There are many admirable political goals, such as protecting human rights, helping the poor, protecting animals, protecting the environment, preventing wars, and so on. However, the government is notoriously bad at doing anything for the better of the common good because politicians have a lot of favors to return mainly to corporations and lobbyists who care little about the common good. Nonetheless, there are non-partisan goals and we should pressure the government to do the right thing when it is blatantly obvious to everyone what needs to be done. In particular, consider these two non-partisan goals for those of us in the USA:
1. Let’s limit the runaway military spending.
I suggest the following:
- Our military is too large.
- Military spending can be cut.
Is the military too large? I understand that we have over 700 bases in 120 countries. We are not at war with all of those countries. (We are still in Japan and Germany, etc.) I suggest that we should bring these troops home. They don’t belong in other countries and it is very expensive to have troops all over the world. The military should be used to defend our country, not to be all over the place. No other country has military bases spanning the globe, and it’s probably not necessary for national security as Truman claimed.1
Can military spending be cut? Military spending “exceeds the average amount spent by the Pentagon during the Cold War, for a military that is one-third smaller than it was just over a decade ago” (Washington Newsletter March 2006, 3 [PDF]). Additionally, US military spending is 43% of the military spending of the entire planet combined, which is more than the top 14 other countries with the highest military spending. I see no reason to think that we need to spend so much more money on the military compared to everyone else.
2. Let’s investigate corruption and hold people accountable.
The Federal Reserve can’t account for $9 trillion2 and the military can’t account for $2 trillion.3 When the government lack accountability, corruption and waste might not be far behind. For example, we know the military wasted $100 million on unused plane tickets.4 We should demand that the government be accountable and stop wasting our money. We need to investigate the Federal Reserve and military spending and hold people who waste our money accountable.
For some reason the US government’s out of control military spending and unaccountability have barely made the news despite being of the utmost importance and having obvious moral implications. Although the wealthy might seem too powerful and the wealthy often thrive off of out of control military spending and government unaccountability, we can unify and make our demands on the government clear. The two goals above are of dire importance and everyone can agree to have them. Big business can lobby the government to act against the interests of the American people, but we are not powerless. We can vote, protest, voice our concerns, lobby, advertise, and so on.
1 Truman claimed, “We must do all we can to spare her from the ravages of any future breach of the peace. That is why, though the United States wants no territory or profit or selfish advantage out of this war, we are going to maintain the military bases necessary for the complete protection of our interests and of world peace. Bases which our military experts deem to be essential for our protection, and which are not now in our possession, we will acquire. We will acquire them by arrangements consistent with the United Nations Charter.” (Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S. Truman.)