Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Conflict in the Middle East - Who Pays for it?

In the last couple days President Trump has authorized a drone strike killing a prominent Iranian general.  Iran followed up with missile attacks on Iraqi bases where US forces were stationed.

Although his administrations vague intelligence justifications remind me off the justifications for the Bush administration invading Iraq to destroy what turned out to be a non-existent nuclear weapons program I don't feel like at this point I am in a position to second guess the President on whether his first strike was wise or foolish as policy.

What I do fault President Trump for is escalating our presence in the area after adding a trillion dollars a year to our national debt with his 2017 tax cuts. 

For 40 years Republican administrations have relentlessly cut taxes on the wealthy, effectively pushing more and more of the tax burden onto the middle class.  At the same time they have continuously increased "Defense" spending.  As a result our National debt has grown from 30% of GDP to around 110% or GDP.  As a country we owe more than we produce in a year.  After 40 years of tax cuts the richest of the rich have so many tax perks and deductions they often end up paying almost no tax.

Much of the increase in "Defense" spending over the last 40 years has been to support ongoing interventions in the Middle East.  This is a curious definition of "Defense".  The notion of a middle eastern country invading the United States is laughable.  Even the terrorist attacks spawned out of the middle east were in response to our constant meddling in their neighborhood.  

We regular folks may benefit a little from our constant Middle East meddling to keep the oil flowing.  But most of the benefit flows to rich folks who have business interests in the Middle East.  Their investment interests have driven most of our interventions in the Middle East.  

I can live with our government protecting rich folks investments half a world away.  What I find indefensible is government paying vastly more for "defense" to protect rich folks Middle East investments, while the rich folks pay ever tinier fractions of their wealth as taxes, even as the National debt our kids and grand kids are going to be left with piles up.  Particularly since it is mostly the not so rich that serve in the military, and die for our country in Middle East conflicts half a world way. 

No comments: