2004-12-03 / Columnists

The Progressive

By John Paul Culotta

 My father in law is a Second World War veteran and a recipient of many medals including the Purple Heart. He is adamantly opposed to sending young men into battle unnecessarily. At 88 years of age he can often comment on the world’s affairs with the wisdom that the elderly often have. He recently told my wife that an enemy can destroy this nation and our democratic system “ without firing a shot!”

At this time, this nation is engaged in battle with international terrorists. Our resources are being bled. Young American lives have been lost and many are in harms way.

It is estimated to a CNN report of November 18, 2004 that we spend $8 billion each month in Iraq alone.

Bin Laden has recently been reported to say that the objective of Al-Quaeda is to bankrupt America. Our government estimates the terrorists spent half a million dollars to accomplish the attacks of September 11, 2001. This nation must develop effective, efficient methods to protect our borders and citizens or we will be bankrupt. During past war efforts the citizens were willing to sacrifice their money through increased taxation and voluntary bond drives to finance military operations. The country united itself with meatless days of the week and other morale building activities. In Washington today little is asked from the citizens. Taxes are being cut especially for the more privileged citizens. Today the only people who serve in the armed forces are volunteers. Only one member of congress has a child serving. None of the present administration has children serving. FDR had sons that served. Prominent members of society lost members of their families during the Second World War.

The question is: how are we paying for the unilateral war that Bush/ Cheney has engaged in Iraq? Our national budget has lurched out of control. We are now at the $800 billion borrowing limit. The Republican administration wants to make tax cuts permanent and remove all estate taxes. At the same time, it proposes increased spending on miscellaneous pork. Our nation citizens are demanding reforms in health care delivery, education, and Social Security. The reforms will require additional revenue.

In an October Reader’s Digest, it was reported the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the nation is heading towards insolvency. The IMF is quoted to say that in order to be solvent it “ would require an immediate 60 percent hike in the federal income tax, or a 50 percent cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits.” Our government debt is being financed by foreign nations mainly China buying our bonds. We are also buying more from overseas than we can sell. How long can we support the US budget and trade deficit without a crisis? Already, the dollar is losing strength. The first objective of the second Bush/Cheney administration must be to address this issue. We cannot allow the terrorists to win “ without firing a shot”.

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