Yvette Carnell: How Can a Senate Panel Approve $631 Billion in Defense Spending If We’re Broke?
by Yvette Carnell
Ever since Wall St. engineered the Great Recession, right wingers and Democrats alike have been cautioning us regular folk to tighten our belts, because hard times are coming. But as it turns out, hard times aren’t coming, at least not in any sort of unavoidable sense, and at least not for everybody. This from Reuters:
The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a defense policy bill that would authorize a base Pentagon budget of $525.8 billion along with $88.2 billion for the Afghanistan war and other overseas operations. The panel also authorized $17.3 billion for Energy Department nuclear weapons programs.
And this from AllGov.com:
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives last week voted to spend $181 million more than the Pentagon requested, while the Senate Armed Services Committee, controlled by Democrats, has approved an additional $91 million. So what happened to the slogan, repeated endlessly by war hawks in recent years, that civilian pols ought to give the “commanders in the field” what they say they need?
It’s not that there isn’t any money. It’s just that there isn’t any money for you or me, or any of our priorities. There are more set asides to protect American interests, to spread the empire, than there are outlays for actual flesh and blood people. The window is closing on the era where government had a role in securing the lives of its people. Affirmative action, the G.I. bill, and all of the programs which helped some minorities gain foothold into the middle class are going the way of analog.
What many still don’t realize is that plutocrats have always had a plan, and since the Great Recession tore a gaping hole into the fabric of our social structure, they’re circling the wagons.
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United verdict, which opened the floodgates for a wholesale corporate takeover of our already fledgling democracy, didn’t happen in a vacuum. “Hands in the air!” This is a takeover.
The important thing for African Americans to remember is that we’ve been here before, and unlike our counterparts on the right, we know what it means to be mistreated and subjugated. This is new for them, but not for us. We can see our way through it, watching the Senate throw money at contractors (because that’s what our Department of Defense has become) while denying money for education and Social Security pensions.Deja vu all over again.
But for white people who’ve grown accustomed being the default choice, life’s about to become a real b***h because, for one, their default scapegoats – Mexicans and black people – no longer apply. Increasingly, the people taking their jobs aren’t brown Americans, but Indians and Chinese. ( And you can’t burn across in Vadish’s yard, so what now?)
And for those of us who want to pretend America’s post-racial, life’s about to become a real b***h as well. Because the most important thing in all this is to remember who we are and who we come from. If there’s one thing we surely learned from the era of Obama, it’s that no matter how smart or unoffending we are, or how dutifully we carry out your jobs, we’re still resigned to a caste of “otherness” by many of our countrymen. And it was better for us to be reminded of this sooner rather than later.
For too long, the government has hypnotized us into this illusion that although full equality is not here yet, it’s within reach. Now we’ve been disabused of that notion. The ugly truth is always better than a pretty lie. We’ll be better for it.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill and campaign staffer turned writer. She is currently an editor and contributor to Yourblackworld.
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