Hey! Democracy! Choices! | Tom H. Hastings

Hey! Democracy! Choices! | Tom H. Hastings

What, we wonder, can we do about it?

What is there to do about a lack of funding for our public schools and education in general? Just looking at the federal level, despite an economy that is doing very well at the moment, Trump’s proposed 2019 education budget chops it from $68 billion in 2016 to $63 billion in 2019, cheating children while at the same time spending more and more on war profiteers like Lockheed and Boeing.

Indeed, the daily contracts for the war department are staggering. Just today (Sept. 10, 2018), Boeing is awarded $2.85 billion, $51 million to Lockheed, $19 million to Northrup Grumman, an additional contract of $14 million more to Boeing, and $12 million to BAE Technology Solutions.

Those are just the Air Force contracts for one random day. The Navy’s, Army’s, and Defense Logistics Agency list other contracts for the day, each one in the millions, even more than $200 million for L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace.

But, I hear you snort, that’s how Trump is creating jobs!

Nope. That’s how he’s losing them, once the new budgets kick in.

Economists figure it by jobs created per million dollars spent. The military contractors produce far fewer jobs/millions than does education. Nationwide, the average is 17 jobs per million (or 17,000 jobs/billion), and if you just consider the government workers, including all members of all branches of the military and all agency workers, that sector actually creates 21 jobs per million spent, more than any other sector. Therefore, the private sector profits are obscenely high in Pentagon budgets.

To create more jobs, to create more educational opportunities for our young people, vote for candidates who will cut military spending and increase education. Ask your candidates for federal office very specifically about their intentions, ask incumbents about their actual voting records, and choose accordingly. Our future is at stake more than ever in this midterm election season. From an environment under attack, to foreign influence on our elections, to a drive toward the U.S. as less and less free, our opportunity to fix this starts right now.

No, I am not a registered Democrat. But it seems to me, as an analyst, that Democrats, in general, are looking out for the welfare, education, good health, and breathable air for all, while Republicans are — at least at the leadership level — mired in dirty tricks, identity politics, elite enrichment, obeisance to Putin, and craven corruption. Or, as Thomas Friedman has written, “Donald Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV.”

I want to be proud of my country and right now, bluntly, I am not. I have hope, but it revolves around regular folks rising up in rejection of Trump and his agenda in November. Our enlightened self-interest is at stake, the well-being of our children and grandchildren is in the balance. Let’s do right.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoiceDirector and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.

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