Continued from here.
No takers, huh?
Well, it is an acquired taste.
Which is to say: while you acquire the means to build holocaust machines, the poor of Haiti sprout a taste for dirt, water, salt and vegetable shortening patiently baked to a crumbly goodness, almost, but not quite, reminiscent of something edible.
A blog we came across had this to say about the flavor:
A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.
However, there is an upside to this earthy diet:
Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating.
Which latter health effect, no doubt, will provide a modicum of relief to us all, when the American system of medical care collapses under the weight of our Full Spectrum Dominance.
Gated communities are very expensive, and, if you did not notice, you are getting closer to the day where you can’t afford to live here any longer.
Somewhat like that mortgage meltdown stuff which seems to be affecting everyone but you – for the moment.
Remember that other victim of the mortgage meltdown, Bear Stearns?
The Wiki does:
On March 14, 2008, JPMorgan Chase, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, provided a 28-day emergency loan to Bear Stearns in order to prevent the potential market crash that would result from Bear Stearns becoming insolvent. Two days later, Bear Stearns signed a merger agreement with JP Morgan Chase in a stock swap worth $2 a share. In addition, the Federal Reserve agreed to issue a non-recourse loan to JP Morgan Chase, thereby assuming the risk of Bear Stearns’s less liquid assets. This sale price represented a staggering loss as its stock had once traded at $172 a share as late as January 2007, and $93 a share as late as February 2008.
One day a major investment bank is worth $172 a share, two months later, it is worth $2 a share.
The average price of an American home in October 2005 was $264,000. Were the housing market to collapse like Bear Stearns, within months that average home price would drop to $3000.
Which, oddly enough, is about equal to the unadjusted median price of a home in 1950 – the year the Truman administration embarked on its spanking new economic policy of Full Employment.
(We are joking here, of course, about the, “oddly enough,” part. Actually, there is nothing odd about it: it was exactly the value we expected, when we went looking for it while writing this chapter.)
Federal Reserve bailouts might work for insignificant minor league players like global investment banks, but, if you imagine they can step in and bail out us home owners…well, we do sincerely hope you have a Plan B.
Even if the Federal Reserve had the capacity to bail us out, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as we write this, is just now announcing Washington’s intention to permanently “resource” sufficient means to fight Iraq- and Afghanistan-level conflicts, while maintaining its on-going capacity to pursue a Full Spectrum Dominance strategy.
The paper said the Defense Department would respond to China’s expanding military power through “shaping and hedging.”
“This approach tailors investment of substantial, but not infinite, resources, in ways that favor key enduring US strategic advantages,” it said.
“At the same time we will continue to improve and refine our capabilities to respond to China if necessary,” it said.
The paper said Russia was leveraging its oil wealth, asserting claims in the Arctic, and continues “to bully its neighbors, all of which are cause for concern.”
It also pointed to Russia’s resumption of long-range bomber flights, withdrawal from arms control and force reduction treaties, threatened to target countries that host US missile defense bases, and signaled increased reliance on nuclear weapons as a foundation of its security.
“All of these actions suggest a Russia exploring renewed influence, and seeking a greater international role,” it said.
But the paper said the strategic environment the United States faces for the forseeable future “will be defined by a global struggle against a violent extremist ideology that seeks to overturn the international state system.”
Which implies Washington has figured out how to repeal the laws of
- physics, or,
Or, most likely, Washington has firmly decided to sacrifice us all.
As Jeffrey Sachs so emphatically pointed out, to maintain the present level of insanity going under the name, Full Employment, requires a trade surplus, or, failing that, a cataclysmic reduction of the American standard of living.
Just after World War II, when Uncle Sam’s Club opened for business, the policy of Full Employment was possible because the United States enjoyed just such a trade surplus.
In the words of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):
long before the war, the United States had run an almost unbroken string of trade surpluses—that is, an excess of exports over imports—and the war damaged or destroyed much of the most significant international competition for U.S. industry.
People in Europe needed everything, and, for a relatively steep price, we could provide it.
The least important component of that price was interest on the loans we provided to them to buy goods from us.
The most important component – the gift that keeps on giving, so far – was the adoption by Europe of the dollar as the international currency for trade.
And, that was a good deal for us, since, according to the CBO:
After 1970, however, the almost unbroken string of trade surpluses turned into one of trade deficits, and in the 1980s and 1990s, those deficits grew quite large.
Which, for you, means, the value of everything for which you have worked your entire life – everything for which you have struggled, everything for which you rose from your bed each and every morning of your adult life, everything you had ever hoped to pass on to your children, or enjoy in your retirement – today hinges on the willingness and ability of foreigners to hold US dollars to settle their international trade obligations.
Precisely the same foreign individuals who are the target of our military policy of Full Spectrum Dominance.
(How do you say, “Fucked!“, in Arabic?)
To be continued
Continued from here.
At this point we have to apologize for leaving the impression that the irresponsibility of Washington is somehow the cause of the current fiscal bomb set to go off beneath your feet in the not too distant future.
True, Washington sold you a bill of goods, but that transaction was carried on under the time honored market signboard, Caveat Emptor!
According to the Wiki,
Under the doctrine of caveat emptor, the buyer could not recover from the seller for defects on the property that rendered the property unfit for ordinary purposes. The only exception was if the seller actively concealed latent defects.
The authors of NSC-68 never concealed the fact you would be required to work longer than is necessary to feed, clothe, and, house your family in order to enforce the new order which emerged in the aftermath of World War II.
Washington has always emphasized a call for further sacrifice at every critical juncture in the rocky economic path you willingly adopted for the past sixty years.
You could have demanded a dismantling of the Cordon Militaire in the wake of the the Soviet Union’s collapse, some 20 years ago – a move which might have saved you some of the $9 trillion of public debt run up since then.
But you did not.
This eruption will be your fault, not Washington’s.
It is true, as has been noted both by the authors of NSC-68 and the authors of the NeoCon war planning document, REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century, that you are incapable of being roused from your slumbers for anything short of a Pearl Harbor-September 11th scale event.
And, it is true that the fiscal bomb currently ticking down to zero will dwarf both those events, and make you long for the happy days of the Great Depression – when only 25 percent of working men and women were unemployed.
However, the present crisis – uncomfortable as it will be for us – is merely a modest expression of a much deeper set of economic forces – forces, which, even assuming the most fiscally responsible of regimes these past twenty years, firmly and irreversibly placed us on collision course with the historically unprecedented catastrophe toward which we now hurtle.
You will recall that the military Keynesianism adopted by the Truman administration in 1950 relied on permanent economic expansion to fulfill two objectives: an open-ended Cordon Militaire around the Soviet Union, and, an improving standard of living for you, the American voters.
“If we keep producing more silly gadgets and worthless trinkets to inspire their consumer confidence, the idiots will never realize we are busy converting their lives into an unbroken string of empty meaningless moments of unnecessary, intellect-stultifying, toil.”
Can you say: “Iphone2!”
We don’t know how you feel about them, but every time we see one of those suckers, we get the overwhelming urge to rush out and take a second mortgage.
To pay off our home equity loan…
Which paid off our credit cards…
After we bought the previous version of the “Iphone!”
Ah, yes. The virtuous circle of consumer confidence: we work, so that we may borrow; we borrow, so that we may buy; we buy, so that we may work.
Speaking of silly gadgets and worthless trinkets, about now you are wondering how the government managed to fund the production of all those aircraft carriers and Minuteman II missiles systems – which latter runs about $7 million a pop.
As we noted earlier, despite the mystical pronouncements of the high priesthood of the Church of Full Employment, Washington cannot just print an endless stream of dollars to pay for really expensive items like Minuteman II holocaust machines.
To build the machines requires the real effort of real scientists, engineers, tool and die operators, and office managers.
First, these people have to be trained.
Second, the instruments of production, and raw materials have to be secured.
Finally, while they are building engines of death, they are not engaged in economically necessary activity like building homes, growing food, assembling cars, etc.
So, all this must be done on their behalf by people who have real jobs jobs aimed at producing life, maintaining life, supporting life, feeding, housing and clothing the living.
At least up until the moment the engines of death are actually unleashed in a searing cloud of flesh puddling apocalypse heralding the onset of nuclear winter.
(For what it is worth: however, idotic and superstitious it may be for explaining the beginning of life on Earth, Intelligent Design remains very much the leading scenario for how it ends.)
The means for growing the food, building the homes, and clothing the backs of our tirelessly working Dr. Strangeloves-in-waiting, if it is not to be taken from the current consumption of the rest of their fellow American voters, and, the current investment in means of production by American businesses, must be secured from the global labor pool beyond the borders of the United States.
This, of course, is so amazingly obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with the basic principles of economics, it hardly bears mentioning.
Which is why it is routinely overlooked by the brightest minds in the field of economic policy – which minds prefer to keep the evil spirits of economic catastrophe at bay with primitive chants, cabalistic incantations understood only by initiates, catatonic mouthing of talking points, and, a very liberal swinging of sulfurous incenses.
To wit, this threeway exchange between Fareed Zakaria, Jeffrey Sachs and Lawrence Summers:
Well, I’ve gathered three of the top economists in the world to talk about all of this.
The first question to you, how scared should we be? In other words, are we in the phase of a crisis where the pain has been felt, and there’s going to be a long, slow working out of this pain? Or are there more unpleasant surprises to come?
You know, what innings are we in?
JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, THE EARTH INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, ECONOMIC ADVISER TO GOVERNMENTS: I don’t know if Paul and Larry agree exactly, but one thing that could be added to this is the question of whether there’s a way to counteract the downturn itself, not whether one should pump up the economy, and so forth. But is a recession at this point unavoidable? This is going from, you know, gloom to gloomier.
But I would say yes, and that the attempt early on in the next presidency to have a big stimulus and keep pushing, and do everything we can to avoid the downturn, would actually prove to be fruitless at this point, because there are so many imbalances that have been built into the U.S. economy in the last decade, and especially in the last few years, and now added to the — now added on by the global markets — that consumers really are going to have to adjust.
They’ve not been saving for years. The housing market is not going to be the way the economy is going to recover. There’s going to have to be a lot of structural change in the U.S. economy. There’s going to have to be export-led growth to an important extent, because we’ve been borrowing on an amount that we will not continue in the future…
ZAKARIA: So, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a recession will actually have an effect of cleansing the system. It will take out some of these unsustainable imbalances.
SACHS: No, what I’m saying is that, the idea that there really are enough gears right now to just keep that headline measure of the total size of the economy growing at some positive, close-to-normal rate, is just not the case. We don’t have tools like that, that can do that.
And there are so many problems that need adjustment right now, and such a legacy of imbalance, that I think that heroics to stop a downturn wouldn’t work.
I don’t disagree with you about the difficulty, the challenge. And I think, no matter how brilliantly policy is carried on, the next three or four years are not likely to be three or four particularly favorable years in American economic history.
But I think it’s a serious mistake to suggest that we should somehow accept our recession like a man, and that if we just do that, we’ll cleanse the imbalances…
Notice how Summers challenges Sachs’s manhood in this exchange – daring the sissy-boy, this wannabe economic chicken-hawk warrior, to display his soft pudgy manicured hands to the viewers.
“You betta man up, bitch!” Summers appears to be saying. “Shit is gonna hit the fan, and we will need every able bodied dick to to be out there swinging.”
Of course, you will also notice Summers never challenges the premise of Sachs’s statement: without a massive reduction in the living standards of American voters, the current eruption of interlocking crises can not be fixed.
To be continued.
Continued from here.
By now it should be clear to you that the real question is not can the left criticize government’s share of GDP?
Rather, the question can be posed more briefly:
Indeed, what we have so far witnessed here – beginning with the Democratic Party’s Truman administration, and continuing without interruption through Democratic and Republican administrations down to our own beloved Moron, and likely to be continued unchanged by either that neanderthal of the right, John McCain, or, that darling of Europe and the cell phone set, Barack Obama – is nothing less than the coagulation of all the most essential features of a fascistic regime unmatched even by the standard of Hitlerian depravity.
Hyperbole, you protest. The manic mutterings of a deranged and unbalanced mind.
Guilty as charged.
For, although we have laid out for you the carrying costs of empire, in 2008 dollars, and hinted at the mortal outrage of its human costs – in lost opportunity for human self-development, and the astonishing loss of life in the present catastrophic occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan – we have, so far, concealed from you the running total of brutality of the present course you have supported these sixty years.
To put this in an increment you might understand, the Wiki has this to say about scale of human loss on September 11, 2001:
There were 2,974 fatalities, excluding the 19 hijackers: 246 on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,603 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. An additional 24 people remain listed as missing. All of the fatalities in the attacks were civilians except for 55 military personnel killed at the Pentagon. More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
NIST estimated that approximately 17,400 civilians were in the World Trade Center complex at the time of the attacks, while turnstile counts from the Port Authority suggest that 14,154 people were typically in the Twin Towers by 8:45 a.m. The vast majority of people below the impact zone safely evacuated the buildings, along with 18 individuals who were in the impact zone in the south tower. 1,366 people died who were at or above the floors of impact in the North Tower. According to the Commission Report, hundreds were killed instantly by the impact, while the rest were trapped and died after the tower collapsed. As many as 600 people were killed instantly or were trapped at or above the floors of impact in the South Tower.
Fatalities (excluding hijackers) New York City World Trade Center 2,603 died and another 24 remain listed as missing American 11 88 United 175 59 Arlington Pentagon 125 American 77 59 Shanksville United 93 40 Total 2,974 died and another 24 remain listed as missing.
At least 200 people jumped to their deaths from the burning towers (as depicted in the photograph “The Falling Man“), landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below. Some of the occupants of each tower above its point of impact made their way upward toward the roof in hope of helicopter rescue, but the roof access doors were locked. No plan existed for helicopter rescues, and on September 11, the thick smoke and intense heat would have prevented helicopters from conducting rescues.
A total of 411 emergency workers who responded to the scene died as they attempted to implement rescue and fire suppression efforts. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) lost 341 firefighters and 2 FDNY paramedics. The New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers. Private EMS units lost 8 additional EMTs and paramedics.
Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., an investment bank on the 101st–105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 employees, considerably more than any other employer. Marsh Inc., located immediately below Cantor Fitzgerald on floors 93–101 (the location of Flight 11’s impact), lost 295 employees, and 175 employees of Aon Corporation were killed. After New York, New Jersey was the hardest hit state, with the city of Hoboken sustaining the most fatalities.
Weeks after the attack, the estimated death toll was over 6,000. The city was only able to identify remains for approximately 1,600 of the victims at the World Trade Center. The medical examiner’s office also collected “about 10,000 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that cannot be matched to the list of the dead.” Bone fragments were still being found in 2006 as workers were preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building.
Let us call the above figures, taken from the pages of the Wiki, a single unit of loss.
We can give this unit of death and destruction the name, “September 11th” – being a unit of death and destruction equal to the total loss of human beings in Washington, Pennsylvania and New York on the bright blue morning of September 11, 2001.
2974 persons dead, 24 additional persons missing, untold thousands injured directly and indirectly as a result of this insanity.
According to a recent study, the human cost of your Full Spectrum Dominance has so far amounted to 10,000 September 11th events in incidents ranging from the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953, under a program called Operation Ajax, to the 7.8 million slaughtered during the Vietnam War, to more than 1 million deaths in Iraq since the United States invasion in the first Gulf War in 1991.
The authors go on to say:
And the pain and anger is spread even further. Some authorities estimate that there are as many as 10 wounded for each person who dies in wars. Their visible, continued suffering is a continuing reminder to their fellow countrymen.
This uniquely American Holocaust has been estimated to total 20-30 million mostly civilian deaths, and as many as 200-300 million wounded, on every continent, and in every region of the planet!
10,000 September 11th events.
And this was in peacetime.
To be continued
Continued from here.
You will remember that following World War II, most of the industrial centers of the world outside the United States were in ruins.
Well, we want you to hold that idea.
It will be on the quiz.
For now, let us consider this:
The government’s budget deficit will surge past a half-trillion dollars next year, according to gloomy new estimates, a record flood of red ink that promises to force the winner of the presidential race to dramatically alter his economic agenda.
The deficit will hit $482 billion in the 2009 budget year that will be inherited by Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain, the White House estimated Monday. That figure is sure to rise after adding the tens of billions of dollars in additional Iraq war funding it doesn’t include, and the total could be higher yet if the economy fails to recover as the administration predicts.
The result: the biggest deficit ever in terms of dollars, though several were higher in the 1980s and early 1990s as a percentage of the overall economy.
As you will notice, this post from the Huffington Post is a complete and utter bald lie by trained professionals.
Typical of American media, which have become reduced to parroting the headline provided by Washington agencies through sheer force of habit, HuffPo presented what they thought was a shocking enough piece of information, while concealing from you the actual depth and desperation of this economic moment in the history of the nation.
The $482 billion deficit the Moron (and Congress – let us not forget their role in this disaster) is leaving to his successor is underestimated by a good $80 billion dollars just for continuing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Then, we have to consider that both McCain and Obama would likely continue the Moron’s charitable contribution to George Soros, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates – in the form of tax cuts aimed to fill the nearly empty coffers of wealthiest American families – HuffPo estimates this to be another $200 billion.
$482 billion + $80 billion + $200 billion = an adjusted $762 billion deficit.
Three quarters of a trillion dollars, and we have not yet had breakfast.
But, wait! There is more.
Typical of Washington, which makes laws we must follow while they do not, government accounting for spending does not conform to accepted standards – if your accountant were to treat your income and expenditures the way Washington does the nation’s, he would go to jail.
And, you would be his cell mate.
One thing for which the government does not account is all that Social Security money you have been paying in – allegedly to support your retired parents and grandparents.
Well, there is no Social Security Trust Fund – Social Security is paid for real time – the excess monies you pay in, sold to you as a means to “fix” Social Security, actually goes to kill Iraqis, cruise carrier groups around the Indian Ocean, and – of course – pay for those tax cuts to Soros, Buffet and Gates.
Charity does begin at home, does it not?
So, by lying to you that your money was going to Social Security to help Grandma buy groceries, Washington was able to beat you out of another couple of hundred billion dollars.
In 2003, according to the New York Times, that excess FICA tax you paid to Washington allowed the Moron to hide $160 billion dollars of the deficit.
$762 billion + $160 billion = a whopping $992 billion dollar deficit.
I bet you thought we were finished.
Which only proves you are a silly, gullible, and naive ass.
Just the kind of idiot who could be sold a 60 year bill for containing a threat that doesn’t even exist, and hasn’t existed for nearly twenty years.
The excess monies you have been paying into Social Security, and, which has ended up supporting the troops in long, leisurely, cruises around the Mediterranean, will come due as the baby boomers retire.
A business with such a liability would have to tell Soros, Buffet, and Gates – and their other shareholders – that it was carrying this financial iceberg on its books.
Not so for America Inc.: so you have no way of knowing – unless you turned off American Idol and did some research with Google – that this bill is accruing, and adding to the real deficit each year.
The New York Times estimated in 2003 this bill was another $370 billion on your tab.
$922 billion + $370 billion = $1.3 trillion.
And, growing as we write this.
I think you should have read the fine print when the Moron and his filthy NeoCon crew – and all the other Morons before him – seduced you with the idea of Full Spectrum Dominance.
Did we mention that the New York Times, in the same article, estimated the total liability to you for the unfunded Social Security Trust Fund at $10.5 trillion?
We would imagine they just rounded it down to the nearest half trillion dollars.
That was in 2003.
It is now 2008.
Do you know where your wallet is?
Boy, we sure do hope you invested wisely.
Because we did not include the price you will have to pay for all those young kids you sent off to murder 1.2 million Iraqis and Afghanis for absolutely no apparent reason.
For small things like shattered brains, limbs, psyches, and families – not too mention the odd suicide here and there.
You know, for the kids.
Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz have estimated this price tag at the mere pittance of a further $3 trillion.
We wonder when the collection agencies will begin harassing you at dinner.
Oh yeah, we almost forgot: Barack would like you to okay adding another 90,000 troops to shore up our creaky Full Spectrum Dominance.
Should we just add that to your tab?
To be continued
Continued from here.
To the question, “Is serious left criticism of government’s share of GDP possible?”, we have so far offered a review of changes in that share from 1914 to the 21st Century.
We have offered an explanation for the changes in the government’s share of GDP, using the words and actions of successive administrations, and showing how these changes, in every case, were linked to what Bertrand Russell correctly called, “payment for past wars or preparation for future wars…”
In the case of the United States, by 1950, we suggest this, “public expenditure of most civilized Governments”, had been enshrined in national economic policy under the rubric, “Full Employment”, meaning not the right of Americans to a decent job with a living wage, but the conversion of the economy itself to building, supplying, maintaining, and provisioning a Cordon Militaire around the Soviet Union and its satellites.
It would seem to follow that whatever, “imbalances”, in the economy to which Jared Bernstein refers are connected to this militarization of the American economy, or, heavily influenced by that conversion.
The militarization of the economy is, fundamentally, the diversion of human effort from the satisfaction of human need – the diversion of human productive capacities from its logical conclusion in the act of human consumption; the detachment of the act of production from the act of consumption.
In practical terms, this presents the paradox of over-production and under-consumption in a new historical form, as massive effort is devoted to the production of military armaments, and other ex-consumption items, while millions go with basic needs unmet – education, housing, medical care, decent wages, etc. – necessary infrastructure crumbles into disrepair, and even to the bizarre outcome that poor backward nations like India and China provide, essentially gratis, hundred of billions in consumer goods and capital to the richest nation in human history.
Let them eat dirt cookies!
Above all else, it is a hellish and repugnant squandering of the wealth of the nation and the entire world – wealth which is not the least bit measured in the output of goods or by artificial statistics which are the fetish of economists, but only in our free time, and the possibilities for unencumbered self-development.
It is this astonishing waste of human effort that Jared Bernstein’s candidate, Barack Obama, and his opponent, John McCain, seek not only to continue, but to expand if either is elected to the Presidency this fall.
We could continue to wax eloquent on the possibility for a society devoted to human needs, to human self-development, to the unprecedented burst of human creativity and productivity that would be unleashed with the breaking of the national security state.
Fine words, indeed! But, no more than wishing pigs to fly, were it not impossible that the present circumstances should continue.
Truth be known, we have no illusion you will waken from your stupor to seize your life back from the relentless machinery of empire – the designers of our present circumstances knew you better than your own mother – intellectually lazy, dissipate, incapable of forming a coherent thought – all in all, a populace completely in tune with all the most notable qualities of the present occupant of the White House.
Yes, the Moron is your special product.
Were circumstances to depend on you rousing yourself from a six decades long slumber, we might as well await the Second Coming.
Most notable in this regard: whatever your personal judgment as to the necessity for the Cordon Militare erected around the Soviet Union, no matter which side of the Cold War you held to be least offensive, no matter your political loyalties to dogmas of Republican or Democratic administrations, one fact stands in sharp relief:
The Soviet Union collapsed – just as predicted – nearly twenty years ago, yet, the machinery of war allegedly erected to counter its (again) alleged existential threat to the United States continues to grow unimpeded by any significant domestic opposition.
Down the rabbit hole of history.
And, you are still cruising the oceans with carrier groups, while deadly hydra-headed missiles slip silently through the planet’s deep waters, threatening the extinction of life itself.
And, this is considered by the brightest and mostly worldly among you to be normal behavior.
The nations then dominated by the Soviet Union, whose military-industrial potentials were supposed to augment the military power of their Soviet overlords, are, today, being integrated into the G8, NATO and the European Union, and, in several cases, adding to the coalition of the willing currently piling up bodies in both Iraq and Afghanistan, or, stocking the aisles of Wal-Mart.
The Cordon Militaire erected around the now defunct Soviet threat, under the banner of containment, has now been given new life under the banner of Full Spectrum Dominance while you were watching reruns of American Idol.
Remember the Alamo!
Remember the Maine!
Remember the Lusitania!
Remember Pearl Harbor!
Remember the 38th Parallel!
Remember the Gulf of Tonkin!
How often has some convenient outrage has been raised as a justification for you to do that which you have always been more than willing to do.
Were this latest outrage not to exist, would we not invent it?
It follows, thus, the events of September 11, 2001, which have served to give justification the slaughter of a million Arabs, the befouling of mankind’s own cradle, and the overture to World War IV, draw their power not from the wild fanaticism of cave dwellers, but from you.
And, just as likely, the frustration of these designs hinge not on you, as you imagine yourself – the injured and innocent party – but must be the very forces you unleash, which impose themselves on you as a consequence of your own actions, and, as an impenetrable barrier to the furtherance of your designs.
Simply stated, we are forced to consider the circumstance under which, despite your further efforts to extend government’s share of GDP in service to your murderous perversities, the very extension of that share becomes an intolerable burden to you – a burden which must be thrown off on pain of your self-destruction.
To be continued
Continued from here.
On January 12, 1951, President Truman sent his economic recommendations based on the findings of NSC-68 to Congress.
The preamble spoke of a dire existential threat:
We face enormously greater economic problems, as I transmit this fifth annual Economic Report, than at any time since the end of World War II. Although our economic strength is now greater than ever before, very large new burdens of long duration are now being imposed upon it.
The United States is pledged and determined, along with other free peoples, to cheek aggression and to advance freedom. Arrayed against the free world are large and menacing forces. The great manpower under the control of Soviet communism is being driven with fanatic zeal to build up military and industrial strength. We invite disaster if we underestimate the forces working against us.
To respond to the alleged threat posed by the Soviet Union, Truman call for, “a large and very rapid increase in our armed strength, while helping to strengthen our allies. This means more trained men in uniform, and more planes, tanks, ships, and other military supplies.”
To support this massive expansion, Truman outlined an immediate plan to divert the nation’s economic output from increasing consumer goods, to building “as rapidly as possible, an expansion of our capacity for producing military supplies. This must be substantially greater than would be required to achieve our present targets for armed strength; it must be large enough to enable us to swing rapidly into full-scale war production if necessity should require.”
Truman pushed to permanently enshrine “growth” as the fundamental economic policy of the nation. Such growth would be essential if the United States were to sustain a high rate of military expansion for a indefinite period of time, yet, continue to improve the living standards of Americans.
Truman demanded that Americans be required work a forty hours week, indefinitely, to sustain an equally indefinite military cordon around the Soviet Union.
But, given the requirements of the containment effort Truman proposed, even with an unnecessarily long 40 hour workweek the projected labor force in 1950 would be unequal to the task. The pool of available workers had to be expanded:
In terms of manpower, our present defense targets will require an increase of nearly one million men and women in the armed forces within a few months, and probably not less than four million more in defense production by the end of the year. This means that an additional 8 percent of our labor force, and possibly much more, will be required by direct defense needs by the end of the year.
These manpower needs will call both for increasing our labor force by reducing unemployment and drawing in women and older workers, and for lengthening hours of work in essential industries. These manpower requirements can be met. There will be manpower shortages, but they can be solved.
Although, in his own words, the economic strength of the nation had never been stronger – this coming on the heels of World War II when the United States had been able to divert 50 percent of its GDP to the war effort, causing what amounted to an inconvenience to American’s consumption standards – by the standards of what was being proposed by Truman even this massive economic power was insufficient! The nation would be required to maintain a similar, though substantially less intense, effort for decades if necessary.
Domestically, under the Truman Doctrine, the economy was no longer the means by which Americans satisfied their basic needs, it was being converted to the mere logistical tail of a newly emerging military empire.
For the fiscal years 1951 and 1952 combined, new obligational authority enacted or anticipated for our primary national security programs–for our military forces, for economic and military aid to other free nations, for atomic energy and stockpiling, and for related purposes–will probably total more than 140 billion dollars. Actual expenditures on these programs in the fiscal year 1950, the last full year before the Korean outbreak, totaled about 18 billion dollars. At the present time, they are running at an annual rate of somewhat more than 20 billion dollars. By the end of this calendar year, they should attain an annual rate between 45 and 55 billion dollars, or from 25 to 35 billion dollars above the present rate. The actions we are taking should enable us within twelve months, to expand this rate of expenditure very rapidly if necessity should require.
Current expenditures for these now represent about 7 percent of our total national output. By the end of this year, this proportion may rise to as much as 18 percent. This compares with the roughly 45 percent of our total output that we were devoting to defense during the peak year of World War II. While the present program is thus very substantially short of the requirements imposed by full-scale war, it nonetheless requires a major diversion of effort. Furthermore, there will be a much more severe drain on some particular supply lines. By the end of the year, our expanding defense programs, including stockpiling, may be absorbing up to a third or more of the total supply of some of our basic commodities, such as copper, aluminum, and natural rubber. While direct defense requirements for steel may not total more than 10 percent of total output, the needed expansion of our essential industrial capacity will require a much greater diversion of steel from ordinary civilian uses.
Longer term, Truman envisioned sufficient excess industrial capacity to produce 50,000 planes and 35,000 tanks a year. Diversion of civilian industrial capacity would be replaced by facilities devoted primarily to military output, such as was built during World War II. Additional capacity would be needed to ramp up production of steel, copper, power, and other basic material, without, “the necessity for irksome controls extending over a long period.”
Domestic supplies of the material were not enough, so the United States had to rely on and secure, “imported supplies. Expansion of domestic plants for treating low-grade ores, and of ore production facilities in Labrador and Venezuela, together with related transportation facilities…”
Unlike World War II, Truman’s Cordon Militaire would not be a crash effort, so building in the necessary production capacity could be stretched over decades:
If we were now engaged in full-scale war, we could not afford to devote manpower and materials to these longer-range programs. But to fall to do so under present circumstances would be short-sighted and potentially costly. Action now is essential, to make us stronger year by year in all of the components which enter into any military strength that we may need in future.
As Truman envisioned it, the steady and substantial involuntary contribution of unnecessary working time by tens of millions in the labor force, and ten of millions more identified to be drawn into the labor force over the succeeding decades, would be essential.
Truman’s economic recommendations were the poignant moment in the flowering of the Gospel of Full Employment – a full employment which aimed not at making sure every worker had a job, but at ensuring the productive capacity of the nation could be fully employed by successive administration in the task of building and maintaining the Empire.
To be continued
Continued from here:
Called me paranoid, but when I read Steve Casey’s afore-mentioned passage:
As [then Secretary of State Dean] Acheson noted in one discussion on how to sell NSC-68, “speeches alone would not do it, that people read and heard what was said and then turned their attention to other matters.” What was vital was an incident, a crisis in one of the many flash points of the Cold War. Seen in this light, the start of the Korean War on June 24, 1950, was a godsend.
It immediately calls to mind another passage of more recent vintage:
Any serious effort at transformation must occur within the larger framework of U.S. national security strategy, military missions and defense budgets. The United States cannot simply declare a “strategic pause” while experimenting with new technologies and operational concepts. Nor can it choose to pursue a transformation strategy that would decouple American and allied interests. A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies.
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.
If you are well read, you will note this latter quote is from the document, REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century.
It styled itself as “A Report of The Project for the New American Century,” and was published, September 2000.
One year later, the twin towers fell.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. — K. Marx
To be continued