Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

McCain budget weak on national security

Dear Editor,

“Budgetopia” (Washington Times “Nation” A19, 8-22-08) showing the spending and savings of both Presidential candidates Obama and McCain -- if they are elected -- tells a lot about their commitment to national security.

Senator McCain, who admittedly knows little about economics, appears to put budget cuts ahead of national security. Senator Obama who supposedly has less experience in national security actually devotes twice the funding as McCain to increased military funding and three times the funding for “green technology” that will help us break our addition to terrorists oil. But more importantly Obama wants to “double” our “foreign aid” budget. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is clear about the value of dramatically increasing our nations ‘soft power’ as an equally important tool in defeating terrorists. Earlier this year he acknowledged the “need for a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security--diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development”. If Al Qaeda is truly the murderous threat that McCain and other national security ‘experts’ claim then Obama’s budget is better suited to addressing this threat than McCain.

But even more importantly, increasing our foreign aid for health, education, water, sanitation, nutrition and microcredit efforts is also the most effective means of reducing a far greater threat to Americans and our way of life than Al Qaeda – nature’s inevitable pandemics. A future bird flu which could easily kill more Americans than the blast of a terrorists nuclear weapon.

Improving the lives of the poor and inventing greener technology that could help wean them from their need for terrorist’s oil will also assist in reducing our contributions to climate change.

The links between US foreign aid and improving our nation’s security is clearly detailed in a bipartisan bill H. RES. 1268, but it is H. Res 1078 calling for a new Global Marshall Plan that calls for an adequate budget for a comprehensive approach to national security. And H Res 1078’s funding increase would come from new sources of funding like a ‘Tobin tax’ producing no increase in our already overstretched federal budget.

The primary objection most conservatives have to such a ‘global tax’ is their unexamined fear of losing our sovereignty. But as Gen. Victor Renuart, Commander of the U.S. Northern Command, recently stated regarding a wide array of threats all American’s face… “we must sacrifice some of our sovereignty” if we want to “increase our national security”. General Renuart was commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom and knows more than most about the threats we face from both traditional and non-traditional threats.

Obama clearly understands that or national security is most improved by improving the lives of everyone on this interdependent plant and by making friends in faraway places to effectively prevent common threats. And, it looks like McCain is more interested in winning the votes of fiscal conservatives.

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