by David Swanson, Let’s Try Democracy, September 23, 2021
The super unprecedentedly ginormous Building Back Better bill is widely advertised as costing $3.5 trillion – and I think we’d all love to hear just a few hundred more times how Senator Joe Manchin won’t stand for it, wouldn’t we? But that number is spread over 10 years. In 1 year it’s $0.35 trillion, otherwise known as $350 billion.
That bill is dependent on and determines what happens to the other of the two super important dramatic and Big-News bills you’ve heard about, namely the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. It’s also a number spread over 10 years. The annual infrastructure spending in the bill amounts to $0.1 trillion or $100 billion a year.
I don’t think I’ve transformed the numbers above into SMALL numbers. Worlds of good or ill could be done with that sort of money. My concern is that there is a third bill moving through Congress right now that’s bigger than the other two, and you’ll hear next to nothing about it from “news” sources. It’s a bill to fund a portion of U.S. military spending — about 3/5 of military spending in fact — and its current price tag is $768 billion spread all the way across one single year.
That’s right, the unremarkable, or at least unremarked upon, expense of more wars and war preparations — significantly increased even while telling the UN that the United States is no longer at war — is well over twice the expense of Building Back Better. Kind of makes you wonder how much better the building back is going to be when an institution dedicated to killing and destroying is so much more heavily supported. The war funding (even eliminating all press conferences on ongoing wars) is 170% of Building Back Better and the Infrastructure Extravaganza combined. And it’s not mentioned.
Do you ever wonder whether Havana Syndrome might be real but might be something that afflicts media outlets rather than human beings?
It looks like the final military bill is going to for the first time ever require that all women upon turning 18 sign up to be forced against their will to kill and die in wars via the next draft. That women can volunteer for the military this week (and have been able to for decades now) is somehow erased from human knowledge so that the possibility that by next week they may be registered to be dragged into wars against their will can be a happy feminist progress story. But even this lovely development doesn’t make the bill newsworthy.
It looks like the final bill might fund the creation of a monumental monstrosity of a new war memorial in the field of war memorials formerly known as the National Mall — this one to glorify the past 20 years of catastrophic murderous wars. How you can brag about finally ending wars while increasing the funding for more wars and even funding a monument to the wars mercifully being ended is a mystery. Except that it’s not a mystery; it’s accomplished by acting as if the smaller two of the three bills before Congress are HUGE and obsessing over them.
The United States has spent $21 trillion on militarism in the past 20 years and is on pace to spend more than that in the next 20. How anything else can be called big in the U.S. government is beyond me. This is not a government at all, but a war machine dressed up in a bit of domestic finery and the propaganda work of Big Brother’s Bakery — er, I mean, Build Back Better.
Not to fear, though, we’ve got the Progressives we can count on. Except that we can count on them to focus on the other two bills, to vote for an amendment to reduce military spending that they’re sure will fail, and to turn around and vote in large numbers for increased military spending regardless of whether their votes are even needed. Peace groups will cheer for the amendment attempt. Weapons dealers will cheer for the loyalty votes. And the media will obsess for months to come over two smaller bills.