Friday, March 3, 2006

Wars on Poverty and Wars for Security

I know I risk a good lashing from Eleutheros for posting this, but I'll take that chance.

In a discussion over at Casting Pearls before Swine, it was stated:

Since the 60s, "the U.S Government has spent over 6 Trillion Dollars fighting Poverty, and Poverty still has not been eliminated."

To which I responded:

"Then Brookings in 1995 calculated that since the end of the Second World War in 1995 dollar terms the United States had spent $21 trillion on its military..." (not taking in to account the about 3-6 trillion spent since 1995).

All that spent and yet war hasn't been eliminated nor our homeland made secure. I'll agree to reconsider how we're fighting poverty if you'll agree to reconsider how we're fighting war.

So, how about it? Shall we reconsider our approaches?


Eleutheros said...

Not a lashing, Dan, just an economics lesson.

I never said I had been a good teacher.

Our 'war on poverty' and 'war on terror' so share one thing very much in common, they are financed by our world plunder. Had we not made ourselves the keeper of the world's purse strings (as I pointed out on my blog), we could never have financed the Great Society.

In the past people avoided war because it hit so deeply in the purse. This was true of us up through the Second World War. When we fought the war, there were far, far less consumer goods, including food, fuel, medicine, everything. After WWII we began financing our wars using, as it were Other People's Money. Those old enough to remember the Korean War and those of us old enough to well (too well) remember the Viet Nam war can testify that on the home front it was business as usual. In fact, President Johnson made a pretty speech assuring the people that we could afford both "butter and guns." And we could! We didn't come by the money honestly, so why not.

If you think that the point was to cease all hostilities against us, you have made a bright mistake. It isn't to end the hostilities, but rather to ensure that they continue. That's how we squeeze the world economy and fund our ill devised wars, be they on terrorists, drugs, or poverty.

Jason H. Bowden said...

Guys, we won the Cold War. We didn't win the war on poverty; the confident predictions never materialized.

Erudite Redneck said...

The reason conservatives can't stand to see money spent to alleviate poverty is because it's impossibpe to end poverty, so they think it's money wasted. But it's not.

If "the poor we will have with us always," it's especially ironic to hear conservatives, especially those who so proudly wear the mantle of "Christianity" be so callous about using their votes in a way that would cause more of the resources of this country to be used to "love your neighbor as yourself."

Dan Trabue said...

Hey all, thanks for the comments. Jason, welcome to Payne Hollow.

And Jason - on the Cold War, I've said this before and I'll repeat it again: If two fellas are playing Russian Roulette and only one shoots himself, it doesn't really make the other a winner.

Eleutheros said...

ER:"callous about using their votes in a way that would cause more of the resources of this country to be used"

I've pointed out elsewhere that the two economic models used by liberals and conservatives are equally as false. The conservatives think they create wealth that tinkles down on the poor. The liberals think the 'resources of this country' are a fixed entitiy like a big pie and it's only a matter of how we slice it up.

Both are equally as false.

But as to the 'resources of this country', what if, ER, I were to be able to demonstrate to your satisfaction that there are indeed NO resources of this country any more (or at least very, very little) and all the resources liberals would propose to regale on the poor are from plundering far poorer people from around the world? What would you do concerning those resources then?

Erudite Redneck said...

I guess I'd say if someone needed to be fed, housed or clothed, and I had money for food in my pocket, I'd give it to them.

And all that implies for our system of government and my role as a voter therein. We have "money" in our pocket, although it might be credit. If you're saying it might be stolen, well, the fact remains that the "money" is in a pocket that my vote affects.

Jason H. Bowden said...

redneck, Dan, et--

The War on Poverty did not have the rosy results confidently predicted on the left.

The Cold War required massive spending to keep Communists out of Western Europe, Latin America, Africa, southeast Asia and so forth. It wasn't a game of who could suicide themselves first.

I don't wear the mantle of Christianity. Unlike Jesus, who loved his enemies, I believe in making our enemies extra-crispy.

Erudite Redneck said...

Yer right about the War on Poverty, JHB.

This country shouldn't fight poverty because of some fantasy that we can eliminate poverty. We should fight poverty because it's the right thing to do.

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks all. And thank you ER for making some comments with which I can agree.

Jason, I think (for what it's worth) that Jesus' teaching to love our enemy is not some milquetoast suggestion 'cuz it would be nice if we were all nice. I think it's a practical suggestion.

There's problems, it seems to me, if our best answer to enemies is to turn them into toast. For one, it means that they're correct to try to do so to us as well.

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, as many wise folk have said.