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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:38 AM


Why is Switzerland wealthy & America is poor and getting poorer?

A large part of the reason is the Swiss spend $700 per person per year on Civil & National defense, whilst America spends $4,000 per person.

Switzerland spends $700 per person on national and civil defense. Of this only $33 is spent on civil defense.
The Swiss feel safe.

The US spends $4,000 2012, $4,700 Ryan, $5,400 Romney per person on national and civil defense.
Americans feel unsafe.

Who has the better Foreign Policy and who has the best policy for National and Civil Defense?


2012 military spending
$1,219 billion dollars.

The US now only ranks 14th for average wealth in 2010 and slides to a miserable 17th in 2011 and will continue to slide with current levels of military spending.
A large part of the reason is too much money wasted on National "Defense" and a stupid Foreign Policy that makes Americans feel unsafe whilst stealing a large part of their wealth.

By contrast Switzerland remains in a very healthy 4th position for average wealth.


How much wealthier would you feel if you were a single person on median income and had $10,000+ p.a. more in your wallet?
For a "normal" two median income family with two children you would have $20,000 p.a. extra in your family wallet.
(If the US spent the same on defense as Switzerland.)

The US has got it TOTALLY WRONG.

How to save over $1 trillion of annual government waste and Corporate largesse.

But it is VERY easy to see how to cut $1tn+ from Federal spending, just by cutting the WASTE - here's how.

Cut $500bn from military spending from the current $1,219bn in 2012.
By :-
Cut the $105bn p.a. budget for keeping 7,000 "contractors" in Iraq.

Cut the size of the worlds largest embassy in Baghdad - swap for smaller premises with someone else in the green zone and rent the rest out.

Bring back the 138,000 military that are currently stationed in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy & UK. Let them pay for their own defense.

Update 12/11 $170 bn spent every year on building/supplying foreign military bases


Stop buying reaper and predator drones at $36m a pop - they are counter productive.
Stop spending money on hellfire missiles that serve only to recruit more jihadists and radicalize the local and general Middle East populations because of the extremely high number of innocent civilians killed.

Stop the $1.45 TRILLLION development of the next generation of stealth aircraft.
The US hasn't had a plane shot down since the 1st Gulf War.
STOP the development of the next generation ballistic missile submarines. A new contract for the next stage was just signed for $1.8 billion.

Cut the size of the NSA and DHS, they are not cost effective.
A new $2bn datacenter is being built in Utah to store EVERY email sent in America.
The budgets of NSA and DHS have been massively increased over the last few years.
The new datacenter is estimated to require $40 million worth of electricity every year

Withdraw immediately from Afghanistan - saving $100bn+ on current war costs.

Update 11/25 The latest examples of Pentagon waste.
Did Jesus die for Klingon's too?

Cut the $100bn+ medicare fraud.

Cut the price of FDA drugs or go generic earlier.

Fine the big banks for the mortgage (and other) frauds they have committed that should bring in circa $100bn (one off).

Stop the phoney war on drugs and save $200bn p.a. and have a MASSIVE reduction in crime and corruption.
Update 12/14 Proving the so called war on drugs is a joke. HSBC has just settled for a slap on the wrist fine of $1.9bn (equivalent to 5 weeks of revenues) for massive Mexican drug money laundering. No execs are to be criminally charged.

Stop the $200bn of new Pork issued each year.

Stop ALL foreign aid.

Stop ALL corporate welfare and subsidies.

Stop buying drones for border patrol.
They are VERY expensive, very inefficient, very easy to hijack their GPS systems and positively DANGEROUS to US citizens.
If a bunch of Texas University students can hijack a drone with less than $1,000 of equipment - you can be sure a Mexican drug gang can.

I just saved $1tn+ without even trying and I hardly cut any jobs at all.

Then we can start talking about cutting the next $500bn of government spending.
This would mean a reduction in the number of government bureaucrats.
This would be done in conjunction with tax cuts for the poorest which would be an economic stimulus and create more jobs.

We can also talk about closing tax loopholes whereby multinationals siphon off profits to tax havens abroad and pay very little or no corporation tax.
That money can then be used to reduce corporation tax on small and medium sized businesses who are the real job and wealth creators. This would also be an economic stimulus.
This has just been proposed to the G20 by the UK and Germany.
Update 12/28 Boy Is This A Galling Tax Dodge From Facebook: It Paid 0.3% Taxes On $1.34 Billion Profits
You can bet Facebook have a similar scheme to avoid paying US Taxes. Like Google's scheme to pay royalties to a subsidiary set up for the purpose in Bermuda.

Update 11/25
The tax increases proposed under the so called "Fiscal Cliff".
EVERYBODY's taxes are about to go up.
When you add in state/city taxes, income taxes are TOO HIGH for EVERYBODY.
The Payroll tax cut of 2% is also due to expire at the end of the year.
Increasing taxes on medium / low income workers will kill the economy and MUST be stopped.

The increase in taxes for the top 2% is equivalent to 8 days of government spending.
This is just fiddling around with the deckchairs on the titanic.

CUT the wasteful spending.

If you want to tax something - tax donations to churches.
Churches are a business like any other business.
They are a business selling faith.
Most of church spending is not charity - it is spent on employee wages (priests/pastors) and the upkeep of their buildings (churches).

The Swiss manage to run BALANCED budgets

America could too - if it just cut out the government WASTE.

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Reply Why is Switzerland wealthy & America is poor and getting poorer? (Original post)
Ian62 Dec 2012 OP
Democracyinkind Dec 2012 #1
Ian62 Dec 2012 #3
slackmaster Dec 2012 #2
sir pball Dec 2012 #4
cali Dec 2012 #5
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #6
Make7 Dec 2012 #7
MrScorpio Dec 2012 #8
JackRiddler Dec 2012 #9
jmowreader Dec 2012 #10

Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:05 AM

1. Some observations

The Swiss get by without having done away with foreign aid. In fact, the trend has been to an increase of it and still everything is fine.

I agree with the general outline of your post - there's just the fact that the Swiss army is totally bloated, expensive and surely one of the most useless and incapable armies in the world. This only makes your case stronger. The Swiss could spend half of what they currently spend on the military and still be as safe as ever. The army is too fucking expensive and way too large, it is not really a good example for rational, efficient defense policy.

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Response to Democracyinkind (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:26 AM

3. You obviously know more about Switzerland than I do


The fact remains that Switzerland enjoys almost full employment (unemployment is at 3.1%), healthy government finances and a very good standard of living.

It does not have more than one in 7 of it's population on Food Stamps.


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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:07 AM

2. Cheese, Army knives, and hot chocolate


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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:12 PM

4. Because they're not as nice as we think they are

I have very close friends right across the border in France, 3km from Geneva. Try to get there yearly to spend a week or so playing in the city and frolicking in the Alps. It's one of my favorite place to go in the entire world, and the people are extremely friendly and helpful. And almost entirely white. Actually...I think I've seen maybe ten minorities of any sort over there.

"The Swiss People's Party (German: Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP), also known as the Democratic Union of the Centre (Italian: Unione Democratica di Centro, French: Union démocratique du centre, UDC), is a national conservative and right-wing populist political party in Switzerland. Chaired by Toni Brunner, but spearheaded by Christoph Blocher, the party is the largest party in the Federal Assembly, with 54 members of the National Council and 5 of the Council of States."


They like it that way - I saw these posters (to restrict Eastern European immigration) all over in 2008 (the measure passed on a direct citizen vote with over 60% approval):

This is "poster that convinced Switzerland to ban minarets", again, not a scattering of Pam Geller-esque posters - these things are EVERYWHERE:

Another anti-immigration poster (the tagline at the bottom reads "My house - Our Switzerland):

And just for good measure:

I suppose having an ethnically and culturally homogenous country does lead to economic bliss (see Iceland, most Nordic countries for that matter...nat so venomous that I know of, but still not much of a melting pot) but it's a piss-poor way to do it IMHO.

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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:19 PM

5. When will people at DU learn to stop comparing tiny nations


with the U.S.? Switzerland in a country of some 8 million- it wouldn't even be a large state.

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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:38 PM

6. Because it provides incentives to get rich people's money?

They court the money of very wealthy people the world over, and they get it. So there's that.

They are also neutral in conflicts...good for them. Not so good for, say, the people who are the subject of genocide.

They profit from war. They collected and profited from tons of art and valuables that the Germans stole from the Jewish and other people they were systematically wiping from the face of the earth.

They don't care much about other countries' problems. That's okay. But there is that. When there's a human rights issue in some country, no one in the world thinks, "Hey, let's try to get Switzerland to handle this! That would really help!"

Switzerland is a tiny country, so is not comparable to the giant ones.

The gauge by which we judge wealth of countries, as I understand it, is a "per capita" gauge. That doesn't mean that everyone in Switzerland has more money than other countries. It can mean that SOME in the country have TONS AND TONS of money, so it pushes the per capita amount up.

But whatever you think of Switzerland (and the other wealthy countries: Demnark, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Qatar)...the U.S. isn't far behind Switzerland.

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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:39 PM

7. The IMF and CIA both rank the US above Switzerland in GDP per capita.

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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:41 PM

8. I've been to Switzerland, just once

Getting into the country was a nightmare and we were just traveling through it. It was like, "Welcome to Switzerland. Now LEAVE!"

Unlike the rest of Western Europe at the time, it didn't seem like a very welcoming place.

Even Germany was more accepting of ethnic minorities and other foreigners.

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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:19 PM

9. Because Switzerland is a tax haven for American wealth?

Your point about military spending is extremely well taken. That's the single factor that most negatively distinguishes the US from all other developed nations. We have put the richest chunk of our surplus product into maintaining a costly empire, creating enemies and destroying other countries, with little or no benefit to the 99 percent of Americans.

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Response to Ian62 (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:49 PM

10. I love non-Americans trying to tell us what's wrong with our economy

Note to Ian: next time, say "while" not "whilst" and "a year" not "p.a."

We can't fix the problem by getting rid of foreign aid because our total foreign aid bill is only 1.5 percent of the total U.S. budget. And if we did, Grover Norquist would declare it a tax increase and order cuts, as he does every time they cut spending.

More to the point, spending cuts don't work. The government spends money in the private sector. They buy finished products from private companies, or buy raw materials for government employees to use, or they buy services from private contractors. Selling To The Government is America's biggest industry.

We're past the point where Tax Cuts for the Poor are going to help. Genuinely poor people pay no income taxes. Middle class and up pay income tax. If you were to cut $1 billion in taxes over a cohort of 10 million taxpayers, that works out to $3.85 per pay period. A person who makes $15.40 per hour makes $3.85 in 15 minutes of work. How, precisely, is an additional fifteen minutes worth of money supposed to create any jobs?

The only way to fix this problem is to bring in more money and that means higher taxes. Spending is fine if you have revenue to pay the bills. Borrowing is fine if you have revenue to repay the loans.(It is better than fine...any sensible investor has U.S. government bonds in his portfolio; they are close to being risk-free.) Borrowing and spending without proper revenue levels is not, but we've been doing it for over 30 years.

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