Democratic Underground

The Profits of War
September 25, 2001
by Kurt Kurowski

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Now is the time for all good toadies to come to the aid of their contributors. Eleven days after the history-changing, devastating events of September 11 some politicians have taken the opportunity to ram through their disastrous and widely rejected agenda while the rest of the nation continues to mourn. What does our President have to say about this?

Claims have been made that it is now dangerous to avoid drilling for oil in ANWR. This policy is currently being forced upon us. But America will never be able to provide for its own energy needs no matter how many national treasures we damage. We will always depend on the rest of the world's oil supplies until we come up with alternatives which we can create ourselves.

Hopefully, we'll one day soon seek out these solutions before we find ourselves at the end of the finite amount of oil on which we currently depend. This search will rely on the resolve and wisdom of our leaders. It will also take courage to stand up to special interest groups that would cripple attempts at truly serious research.

It now appears Americans will need the courage and perseverance of no less than our remarkable Senator John McCain to regain a say in our Government. Bringing about real campaign finance reform would go far in helping our politicians with this stand. Energy alternatives would protect us from a multitude of dangers - real or imagined - including reliance on foreign oil, heavy pollution, and the world-wide catastrophes that would befall a planet fighting over dwindling energy supplies.

In our present situation, OPEC has assured us of a regular supply of oil, and OPEC is in the business of just that: business. Their concern is profit, not who is on what side in scuffles, disagreements, nor even wars.

The 736,000 jobs in the ANWR simply do not exist. Mainstream news sources reported months ago that the actual number of jobs the ANWR would create is considerably less. It appears the initial overestimate on the job numbers was either an honest error, or a ploy created to pull unions and the more naive Democratic members of Congress over in support of drilling. You decide.

As for missile defense, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told us some days prior to September 11 that he needed "every penny" of the defense budget. Just imagine what Mr. Rumsfeld needs now. We have far more pressing needs than a fantastical defense shield, costing hundreds of billions of dollars, and that would alienate our allies. Support for this foolishness would only help to bankrupt our country while making a small number of already wealthy individuals wealthier.

With the economy taking a fall, the tax cut amounting to well over a trillion dollars also needs to be revisited. Some members of Congress were crass enough to continue the relentless push for tax boondoggles forty-eight hours after the twin towers' horrifying and deathly collapse. The improbable reasons given for the cuts were as offensive as they were transparent.

These funds, unlikely to fully materialize, will be needed for our incursion against terrorism. We are nevertheless still being told that a tax cut will stimulate growth. On that point I concur with former President George H.W. Bush's original assessment of this type of tax policy as being "voodoo economics." We've seen huge tax cuts at the top end create huge deficits.

Far more recent history reveals that those who would receive the bulk of this tax cut unfortunately would do little to assist the economy. Only days ago the stock markets re-opened and showed us that a much too large and faithless number pulled out their support for our economic system in an embarrassingly unpatriotic display. We also now see employers who once again choose to fire workers while maintaining astronomically high salaries and benefits for themselves and their top employees.

None of these events do much to inspire faith in the reasoning behind this current tax plan. And so in order to maintain responsibility we must insist that our leaders lower the tax cuts so we can be assured of the funds needed in the fight against terrorism, as well as in meeting our domestic needs

Anyone who would be greedy enough to push measures chiefly meant to bring benefit to themselves at a time such as this should be called what they most closely resemble: a profiteer. Anyone who claims that their personal windfall is actually in some way a benefit to the nation deserves to be called much, much worse. Sacrifice will be made by the poor as well as the rich, and sacrifice is something even the most powerful among us had best come to terms with.

We're watching, and as is so often said these days - " make no mistake" - we will remember.