23 August 2010

Destructive vs Constructive Spending

I want the US Federal government to spend your hard-earned tax dollars.

Yes, I want the US government to spend your hard-earned tax dollars on essential shit you actually need, like an education or a job.

What if the US Federal government provided equal access to higher education? What would it cost and where would we get the money?

Military Spending for $1,086 billion, Alex.

Cumulative funds appropriated by the US Congress from the 9/11 attacks through the regular FY2010 for US Department of Defense, US State Department / USAID and VA for medical costs for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and enhanced security...is a staggering and indefensible $1,086 billion.

Simple Calculation

A college degree from a public 4-year college costs, on average, $28,080 for in-state tuition and fees.

Recently, about 11.5 million students, ages 18 to 24, were enrolled in either a 2- or 4-year colleges (October 2008).

11,500,000 students x $28,080 tuition = $323 billion

The price to provide students, 18-24, with a 4-year college education is about $323 billion. Useful, indisputably constructive, and roughly equivalent to the $304 billion outlay in Afghanistan since 9/11.

Destructive / Military

Constructive / Education


$748 billion*


$304 billion*


$29 billion*


$6 billion*
*since 9/11 attack on WTC

College Tuition

$323 billion

If the US were not beholden to what General Colin Powell coined the terror-industrial complex, we could provide higher education to all comers with a cool $764 billion to spare.
The only thing that can really destroy us is us. We shouldn't do it to ourselves, and we shouldn't use fear for political purposes —scaring people to death so they will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a terror-industrial complex.
~ General Colin Powell GQ Interview, October 2007
Don't take the wacky assertions of anti-government extremists, like those in the Tea Party, too seriously, but understand the basis of their anger. They are disenfranchised. They are filled with animus for a US government that's done a shit job of providing the basics, and angered by a US government that has idly let its public infrastructure crumble.

As anti-government extremists see it, government takes their money, and then air-lifts their family members to foreign lands be maimed or killed in inexplicable and indefensible elective wars.

We can do better. We must.

Government works best when it helps its people. Plain & simple.

Reference Material

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