Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
Larry King interviewed famous entertainers and politicians. He advised, “Question more.” From my perspective, here are some questions and a few answers that could merit more attention by mainstream media.
COVID-19: There is controversy about prevention, treatment, and origins of those damnable microbes. Aside from hygiene and physical protection, what drug and non-drug treatments have successful countries used to mitigate deaths? Why are most U.S. citizens unable to get a test that yields results within minutes? How are the COVID-19 trial vaccines’ safety tested, and why are they exempt from liability?
Employment: How can living wage jobs be created for everyone? How many unemployed are not counted? When employment figures are reported, the statistics miss important information: How many are employed full time, part time? How many have health care, retirement, sick leave and vacation pay? How do employee salaries in large corporations compare to their employers, including benefits and perks? I surmise earnings of large companies don’t trickle down well.
Warfare operations: Woe is me. Our military budget is over half of our discretionary federal taxes. Our military spending is more than the next eight countries combined. Three percent of the U.S. military spending could end starvation on earth.
How many billions have our taxes paid in cost overrun for the decades long F-35 bomber beset by flaws according to POGO, 2018? How many trillions in unaccounted military spending over a 15-plus year period did government auditors uncover in 2018? Answer: $21 trillion of our taxes. Why does the mainstream media treat this as non-news? Could it have to do with weapons companies invested in major media and lobbying politicians?
How many jobs are generated by constructive enterprises compared to weapons and warfare? The National Priorities Project shows better employment from health, education, housing, and infrastructure building.
Many wonder if politicians and the mainstream media lied us into tragic, deadly wars based on defending freedom and democracy. See Oliver Stone’s documentary, “The Untold History of the U.S. and The Afghan Papers.”
Health care: We hear that health coverage for all is too expensive, and our government is broke. Rhetorically speaking, could our government better afford health care if we eliminated the trillion-plus dollar tax break mostly for the super rich, if we eliminated tax havens, and if we cut military fraud and waste?
Here are questions for those who aren’t retired, change jobs, lose their jobs, are employers, work for employers or are self employed: How much would Medicare for All cost in the form of taxes compared to insurance company premiums, deductibles, and co-pays with exclusions? National Nurses United and Patients Over Profits have much information showing cost savings and quality health care access with Medicare for All.
What about Medicare costs for those over 65? Private insurance companies rake off much more than Medicare on CEO pay, perks and paper shuffling. In addition, Medicare patients have a greater choice of doctors. Let’s have more discussion about those comparisons.
Consider health care in other developed countries: What is the accessibility and cost per capita of health care for Americans compared other developed companies? By many reports, the U.S. compares poorly. Except for the VA, why is the cost of U.S. drugs significantly higher than the cost in other countries?
Socialism: Should these programs be dismantled as they are “socialistic?” Roads, drinking and waste water systems, fire and police departments, post office, schools, libraries, parks, medicare and Social Security?
Racial justice: Is it just a few bad cops who kill a few unarmed black people? How do policing and prosecution policies affect accountability and killing by police? What percentage of unarmed blacks are killed compared to unarmed whites in proportion to their populations? One could ask the same question about the percentage of blacks and whites imprisoned for comparable offences. What percentage of wealthy people are jailed compared to poor people jailed?
The answers to these questions by many accounts is that racial discrimination is systemic and widespread. There are a number of recent books addressing these disparities. One of them is “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, a black civil rights lawyer. Discussion is opening on this.
It would help to have more awareness and dialogue by major media on these topics in the spirit of everybody does better when everybody does better.