May 14th, 2012
By Stephanie Devereaux -- We keep hearing politicians clamor for private school vouchers provided by government,
so people could send their children to private schools and get government subsidies to help with the costs of these exclusive schools. Usually, the problem with these "vouchers" is that they provide subsidies to private schools for wealthy people for who can already afford to send their children to these schools. They just want it done this way because then government money will go to wealthy people, and the net effect over time will be to eliminate public schools for middle class children, the working poor, and impoverished people. And if we are shipping all the good jobs out of country where we can build cheap consumers goods for $.30 cents an hour in labor costs, with minimal benefits and environmental considerations -- then the wealthy really do not need an educated, healthy middle class in America anymore -- they are no longer dependent on Americans to make their heap goods for them to sell in the emerging economies of the world -- so why waste any more money on them?
The tragedy of the way our politicians prioritize things in this country is that we could pay for universal, free education -
- from pre-school thru PHD, Med School, or whatever -- for about $30 Billion per year. That would be around 1% of our national budget.
Or to be even clearer: if a person making $60,000 per year paid 1% of his/her $60,000 income per year for education, it would cost about $50 per month. Easily Affordable!
We spend $2 billion per week - or something like that -- on the Afghanistan war.
We have spent over $1 trillion they say on the Iraq war -- and the cost keeps rising as we care for the veterans injured in the war. We probably waste billions of year by not competitively bidding for drugs in the Medicare program. Medicare Advanced costs several hundred billion dollars it doesn't have to -- although, if the Supreme Court does not throw it out, the Affordable Care Act will reduce that amount. The Defense Department budget is between $850 and $900 billion per year. so at $850 billion per year, it would take about $2.5 billion per month -- out of the $70 billion per month we spend on Defense -- to give our children a free education -- as advanced as their abilities would permit. What a tragedy not to do this. Imagine the country we would have!
We, as a nation, have invested 100's of billions in projects and programs that nobody wants and many of which do not even work.
And by just reducing the Department of Defense budget from $850 billion to $720 billion per year -- we could have Medicare for all with no premiums and free, universal health care for all our citizens. And if we competitively bid for pharmaceutical drug prices and let the Bush tax cuts expire -- its paid for already.
So by doing two things -- reducing the Defense Budget by $130 billion per year (it was $330 billion
or something like that by the time Bill Clinton left office) and eliminating the cap on Social Security -- we could have universal, free education for all our citizens, free healthcare for all Americans -- and double the current monthly Social Security Benefits and Social Security would still be solvent for at least the next 10,000 years.
So why don't we do it. Because it is not something the wealthy in this country wants --
therefore the politicians dependent on them for their financial support will not vote for it. The wealthy -- and most politicians -- have plenty of money f0r their healthcare and to educate their children -- and the wealthy have no need for a retirement program -- so they spend lots of money on campaign contributions and lobbyists -- so that none of these programs ever get voted into law. It's that simple. It's not because we can't afford it as a country. It's not because we are not already spending the money somewhere. It's because the rich and super rich do not need it -- so they don't want to see the country invest any of our national resources in it. Let's do something useful with it -- they say through their lobbyists. Like more tax cuts -- or investment tax credits for moving our manufacturing plants out of the U.S. -- or something like that.
It's all a matter of choice. When are we going to stop asking our politicians "nicely" for it -- and start demanding it!
That's probably all it will take. Therefore -- I hereby demand universal free education and universal free healthcare for all Americans -- as our fundamental right and entitlement -- as Americans and as human beings.