Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
In a 1980 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan asked “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”
I thought it would be interesting and informative if that same question were asked today.
Here are a few answers. All comparisons are between January 2009 and January 2011.
Gallon of gas: $1.83 to $3.11, up 63 percent
European Brent crude oil: $43.48 to $99.02, up 128 percent
Corn: $3.56 per bushel to $6.33, up 78 percent
Soybeans: $9.66 to $13.75, up 42 percent
Sugar per pound: $13.37 to $35.39, up 165 percent
Unemployment: 7.6 percent to 9.4 percent, up 23.7 percent
Number unemployed: 11.6 million to 14.5 million, up 24.7 percent
Federal employees (excluding military): 2,779,000 to 2,840,000 up 2.2 percent
Citizens on food stamps: 31,983,716 to 43,200,878, up 35 percent
Citizens drawing unemployment: 7,526,598 to 9,193,838, up 22 percent
Long-term unemployed: 2.6 million to 6.4 million, up 146 percent
People in poverty (2008 to 2009): 39.8 million to 43.6 million, up 9.5 percent
Failed banks: 140 to 164, up 17 percent
National debt: $10.6 trillion to $14 trillion, up 32 percent
We have accumulated debt in those two years at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation’s history, with no end in sight. And yet the 2012 budget request from the White House is for even more deficit spending. Where will it all end?
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) said, “Rarely is there new wisdom. Frequently are there forgotten lessons. The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”
Thomas Jefferson said “The principal of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
As I watch the Tea Party and their cronies hack away at the very fiber of our American society, cutting funding for education, senior services, Medicare, public radio and TV, even our fragile and threatened environment, I wonder when they will get around to addressing the 800-pound gorilla in our room.
In May 2010, the Daily Beast reported, “For the first time since 2003, the monthly cost of the war in Afghanistan has exceeded the monthly cost of the war in Iraq. In February, the Pentagon spent $6.7 billion in Afghanistan and $5.5 billion in Iraq. The change is driven largely by troop increases in Afghanistan. There are now 87,000 troops in Afghanistan, while 94,000 troops remain in Iraq.”
It would be refreshing to see Ron Paul, et. al., raise their voices and take an ax to the monstrous war machine monster we have allowed to be created.
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