by lizard

As Obama rolls out his fiscal priorities for 2012, which includes freezing the poor and an overall increase in defense spending, the despair some are facing has and will become terminal.

Recently it was reported that unemployment ticked down from 9.8% to 9.4%, which would be great if that drop wasn’t in part attributed to discouraged workers who, thanks to Reagan, no longer count. If discouraged and under-employed workers were counted, we’d see that number nearly double.

for the 7 million Americans who are 99ers, the end of their federal assistance is imminent, and the message they are getting is clear: you don’t count. That’s a lot of people on the brink of losing everything. Thank God the rich got their tax cuts, right Obama?

I ran across this “letter” (read: suicide note) at zero hedge. It supposedly comes from a now suspended site called a company of one. if authentic (which may be impossible to verify) it’s a heartbreaking account of the harsh economic realities more and more Americans are facing. The letter is below the fold.

Hello,

I’m unemployed over two years now, a 99er without any benefits for three months. I followed Unemployed Friends almost from its start, never posted until now, but am grateful for my time with you all. I did as asked with calls and e-mails, etc. I’ve a confession to make to you all. I’m a criminal.

I’ve obeyed the 10 commandments and all laws except: I’m unemployed and that’s now a crime, I’m poor and that’s a crime, I’m worthless surplus population and that’s a crime, I’m a main street American Citizen born and raised in the USA and that’s now a crime, and I’m euthanizing myself as I write this note — so arrest my corpse. This isn’t a call for help, the deed is done, it’s not what I wanted. Death is my best available option. It’s not just that my bank account is $4, that I’ve not eaten in a week, not because hunger pangs are agonizing (I’m a wimp), not because I live in physical and mental anguish, not because the landlady is banging on the door non-stop and I face eviction, not that Congress and President have sent a strong message they no longer help the unemployed. It’s because I’m a law abiding though worthless, long-term unemployed older man who is surplus population. Had I used my college education to rip people off and steal from the elderly, poor, disabled and main street Americans I would be wearing different shoes now — a petty king. Hard work, honesty, loving kindness, charity and mercy, and becoming unemployed and destitute unable to pay your bills are all considered foolishness and high crimes in America now. Whereas stealing and lying and cheating and being greedy to excess and destroying the fabric of America is rewarded and protected — even making such people petty king and petty queens among us.

Since the end of 2008, when corporate America began enjoying the resumption of growth, profits have swelled from an annualized pace of $995 billion to the current $1.66 trillion as of the end of September 2010. Over the same period, the number of non-farm jobs counted by the Labor Department has slipped from 13.4 million to 13 million — there is no recovery for the unemployed and main street. We taxpayers have handed trillions of dollars to the same bank and insurance industry that started our economic disaster with its reckless gambling. We bailed out General Motors. We distributed tax cuts to businesses that were supposed to use this lubrication to expand and hire. For our dollars, we have been rewarded with starvation, homelessness and a plague of fear — a testament to post-national capitalism.

Twelve years ago, I lost the last of my family. Ten years ago, I lost the love of my life, couldn’t even visit him in the hospital because gays have no rights. I fought through and grieved and went on as best I could. Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Diabetes and Stage 2 high blood pressure with various complications including kidney problems, mild heart failure, Diabetic Retinopathy. These conditions are debilitating and painful. I am on over eight prescribed medications, which is very difficult without insurance and income. But I struggled on and my primary caregiver was very pleased with my effort overtime with my A1C at seven. Still these physical disabilities have progressively worsened, and I have had a harder and harder time functioning in basic ways. All the while, I give thanks to God because I know there are many more worse off than me — and I tried to help by giving money to charities and smiling at people who looked down and sharing what little I had.

I am college educated and worked 35 years in management, receiving written references and praise from every boss for whom I worked. Yet, after thousands of resumes, applications, e-mails, phone calls, and drop ins, I’ve failed to get a job even at McDonalds. I’ve discovered there are three strikes against me — most 99ers will understand. Strike one — businesses are not hiring long-term unemployed — in fact many job ads now underline “the unemployed need not apply.” Strike two — I am almost 60 years old. Employers prefer hiring younger workers who demand less and are better pack mules. Strike three — for every job opening I’ve applied, there are over 300 applicants according to each business who allow a follow up call. With the U3 unemployment holding steady at 9.6percent and U6 at 17 percent for the past 18 months, the chances of me or any 99er landing a job is less than winning the Mega Million Jackpot. On top of that, even the most conservative economists admit unemployment will not start to fall before 2012 and most predict up to seven years of this crap.

I believe the Congress and President have no intention of really aiding the unemployed — due to various political reasons and their total removal from the suffering of most Americans, their cold-hearted, self-serving natures. Had they really wanted to help us, they could have used unspent stimulus monies or cut foolish costs like the failed wars or foreign aid, and farm subsidies. The unspent stimulus money alone cold have taken care of ALL unemployed persons for five years or until the unemployment rate reached 7 percent if Congress and the President really wanted to help us — and not string us all along with a meager safety net that fails every few months. In any case, if I were to survive homelessness (would be like winning the mega-millions) and with those three strikes against me, in seven more years, I’ll be near 70 with the new retirement age at 70 — now who will hire an old homeless guy out of work for nine years with just a few years until retirement?

So, here I am. Long term unemployed, older man, with chronic health problems, now totally broke, hungry, facing eviction. My landlady should really be an advocate for the unemployed — she bangs on my door demanding I take action. A phone call and a “please” are not enough for her — she is angry. She is right to be angry with me, I am unemployed — as apparently everyone is now angry with us unemployed.

Two hundred and eleven and social services cannot help single men. Food banks and other charities are unable to help any more folks — they are overwhelmed with the poor in this nation. So I have the “freedom” to be homeless and destitute and “pursue happiness” in garbage cans and then die — yay for America huh? It’s the end of November and cold. A diabetic homeless older person will experience amputations in the winter months. So I will be raiding garbage cans for food, as my body literally falls apart, a foot here, a finger there. I have experienced and even worked with pain from my diseases — hardship I can face. I just cannot muster the courage to slowly die in agony and humiliation in the gutter.

I have no family, I have no friends. For the past two years, I’ve had nobody to talk with as people who knew me react to the “unemployed” label as if it were leprosy and contagious. I am not a bad person, in fact people really like me. But everyone seems to be on a tight budget these days and living in incredible fear. It is hopeless since we all are hearing more and more that we unemployed are to blame for unemployment, that we are just lazy, that we are no good, that we are sinners, that we are druggies, yet we are the victims who suffer and are punished while the robber baron banksters and tycoons become senators, congress, presidents and petty kings. So the only option left for me is merciful self euthanasia.

It is with a heavy heart that I have set my death in motion, but what I am facing is not living. So off I go, I have made peace with God and placed my burden on Jesus and He forgives me. This nation has become evil to the core, with cold-hearted politicians and tycoons squeezing what little Main Street Americans have left. It is not the America into which I was born — the land of the free and the home of the brave with kind folks who help neighbors — it is now land of the Tycoon-haves and the rest of us have-nots who march into hopelessness and despair.

Every unemployed person I have met over these past two years have been saintly. Sharing what little they have, and being charitable — being kind and patient and supportive. Isn’t it amazing that we Americans who suffer so much, have not taken to the streets in violence, riots or gotten out the guillotines and marched on tycoons and Washington in revolt as would happen in most other nations? But rather we plead with deaf politicians to please help us. We don’t demand huge sums — just 300 bucks a week, barely enough to cover housing for most. Most of all we say, please help us get a job, please allow us dignity.

I can’t help but juxtapose our plight to the tycoons and politicians. They are never satisfied with their enormous wealth, and always want more millions no matter whom it hurts. They STEAL from pension funds, banks, the people and government, and little Wall Street investors. Then rather than face punishment, they become petty kings in this world. They are disloyal to America, unpatriotic, and serve their own foreign UN-American greedy causes and demand more and more and more. I feel that this is not the nation into which I was born. I was born in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. America, where people give as much as they receive. America, where all people work for the common good, and try to leave a better and more prosperous nation for the next generation. America, where people help their neighbors and show charity and mercy. This new America is alien to me — it is an America of greed and corruption and avarice and mean spirited selfishness and hatred of the common good — it is an America of savage beasts roaring and tearing at the weak, and bullying the humble and peacemakers and poor and those without means to defend themselves. I am not welcome here anymore. I don’t belong here anymore. It’s as if some evil beast controls government, the economy, and our lives now.

I must go now, my home is someplace else. Goodbye and God bless you all. God bless the unemployed and poor and elderly and disabled. God bless America and the American people except the tycoons and politicians — may God retain the sins of tycoons and politicians and phony preachers and send them to the Devil.

Mark


  1. Lizard,

    “A Company of One” was the website that belonged to Bud Myers, a 99er who was recently the subject of several news reports.

    Mark’s letter was published there in November: http://www.examiner.com/unemployment-in-rochester/a-tragic-thanksgiving-letter-from-one-valiant-99er-who-gives-up-hope

  2. Rob Kailey

    Lizard, I’m a crotchety old guy who, unlike most folk apparently, ain’t worried about upsetting your delicate constitution by asking you a simple question. So here it is: If Obama is the demon-clown that haunts your every nightmare, why don’t you run against him, or at least suggest someone who might? Okay, that’s two questions, but still …

    Now I’m certain that you’ll just caterwaul about me trolling your post, but hear me out anyway. Things are getting bad for some folks. I get that; I think we all do. At times it is tragically fatal. I get that; I think we all do. But, see, this is the part I don’t get. You keep bitching a fit about Obama, and pretty much accuse him of killing this guy in your post here, because of actions that were taken *after* this guy took his own life. That’s okay; let’s leave the whole quantum time distortion dynamic aside for a second.

    There appears to be something you missed in Civics class. Maybe you were out that day, or just idly staring at the cutey in row 3. Doesn’t matter. What does is this: In this country, the President doesn’t control the purse strings. Shocking, I know, but it’s true! Congress allocates money, including to job creation legislation, unemployment insurance/benefits and the military (defense) which it might actually surprise you to find many on the right, left and middle think of as a huge jobs program anyway. The President submits a budget, a wish list for fiscal Christmas as the uninformed think of it. Then it goes through Congress. That was all spelled out in that thesis submittal that we all agreed to live by, here in this place.

    But there is the fact, as you well point out, that people despair and die. There’s no arguing with that. I might point out that the President’s deal-making helped others to not despair and die, but that’s only with the caveat that the Congress passed that deal to extend the debt through harmful tax cuts. So obviously, it’s Obama’s fault that he attempted to save lives after he killed that poor man who Congress didn’t save because they have the control of the money. Wait. Does that make sense to you? No? Me either.

    So, now that we’ve established that it’s all Obama’s fault (~WTF~), I ask again full circle: Why don’t you run against Obama, or pick someone who will?

    • lizard19

      no, i’m not saying Obama pretty much killed this guy, Rob. the American citizen Obama wants to murder with extra-judicial assassination is in Yemen.

      what i did was simply juxtapose some stuff our president is proposing. cuts in heating assistance could very well lead to people dying. feeding the war machine with more and more of our tax money will lead to more killing abroad. that’s not disputable.

      it’s not all Obama’s fault; if that’s all you get from me, then it’s because your filter isn’t letting in all the other criticism i heap on our broken political system. i fully realize the role congress plays, and how dangerous the right wing is. those points are covered pretty well by others here.

      maybe you would like it if i just shut up and fell into line with all the republican bashing you are more comfortable with. that’s being done pretty adeptly, and i leave it to my betters here to continue those worthy lines of attack.

      but i have been, and will continue, to make my points about the deep sense of betrayal Obama’s administration has dealt to the (unrealistic?) hope that his election would be the catalyst to usher in the change we so desperately need.

      oh, and i’m too young to run for president.

      • “but i have been, and will continue, to make my points about the deep sense of betrayal Obama’s administration has dealt to the (unrealistic?) hope that his election would be the catalyst to usher in the change we so desperately need.”

        It was unrealistic – what did Obama say that sounded like “I am going to oppose the will of the majority of Americans in order to bring about change you think we need”?

        • lizard19

          i agree it was unrealistic. that’s why i started pointing out, early on, that his cabinet appointments spelled trouble. it was pretty clear, again, early on, that Obama wasn’t going to be capable of capitalizing on the wave of euphoria people in this country felt because he surrounded himself with a neoliberal Clinton redux dream team for the corporate rapists who bank-rolled him.

      • Rob Kailey

        no, i’m not saying Obama pretty much killed this guy, Rob.

        I realize and accept that I’m not the steward of language you yourself are, but yes, you pretty much said that exactly:

        As Obama rolls out his fiscal priorities for 2012, which includes freezing the poor and an overall increase in defense spending, the despair some are facing has and will become terminal.

        That’s a lot of people on the brink of losing everything. Thank God the rich got their tax cuts, right Obama?

        That’s a pretty simple argument to pattern.

        1) Obama’s budget desires increase despair.
        2) Despair leads to death.
        3) The tax cuts for the rich are Obama’s fault.
        4) The Tax cuts for the rich lead to despair.
        5) Therefore it is Obama’s fault that despairing people are lead to death.

        That’s your argument, plainly stated, Lizard.

        feeding the war machine with more and more of our tax money will lead to more killing abroad. that’s not disputable.

        That is disputable. The Polish Wolf has done a magnificent job of disputing it. That’s part of your problem, that you don’t listen.

        if that’s all you get from me, then it’s because your filter isn’t letting in all the other criticism i heap on our broken political system.

        No, my filter appears just fine. It’s yours I worry about.

        maybe you would like it if i just shut up and fell into line with all the republican bashing you are more comfortable with.

        Again, no. This is the part you have the hardest time with. I don’t want you to shut up. What I want is for you to be rational when attacking the people who are in control of our governance. What I want is for you to be rational concerning Obama. Quite frankly, I’ve given up arguing with the right about Obama. Most can’t be rational because they see him as the HNIC. What slays me is the Left, who all claim that disagreement is an attempt to silence their concerns. Bill O’Lielly would be proud of his progeny. Yes, bad things happen. It’s not all the fault of the President or the Democratic party, or the two party system or our lizard overlords.

        but i have been, and will continue, to make my points about the deep sense of betrayal Obama’s administration has dealt to the (unrealistic?) hope that his election would be the catalyst to usher in the change we so desperately need.

        Please do. Just quit expecting me to shut up when I find problems with your posts.

        i’m too young to run for president.

        Now that’s a good reason. ‘Have anybody else in mind?

        • lizard19

          nice pattern chart. just realize you are interpreting the juxtapositions, then putting words in my mouth.

          and yes, Obama does play a major role in perpetuating despair, largely because his actions don’t match his rhetoric; people who play the politics game may have less of a problem with that because they know that’s how the game works.

          but the people who don’t follow the game closely are sitting back wondering what the hell is happening, and seem ready to follow the loudest elements of the opposition.

          but for some reasons you think the points i make are irrational. i say something simple, like more war funding means more killing, and you’re all like, nuh-uh. ok. show me how that simply statement isn’t rational.

          as for who i think should be president, well, i’d have to give that some serious thought to provide a serious answer, but anyone i would want to see in the office would never make it past the corporate vetting process, and that’s because our political system is terminally corrupt.

          • Rob Kailey

            but for some reasons you think the points i make are irrational. i say something simple, like more war funding means more killing, and you’re all like, nuh-uh. ok. show me how that simply statement isn’t rational.

            No, and that’s probably your biggest problem. More funding for Department of Defense does not mean more funding for war. To restate, as you did, into a tautology is irrational. Prove your point, Liz.

          • “i say something simple, like more war funding means more killing, and you’re all like, nuh-uh. ok. show me how that simply statement isn’t rational.”

            The link you provided specifically separated war funding from the general defense budget, so I’ll separate them too.

            1) War funding – considering that the vast majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan are caused by the Taliban, spending money to suppress Taliban activity doesn’t necessarily lead to more deaths; quite likely the opposite.
            2) General Defense funding – we’ve been through this. The existence of a hegemon reduces the likelihood of inter-state conflict, thus saving lives. Sadly, we are restricted by our respect for state sovereignty and thus can’t save lives lost in intra-state conflict, far and away the more deadly type since the US emerged as a hegemon.

            Like I said, I would embrace the call to change our military spending to be the same percentage of GDP as any of our potential rivals, but that would involve raising it.

            • *Like I -have- said. Need to use the proper tense.

            • lizard19

              like i have said, we have totally different interpretations of American imperialism. in order to counter my interpretation, you take positions like: well, russia and china would be worse, so let’s not worry too much about a million dead iraqis or our support of corrupt drug dealing war lords in afghanistan or our counterproductive drone strikes and covert operations in over 130 countries around the world, not to mention support of dictators. yeah, let’s ramp up a defense budget that is already more than the rest of the world combined.

              and i’m the irrational one.

              • “a million dead iraqis ”

                I have never once in my entire life defended the war in Iraq. Iraq is not the issue and you know it. You just throw that out there, unsupported, sensational numbers and all, to confuse the issue. Iraq is not paid for out of the defense budget as outlined in your link, nor is it the majority of current war spending.

                Our support for “corrupt drug dealing war lords” in Afghanistan 1) only indirectly has to do with the defense budget and 2) doesn’t erase the fact that many of them were elected and the fact that they are killing far fewer of their people than the Taliban. This is not a false dilemma, lizard – either the current Afghan government controls the country, or the Taliban does. To deliberately withdraw and let the demonstrably more violent, more repressive, and more deadly group take control of Afghanistan is the height of irrationality.

                As I said, our defense spending is lower as a comparison to GDP than China or Russia, and lower than it has been since WW2. I was legitimately on your side on this one until a few weeks ago when I went looking for a reasonable benchmark and found these facts. Blaming Obama for our defense spending is thus, similarly, irrational.

              • lizard19

                okay, more defense spending equals less killing, so it should never ever be reduced ever, even if we spend more than the rest of the world combined, and even if that means a few poor people freeze in the winter because the richest country in the world can’t afford to take care of it’s own struggling population, but has no problem shoveling billions in tax cuts to the most wealthy.

              • My reply on the bottom: I’m not trying to bicker, just open your mind a little.

          • Rob Kailey

            Obama does play a major role in perpetuating despair, largely because his actions don’t match his rhetoric

            And from the letter of despair you posted, I thought the problem was money. I guess I just didn’t realize how much rhetoric was responsible for a guy who killed himself because he didn’t have any money. I’ll attempt to pay attention in the future to those who claim that rhetoric from others takes money and makes them impoverished such that they DIE!

            • lizard19

              in that comment did i specify the author of the letter? no, i was speaking generally.

              and the guy didn’t kill himself just because of money. his despair had many facets. his health, his age, his loneliness. did you read closely?

              here, let me help you:

              I believe the Congress and President have no intention of really aiding the unemployed — due to various political reasons and their total removal from the suffering of most Americans, their cold-hearted, self-serving natures. Had they really wanted to help us, they could have used unspent stimulus monies or cut foolish costs like the failed wars or foreign aid, and farm subsidies.

              gee Rob, why would this guy believe congress and the president had no intention of aiding the unemployed?

              because their actions don’t match their rhetoric.

              • Rob Kailey

                ~sigh~

                You wrote jack-f’ing-shit about Congress, Liz. You blamed Obama, backwards and forwards. I don’t really care what this suicide guy believed, save that it doesn’t match your twaddle. Your presentation of his ‘needs’ is hardly rational, from him or you.

                Simple fact. The President did aid the unemployed, after this guy supposedly croaked himself. To do so, he had to make a deal with the assholes who wanted to give the rich more money. They did so with the able help of morons like you who want Obama to be blamed for every damned thing you don’t like.

                Your actions don’t match your “rhetoric”, Liz, but then I don’t think you know what the latter term even means.

              • lizard19

                Rob, your words:

                And from the letter of despair you posted, I thought the problem was money. I guess I just didn’t realize how much rhetoric was responsible for a guy who killed himself because he didn’t have any money.

                i pointed out it was more complicated, and i used the guy’s own words to emphasize that fact.

                I don’t really care what this suicide guy believed, save that it doesn’t match your twaddle.

                wow. i think you better stop before you say even more offensive crap like that.

  3. “….72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed.”

    excerpt from NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/health/policy/21poll.html

    obama and baucus sure went against the majority on that one pw. and now they and you and everyone who wanted progressive advances are paying for it. if they had tried a little harder to get something worthwhile through concerning health care insurance, the job of defending ourselves against the rising (although i believe it is ebbing now) tide of the tea partiers would have been much easier. in fact, i believe if obama had ignored big pharma instead of dealing with them, and if he had challenged the republicans to vote it down, democrats would have been able to point to the party of no and bury them once and for all.

    but since big pharma and big HC insurance were essentially invited to take over the process by obama and baucus, americans who wanted a decent affordable choice for health insurance lost a lot of faith in the democratic party. they failed the smell test on the first big issue and after that it was over for them for a lot of us independents.

    • lizard19

      on April 1st (apparently we are the fools) my BC/BS premiums will be going up nearly 20%. for just my wife and 2 kids it will be around $550. oh, and they each have a 5,000 dollar deductible.

      health care reform is Obama’s biggest failure in leadership.

      • “health care reform is Obama’s biggest failure in leadership.”

        Fact. It is the biggest failure of the administration and the party. Although I’m not sure Obama is as much to blame as Baucus. The big problem is our Senate is set up in such a way that a sixth of the population controls half the seats, it only takes a third of the seats to stop all progress, and while most Americans want “something else”, good luck getting a majority to agree on what long enough to actually pass a bill. If Obama had threatened to veto single payer, you could pin this on him. Instead, I think the blame lies primarily with Republicans who refused to vote for anything, thus forcing Baucus to bribe recalcitrant Democrats. Oh, and I also blame the town hall meetings that convinced Democrats that universal health care was a losing position. But you’re right, there’s plenty of blame to go around and some of it lands on Obama for trying to pass something rather than insisting on something good.

        • But health care is not the only subject of this post. There’s plenty of problems this astute observer of politics noted. He’s gay. That is a huge risk factor for suicide, both for political and social reasons. One of those he notes – gay couples have no rights. Is bashing Obama going to help with that? Is ‘primarying’ our Democrats going to make the government more sympathetic to gay rights?

          Another is unemployment benefits. But wait – Obama DID extend those, and to do so he needed to cut taxes, a move you roundly opposed. Perhaps he could have also extended some aid to the 99ers except that any further compromise may have been shot down by his own party, fueled on by leftists like you.

          The biggest issue is unemployment. You’re right, unemployment is a big concern in the US, and the world, right now. But the despair behind unemployment goes beyond lack of funds. Again, Obama attempted to pass another investment project that would have put many Americans to work. Again, it was shot down. Paying people to be unemployed is a lot less efficient than paying them to do something useful, and most unemployed would agree it is preferable.

          This is a heart-wrenching story. But the very people who have been fighting to prevent stories like this are the ones you are attacking.

    • It is an oft-repeated fact that the US spends “more than the rest of the world combined” on defense. I’d like to look at that statement before moving on to the rest of the issues.
      In absolute terms….this is still not true. http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending However, it’s close enough that I could be justifiably accused of splitting hairs. The more important point is that absolute money terms are not particularly helpful, because building, fueling and staffing a jet plane, for example, is much cheaper in China than in the US.

      One way to compare the difference in prices is to compare the nominal GDP to the PPP GDP. With China, the nominal is about 5.7 trillion, while PPP GDP is about ten trillion. So, China’s military expenditures, which are about 100 billion, buy what the US military could buy if it spent 200 billion dollars. Clearly, the US military still spends more than this, but if you take into account what we actually buy with that money, it’s not nearly the overkill that the raw numbers suggest. This may not be completely accurate – some things, like oil and steel, comprise world markets and the price will be similar between the US and China. However, given that the military sources most of its products in the US (rather than in China like any other US corporation), the expense difference could also be much greater. The PPP just demonstrates the problem with using raw numbers.

      Secondly, the US spends a great deal of money to pay for its commitments to soldier safety and the safety of civilians. A great deal of out technology expenditures go into keeping casualties and collateral damage low. For this reason, despite spending over double what China does (even adjusted), our armed forces are significantly smaller. We could easily cut our spending, but it would involve more casualties, both US and civilian.

      That said, I do think the US needs to move some of the weight off its shoulders. If the military capability of South Korea, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and the Philippines were equal to that of China, Vietnam, Burma and North Korea, for example, the US wouldn’t need as large of an army because the nominally democratic nations would balance the undemocratic nations in that region. If Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Georgia were a match for Russia (and if Ukraine decided which side it was on), again the US would need less ability to extend itself. But frankly, no one but the Russians and Chinese really want to pay for a powerful military; thus the US is left picking up the tab.

      Lastly, reading your link – the DoD is getting about 4 billion more dollars, less than a one percent increase, whereas veterans affairs is getting a ten percent bump. Considering how many currently homeless freezing people are veterans, I’d say Obama giving the VA a ten percent increase compared to the one percent the DoD is getting shows that his priorities are indeed with the freezing people.

      • lizard19

        there is certainly some hair splitting going on, and i appreciate the energy you’ve put into responding, but arming nations in proportions that balance everything out still seems insane to me. during a time when global economic strife is fueling protests from wisconsin to bahrain, keeping our weaponry bristling seems callous and destructive.

        we have enough of the big boom to obliterate mankind. when is enough enough?

        • The Polish Wolf

          Maintaining a balance of power is advisable, even during an economic downturn. It only seems callous because we’ve forgotten what happens when you let that get upset.

          Now I’ll agree with you that there’s a better way. But careful diplomacy is certainly less glamorous than simply throwing money at the military. And sadly, as your link notes, putting more money into diplomacy and aid is incredibly less popular than spending money on the military, even though it is in my opinion much more cost effective if done right.

  4. Okay. I didn’t want to break up the pissing math between Rob and Lizard above so I’m putting my 2¢ about defense funding down here:

    When we give money to the military they buy bullets, and missiles, and bombs, and tanks. Sooner or later they all get used–some in the deserts of New Mexico, some in the deserts of Iraq. But they all get used.

  5. lizard19

    okay, i’ve thought about it, and i think Elizabeth Warren should run for president.

    • Rob Kailey

      How weird, we might actually agree on that.

    • JC

      Yep. I read this yesterday:

      This is the woman who once told The Huffington Post that she would rather have either a strong consumer agency or “no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.”

      She’s a fighter. Just what is needed in the WH right about now.

    • The beauty of a blog – Rob asked you a question, you considered it, and came up with a great answer. Constructive dialogue after a relationship of bickering. Problem Bear – take heart!

    • lizard19

      ah, a possible point of agreement.

      maybe Elizabeth should start her own party and call it the CFPP (consumer financial protection party).




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