Twenty years ago, when the Cold War ended in a (fairly) good way with the (relatively) peaceful replacement of the old Soviet Union with a separation into smaller and more independent states, there was talk -- brief talk -- of a Peace Dividend. What we have gotten instead is a perpetual-war economy.
In the last twenty odd years (no hyphen intended), the World-Wide-Warfare State has hit up the American people for at least ten trillion dollars of war spending. (And hit up a lot of non-American people with lots of high-tech explosives.)
If that amount of money had been spent evenly, for the benefit of every one of the three hundred million Americans, on general or personal improvements, that would have amounted to about $33,000 for each man, woman, and child in America, over and above what is now spent on our behalf for highways, medical care, free lunches, social security, welfare, subsidies, and the like. That's over and above.
And the current rate of spending adds about $3,000 per person per year. I've done the math for my family. How about yours?
What if we, or our local governments, or even our federal government, had spent all that money, even wastefully, for the benefit of the common people?
If you are thinking green (as in environment), do you think we might have had more and better solar power? Less wasteful oil consumption? Better-cared-for national parks? More effective transportation? Fewer areas of urban blight? More wildlife? Better forests and cared-for wetlands?
If you are thinking green (as in people), do you think we might have had better job opportunities -- things that we could have done for ourselves? Fewer young people feeling that they have to join the military for reasons of personal economics? Healthier farms? Healthier cities? Healthier people?
If you are thinking green (as in money), do you think we might have had fewer arms industries but better local production? Fewer billionaires (hopefully) but a lot more millionaires? A sounder currency? A more sustainable economy?
Are we predestined to be stupid, or do we have a free choice?
Or is it a government mandate?
Come to think of it, that is a great question to ask your favorite theologian or politician, whichever you trust the most.
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Yes, this was just off the top of my head, and it shows. Sorry. Comments still welcome, pro and con. Are we predestined to be stupid . . .?