I agree though I don't have exact numbers on how much smaller our current aresenal is. Its my understanding the total megatonnage still has us blowing up the world more than twice. Once would be enough, would it not?
Nobody has the true “exact numbers” here in the general public.
I can tell you though that your figures are the fanciful rantings of a certain disarmist from the 60s. The Russians still maintain the tactical superiority in mukes to us. China has ignored non-proliferation treaties and is following the same path we did, and has their own nuke stockpile to prove it.
On this particular issue, we might be at an impasse. Its my understanding that during the Cold War, the Soviet capabilities were hyped so that we would stay on the wartime budgetary levels we had established in WWII.
From a motive standpoint, I can see where someone would be motivated to overestimate the Soviet threat, if only to keep their job and possibly keep that sweet, sweet defense contract mainlining in.
But, I'm open to references on this one. At the same time, even if we are at a ‘tactical disadvantage’ that would be an interesting area to explore as well. If we could only blow up the Soviet Union 12 Times, and they can blow up the US 22 times, we're all still dead.
Clinton cut military spending, paid down the national debt, and our economy flourished. Its amazing the “trickle down” effect of fiscal responsibility. Now where are we? The middle class is disappearing, wages are not keeping pace with inflation, the housing bubble is about to burst, and we continue to pump billions into a war that our own people don't want anymore
Wow, no blatant king-building there. If we wanted to,we could spend weeks breaking down the good and bad points on every president since washington. I can easily point out that Clinton purjured himself and was known by his own secret service agents for routinely dropping the “nuclear football” (that little card of launch codes every president carries around these days). I'm no fan of any politician on general principle so don't jump on my words.
breaking down the good/bad points of every president since Washington would be far more interesting than the usual “Clinton got a blowjob, and that was the worst thing evar!” meme that we usually get (present company excluded)
But I'll throw the first king-breaking stone. Clinton used the interest from Social Security to offset the National deficit. Its more complex than that, but it was a bit of “cooking the books” that many CEOs have been using to make corporate profits look better. Our current shenanigans make that bookkeeping trick look like the model of honesty.
I'm a fan of a smaller military – you know, spending only as much as our top 3 rivals rather than our top 7 or whatever. The savings could be used to increase homeland security and improve infrastructure. I can think of several multi-billion dollar projects that have been long ignored, like New Orleans, that re-appropriated tax dollars could fix.
I think politicians are a necessary evil, and when they are good, they build consensus and get people around a cause. When they are bad, they are cheap hucksters.
And while it may not be held in the same regard that it held in the 1950s the US military is VERY strong. All that money is not completely lost despite the wasteful spending habits. The DOD took ~580 billion this year, much less than the ~690 billion spent on health and human services. and far less than the “trillions” of dollars most people envision being spent.
Its my understanding the Iraq war is not part of that number, which would push that number up considerably. I could be wrong here, and without sources, its hard to say.
I much prefer to examine facts before posting ranted opinions, and hasty generalizations. Only one president ever paid off the national debt. The current national debt stands at ~9 trillion dollars.
Mainly because the US routinely doles out loans and never enforces repayments. foreign aid acoounts for another large chunk of it. The rest is mostly trade agreements and loans from other countries that we are actually paying off.
There's various good reasons that we forgive debt. Corporations do it all the time. Many times, its because those debts are noncollectable. I don't think the Chinese ever expect to collect on the debt the US has incurred, either. However, they can *sell* that debt, and the interest payments are more than enough to keep the current powers that be wealthy. At the end of the day, the old ‘80s maxim “IBG:YBG” still holds (“I’ll Be Gone: You'll Be Gone”)
And Yes The capitalist system is the basis of our economy. Many are bitter that they haven't played the game as well as others have. Myself I left home without a penny to my name and now I can pay my own bills and afford some small luxuries. The middle class is disappearing into the black hole of a welfare state, not having their wealth stolen by fat-cats. Hard work still pays off if you still have the resolve to do it. Problem is americans find it easier to sit on their keisters watching tv.
Not much argument here, though I'll point out that while markets *can* be efficient, they are not always so. Couple this with the fact we've replaced market forces with croneyism. I cite the pet rock as one example, and Enron as the second. Hard work, provided you have education and skills and are not a complete shit to your fellow man can keep you afloat.
As far as a world economy goes, Americans aren't hungry. Awash in calories and cable TV, people are not quite so eager to improve their lot, and many of those who cannot, *really* cannot. They are either so far behind in education or, well, just can't. Not everyone is born with gifts. What our society chooses to do with these people really says a lot about us.
I don't begrudge the wealthy for being sucessful. Neither should you.
So we can continue this discussion but I think it would belong in a different thread.
Ooh, my favorite topic: capital! Frankly, I think that's a perception issue. I don't think that its people begrudge the wealthy for being successful. I think that many wealthy people begrudge society what it has given them – a free market in which they were allowed to become successful.
If I had a nickel for every person I knew who sneered at welfare and yet got a college loan from the state, I'd be rich enough to sneer down at everyone who didn't think about collecting a nickel from every self-important weenie they met :D
The rails of upward mobility need greasing, and there's some discussion that such greasing improves everyone's lot, even the super wealthy. Without it, the US becomes like the Philippines – which has very little upward mobility except for occasional sweet spots – and the grease people, that make many of the homeless in the US look like Donald Trump. Only close family ties and the crazy way they send huge amounts of cash home (if I was Mexican, I'd be accused of ruining the US economy) keeps many afloat.
Now whether someone deserves the wealth they have or not is a moral and ethical discussion, but I think you'd agree that people like Paris Hilton, for whom “work” is a four letter word (although she did a passable job in the movie, ‘House of Wax’, but I digress) didn't “earn” her money. And people like you and I – forgive me if you are one of those superwealthy and I have prejudged – are actually paying *more* taxes on the dollar than they are. That's right. Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than your average person making a regular hourly wage. Why is that? Because as the song goes:
Who makes the rules?
But I way digress.
To get back on the thread topic, America is about “he who has the gold makes the rules”. And then, we get into a discussion of whether we should begrudge the person who got the gold by “playing by the rules”. I hope you can see what I'm getting at here – Congress gives themselves a raise *every year*. A CEO, who is closely tied to the board of directors makes sometimes over 1000 times what their workers make. This is done because CEOs are close to the Board of Directors, and in many cases are part of interlocking groups of Boards of Directors. So I'm on Board A, and I vote you a raise. You're on Board B, and you vote me a raise. Better yet, we vote those raises in shares, so we have even more voting power the next time the issue of a raise comes around. Most people own stock in mutual funds, and have no idea how Company A or Company B is doing. And, if you and I are smart, we'll make sure to cut the Fund Manager into the action.
And even if individual share holders get upset, your 10000 shares mean *nothing* in voting rights when there are 10 million shares out there.
This is how Plutocracy is built. Interlocking wealth and relationships which work together to do nothing but generate more wealth, until you reach the second Gilded Age.
Companies pay lobbeyists millions – billions – to make sure that laws are made to make sure they continue make billions. The Pharmaceutical Industry lobbied to make sure that Medicare plan D can *not* negotiate drug rates, even though the whole concept of being able to negotiate drug prices is very much at the heart of what market forces are about.