Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Fine Mess

Here’s another fine mess you've gotten us into...said Oliver Hardy to Stan Laurel.

Or to put it another way, "While you sleep with Preparation H your hemorrhoids shrink, shrink, shrink."And so did our piles of money in the treasury.

If I may offer two tiny reasons why...

The first tiny reason is that giant multinational corporations are not paying taxes. Last year G.E. added zero to the national treasury. Exxon, which reported the largest earnings in recorded history at 45 billion dollars managed to have no tax liability. They avoided taxes by creating subsidiaries in Bermuda, The Bahamas and Cayman Islands. Won’t you come home Bill Bailey, won’t you come home.

Two thirds of both domestic and foreign corporations pay no federal income tax. It's not the tax rate that needs fixing so much as the loopholes that need closing. For almost fifty years starting in the 1930s corporate income tax accounted for 18 to 40 percent of the federal budget. Last year they paid 6%.

The second tiny reason for this fine mess is the cost of maintaining the American Empire. The global reach of our empire dwarfs Al the Great, Genghis the Not Bad and those jolly-good Brits.

It's time to bring the legions back to our native shores. We currently operate over a thousand installations in 135 countries. Why? What are 50,000 troops doing in Japan and Korea and 100,000 in Europe?It takes no small change to support this standing army not to mention another nearly 300,000 uniformed men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan counting the so-called special forces and contractors (mercenaries), seemingly accountable to no one.

If we withdrew wouldn’t the bad guys take over and we'll be under siege? I say, No, not any more than we already are.

Al Qaeda is a loosely joined band of thugs. With all our soldiers, weaponry and remote-control drones they still launch attacks. If 9/11 was hatched in Afghanistan it can now operate in Pakistan or Somalia or Yemen......or Yonkers or Brooklyn. We have accomplished nothing in those regions where we are deployed after nine years.....the longest war in American history.

In fact a case could be made that every misguided missile with civilian casualties is a recruiting advertisement for more cohorts. The leaders we have installed are known to be incompetent and corrupt which only generates further animosity for our occupation.Yes, we need tight security. Yes, we need Interpol cooperation. And Yes, we need to win their hearts and minds.

After a millennium of slumber their social progress and technology shrunk along with their hemorrhoids. The male-dominated family structure is being threatened by the Western model. Let them figure out how they want to live. Enough policing of the planet. Bring our troops home. We'd be no less safe.

The pay-off for this country would be huge. A diminished Pentagon budget would pay for essential infrastructure investment, educational needs, strengthened Social Security, Medicare and retirement of our national debt.

As we turn away from our imperial design we will witness a reduction in the un-seen casualties of war. Eighteen suicides per day among veterans is a national disgrace. The number of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome cases will be immediately noted. How can we measure a gradual turning away from the brutalization in our national psyche?

Just a few tiny ideas for national suggestion box.

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