Blowing up the BUDGET

What’s the stupidest idea you can think of? Taking a swing at a cop? Letting Bill Cosby mix you a drink? How about giving $80 billion each year to someone who doesn’t need it and never even requested it? I think we have a winner!

Earlier this fall, Congress passed what was quietly dubbed as a routine defense budget authorization bill. This $700 billion legislation, which included an annual spending increase of $80 billion, was passed by both houses in rare bipartisan fashion and with little fanfare. Despite both Republicans and establishment Democrats telling us that things like free public college tuition and Medicare-for-all are too expensive, we apparently do have the money to spend tens of billions of dollars on weapons that the military, which is already leaps-and-bounds more powerful than every other military on Earth combined, says they have absolutely no use for.

It’s easy to go after President Donald Trump for wasting taxpayer money on military spending for which the Pentagon didn’t ask for. The real culprits in this are those members of Congress who actually passed this bill because they’re more interested in giving our money away to local defense contractors who fund their re-election campaigns than providing healthcare access to their non-wealthy constituents.

We need to stop rewarding politicians who spend money like drunken sailors on a three-day pass on weapons that will likely never see combat. Republicans and Democrats are both exceedingly tone-deaf to just how insulting it is to voters when they do this as they simultaneously tell us that funding basic social programs like healthcare is too costly.

Let’s pretend I owe you money and haven’t paid you back in several decades. Every time you ask me to fulfill my responsibility, I tell you that I can afford to only give you a tiny fraction of what you are owed, acting as if you should be grateful to receive even that. Then one day, you find out that I just purchased a new aircraft carrier (in my defense, my neighbor bought a pair of AEGIS cruisers and I wasn’t about to be outdone). Wouldn’t that make you the slightest bit upset? More to the point, if I were your Senator or member of Congress, would you still vote for me?

Now, if you are of the libertarian persuasion and believe that government does not owe its citizens access to basic healthcare (or anything else, for that matter), I respect your conviction even though I disagree with it. But setting that particular debate aside, I suspect we do agree that our elected officials should not be wasting our money. The only way this madness will ever stop is if we start holding our representatives accountable when they vote for idiotic bills like this.

Speaking of which, did Senator Bill Nelson stand up for his constituents and vote against this obscene example of corporate welfare run amok? No. In fact, the genius voted for it. This effectively proves, quite conclusively, that Nelson answers to lobbyists and corrupt special interests instead of his constituents. Did I mention that he’s up for re-election in 2018?

Of course, the single worst-kept secret in our nation’s capital is that most of our elected officials work at the behest of their campaign contributors as opposed to their constituents.

This insanity masquerading as governance needs to end before it bankrupts our country. That’s why I urge you to call Congressman John Rutherford at 202-225-2501, Congressman Al Lawson at 202-225-0123, Congressman Ron DeSantis at 202-225-2706, Sen. Marco Rubio at 202-224-3041 and Sen. Nelson at 202-224-5274 to tell them that wasting this much money on equipment that nobody asked for, while basic social programs go unfunded, will no longer be tolerated.

Craig is a self-syndicated columnist and software engineer in Seattle.

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