Here's a bunch of dichotomies for ya--some might call it hypocrisy, but I'll defer to myself and take the higher road: California is a "rich" state. Put it this way--where in the world can you drive down a neighborhood street and see several Rolls Royce Phantom-whatevers, priced at $400,000 per auto, or any other of such enormous high-dollar (that phrase from a former client who sold upgraded RV's and had that southern drawl that made "high dollar" sound like melting dark chocolate in your hand) vehicles that you wonder how all that money got concentrated in such a small geographic area.
Then you read the latest piece of news about school teacher layoffs because the state income tax is down due to the economy, or whatever else the "state" needs to spend money on is leaving not enough for the requisite number of teachers, hence the layoffs.
Not that the school curriculum in its present form is any good, as anyone who's read this blog knows, but less teachers-per-student makes a bad setup worse.
One of those Rolls Royce's could cover 7 plus a fraction of teachers--not that I would begrudge a rich guy his perks. That's not my business--what is my
business is when my government chooses to spend money on a set of priorities that is not within the realm of reality. That's the question. What is
reality. I have the answer here--it's really that simple!
I thought I was under the safe assumption that all the money the US spends on weapons--military might, including planes, nuclear submarines, tanks, bombs,
bullets, you-name-it--was a necessary sacrifice with which we taxpayers have to go along in order to provide the sacrosanct security of our own backyards.
They can have that awful war in Iraq, but we'll keep Hill Valley immune from such awful events such as bombs, bullets, and destruction by paying dearly for
Never mind the untold waste of defense contractors, who charge the US government ridiculous amounts for something like a pliers--$1,000--or a toilet seat and on and on--we've all heard and read about this business. It's all in the
name of keeping the homeland free from hassle.
Well, that isn't exactly how it works: the US military is occupying Iraq with a force of 150,000 troops. Could any country in the world effectively come
to US shores and bother this country like that? Not on this planet, in our lifetimes. Oh, but you say there are those pesky nukes.
Intelligent people have written about our misguided fears, guided intentionally by selfish interests, weapons manufacturers, and how much of taxpayer money has gone to greasing their pockets due to this fear mongering:
"America faces real threats that need no embellishment. But...politicians have often exaggerated threats for political advantage. "Fear is a very dangerous
thing," said British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin after World War I. "It is quite true that it may act as a deterrent in people's minds against war, but
it is much more likely to act to make them want to increase armaments...."
"...Paul Nitze, the principal author of the 1950 NSC report, intentionally exaggerated Soviet nuclear capacities and minimized those of the US in order to "bludgeon the mass mind of 'government' "—as Nitze's superior, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, admitted years later. Although the Soviet Union had lost at least 25 million people and half its industry in World War II, Nitze portrayed the
USSR as a fanatical enemy that, within a few years, would threaten
America with an estimated two hundred nuclear weapons. According to his report, the then American stockpile of 1,400 weapons would be insufficient to counter such a threat. Nitze's report came at a time when international events, including the Korean War, seemed to validate this dark vision. In response, Truman quadrupled the defense budget and began a strategic program that would increase the US nuclear arsenal to some 20,000 thermonuclear bombs by 1960 and 32,000 by 1966."
The money spent on armaments takes away from all of our domestic needs: health care, education, and all the rest. It has continued throughout US history:
"In 2000, the Rumsfeld Commission on space weapons again used a series of worst-case assumptions to conclude that the country faced an imminent "space Pearl Harbor." That report led to the current US strategy to deploy new weapons—such as orbiting interceptors to target other nations' satellites and missiles—for total US domination of outer space. In fact, no nation credibly threatens the vast US satellite system. "
So now when I read about teacher layoffs, in sunny Southern California, I think about the guys at the top levels in charge of allocating the money, and what
kinds of cars they drive. But only uninitiated actually drive cars--the fear mongerers are, and have always been, in the back seat with a chauffeur
handling the mundane traffic.