Town Square

Income Restribution in Didguise

Original post made by The Cohen brother on Apr 16, 2007

Critics of the recent U.S. wars of choice have long argued that they are all about oil. "No Blood for Oil" has been a rallying cry for most of the opponents of the war.

It can be demonstrated, however, that there is another (less obvious but perhaps more critical) factor behind the recent rise of U.S. military aggressions abroad: war profiteering by the Pentagon contractors. Frequently invoking dubious "threats to our national security and/or interests," these beneficiaries of war dividends, the military­industrial complex and related businesses whose interests are vested in the Pentagon's appropriation of public money, have successfully used war and military spending to justify their lion's share of tax dollars and to disguise their strategy of redistributing national income in their favor.

This cynical strategy of disguised redistribution of national resources from the bottom to the top is carried out by a combination of (a) drastic hikes in the Pentagon budget, and (b) equally drastic tax cuts for the wealthy. As this combination creates large budget deficits, it then forces cuts in non-military public spending as a way to fill the gaps that are thus created. As a result, the rich are growing considerably richer at the expense of middle­ and low­income classes.

Despite its critical importance, most opponents of war seem to have given short shrift to the crucial role of the Pentagon budget and its contractors as major sources of war and militarism-a phenomenon that the late President Eisenhower warned against nearly half a century ago. Perhaps a major reason for this oversight is that critics of war and militarism tend to view the U.S. military force as primarily a means for imperialist gains-oil or otherwise.

The fact is, however, that as the U.S. military establishment has grown in size, it has also evolved in quality and character: it is no longer simply a means but, perhaps more importantly, an end in itself-an imperial force in its own right. Accordingly, the rising militarization of U.S. foreign policy in recent years is driven not so much by some general/abstract national interests as it is by the powerful special interests that are vested in the military capital, that is, war industries and war­related businesses.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2007 at 11:28 am

We have been here before. It is a lie that the profits from war production are higher than from peacetime production, readily demonstrated by the figures available on the stock markets.
Just as the folk who decry the miserable US economy are belied by the direction of people flow, the fiction that wars are profitable are belied by the movement of investment funds.
When I went into war in 1950, my equipment probably cost a hundred bucks. The line soldier today carries thousands of dollars of equipment and has call on millions of dollars. That stuff costs a lot because it takes a lot to make. It is axiomatic, however, that however expensive war may be it is always cheaper than surrender.

Posted by Gary, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2007 at 11:37 am

What is "Income Restribution in Didguise"?

If I can slash through the thicket, I think you are saying "blood for profit", while downplaying "blood for oil". If so, it is a simplistic refrain that fials to take in so many more substantive issues.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 16, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Wallis-since Iraq never declared war on the US and never tried to invade its territory, what 'surrender' are you talking about? It sounds much more like batlling wind mills.

Gary, the military-inbdustrial complex has become the beast that needs to be fed in perpetuity. The only way to feed it in the manner it has become accustomed to, is to create more and more imperial wars of choice, just like the invasion of Iraq. Iraq was invaded for a myriad of reasons:the neo-cons imperial fantasies, Bush's messianic hallucinations, oil and basic Texas machismo, but one of the main reasons this war is endless, US troops are sacrified daily and more wars are in the pipeline is to feed the beast.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Couple of points, Al -
We are not at war with Iraq. We won that war several years ago when we defeated Saddam for, among other things trying real hard to shoot down our airplanes.

Quote from the DJIA evidence that arms is a profitable investment.

We are at war with that cabal of Islamic terrorists who are doing what they can to impose Sharia on all of us. What surrender means is your daughter in a walking body bag with fewer rights than women hed 600 years ago, and victory for those who have sworn to kill you.
See, all you had to do was ask.


Posted by eric, a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 16, 2007 at 3:32 pm

Man, Walt, you're even funnier over on this board

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 16, 2007 at 6:28 pm

I see Walli:, the most powerful nation in the history of the world, the only superpower, a mighty nnuclear power with the largest and strongest economy in the world is anxiously awaiting an Islamic invasion. 300 million Americans are fearfully looking around-will the Jihadist invaders swoop down from Canada, or will they attack from Mexico. It's so easy to imagine them breaking in doors in Kansas City, shouting:put on that burkah you infidels, or off with your head.The barbarians are at the gates. Like someone once said:being paranoid doesn't mean you are not being followed.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Albert, tell Spain, France and England there is no threat. Tell me where to drop the nuke to stop terror. Everything is simple to those with that characteristic.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 16, 2007 at 7:45 pm

Yes Wallis, Spain and the UK are on the verge of collapse, it's a matter of weeks before the Queen has to wear a burkah and in Andalucia the jihadists have already sacked all the churches. The combined mighty militaries of Dubai and south Yeman are converging on the West. It's a matter of time before Europe becomes the new Islamic empire.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2007 at 9:09 pm

The British schools are afraid to teach the holocaust for fear of upsetting Islamics, France is full of no-go areas and Paris alons has 30,000 burned cars. and Spain has been told Islam will take them back. And there are places in LA that are esentially no-go. Do we nuke the bario? Does France burn down the house to get rid of the mice? Are you denying this? Not with a bang but with a whimper, I suppose.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2007 at 9:44 pm

while i want to call walter an islamophobe, he does make some points. One thing to throw into the fray is the fact that the population of the folks in the middle east, north africa, is increasing, while the same can not be said for the Europeans. We would not have had an increase in population without the influx of immigrants from down south. In both cases, the population changes has got to have some effects, esp. when there are persisting/historical ethnic conflicts. The Palestinians, for example, are reproducing much faster than the Israeli people, and it might make people nervous when they become outnumbered in their own countries. Dropping nuclear bombs is foolish, and idiotic, nevertheless, and trying to resolve this issue with force is simply the result of a lack of imagination. Perhaps the Islamic people would not behave the way they do if they were treated with a little respect. Just a crazy idea.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2007 at 8:07 am

I will not respect the subordination of women or the advocacy of suicide bombing. I will not respect the jihad agaist Israel. I will not respect the refusal to respect other religions. I will not respect anyone who openly advocates my death. I will not respect a people who still practice slavery. Outside of those exceptions I don't hate Islam.

Posted by Albert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2007 at 1:57 pm

As an atheist, i reject and suspect every single religion. However, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people, just like every other average person. Some fundamental Christians murder doctors who perform abortions and blow up family planning clinics, an act of terrorism, but will not be condemned by some of the clergy who support Bush. Does this mean that every Christian clergy and fundamental Christian who support Bush is a terrorist? Of course not. Some of Bush's core voters are racist, does this mean that all Bush supporters are racist? Of course not. To blame 1.3 billion people for the actions of a miniscule minority is absurd. And the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not want to force their belief on others. Since France was mentioned, the riots of 2005 had nothing to do with religion, they were about discrimination, lack of job opportunities and other social issues. After 3 weeks of riots, many cars were burnet, but not even 1 person died.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2007 at 3:42 pm

thankyou albert for setting the record straight.
I do think there is some islamophobia/xenophobia going on here.

The line between good and evil runs through the center of the human heart.
A. Solzhenitsn

Lets not dehumanize others. That's how wars get started. The first step. To simply focus on what violent measures that one group does, while not mentioning the violent measures of another is partial, biased, and perpetuates violence. Half truths get us know where. Don't you grow tired of chasing your tail?

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2007 at 7:15 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] [Y]ou are willing to accept those characteristics of Islam I noted avove just to buy peace in our time?

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2007 at 8:13 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
There are socio-economic-historical reasons why things are the way they are. You can perpetuate the violence you speak of by having a lack of creative solutions and imagination, and by name calling, and dehumanizing others. They have blood and hearts too. Shall we build a wall between everyone, or try to come up with solutions. Terrorists resort to terrorism for reasons, not because it is their nature to do so. It is the voice of the silenced, the marginalized, and the oprressed, who often feel that they have no other alternative. I am willing to work toward a peaceful solution, instead of dropping bombs and name calling and so on. All the negative things you say about these people could easily be said for us. Were no angels either, in case you forgot. We are rightly considered to be a christian fundamentalist nation, that has some strange behavior as well. Nobody is perfect. But all you can seem to think of is violence, and using force to get your way. That much is clear. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Yes, I do believe peace is possible, if the people are willing to honetstly negotiate and treat eachother with respect, as humans, like man to man, heart to beating heart.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2007 at 9:07 pm

The solution really is to build a wall. The civilized world needs to establish minimum standards of behavior and deny entry into our world to any people who will not accept those standards. No one dedicated to slavery, supression of women, killing off of othetr tribes, in other words play nice or stay home.

Posted by anon., a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 18, 2007 at 9:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]