This is a guest article by Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks.

As the ongoing debate over raising the debt ceiling of the U.S. national debt continues, several key issues are being disregarded by the Tea Party and Conservative Republicans in their efforts to eliminate entitlement programs to reduce the national debt. A prime example of Republican “revisionist history” when their party does not control the White House.

According to CBS News, the national debt will increase by approximately $880 billion in 2011 as a result of defense spending in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lybia alone. According to CBS and other credible sources, the spending on these wars in the last ten years approaches $2 trillion. As of June 22, 2011, the national debt has risen to an all-time high of $14.2 trillion.

In comparison, the debt was a mere $270 billion after World War II and, by the time Richard Nixon began his second term in 1973, the debt had grown to $466 billion. The debt increased by nearly $5 trillion (71.9%) during the recent Bush administration. It’s the biggest increase under any president in U.S. history. The two-term Bush administration raised the debt limit seven times to a final amount of $10.6 trillion by late summer 2007.

Some estimate the cost of these wars increased our national debt by more than 33% ($4 trillion). But most estimate the costs to be much higher. Yet others estimate the total increase in debt is nearly equal to the cost of the two wars and the taxes lost because of the Bush tax cuts.

An accurate dollar amount is virtually impossible to ascertain because Congress masks spending on these wars by separate appropriations, not included in the line item budget approved by Congress. Congressional smoke and mirrors that prevent the general public from understand the true cost of the wars abroad. It also allows politicians and pundits to create statistics to prove whatever point suits them on a given day.

Then there is the issue of foreign aid to countries like Pakistan who provide our enemies with sanctuaries and confidential security information because of their inherent sympathies with the radical Muslim movement. The memory of bin-Laden hiding in plain sight in Pakistan is still fresh to all of us.

In the last ten years the U.S. has given more than 17.8 billion in aid to Pakistan alone. This is more than the cost of the EPA for any two years during that period. The EPA currently receives $10.8 billion annually up from $7.8 in the Bush administration. The Tea party wants the EPA abolished leaving oil companies like BP to police themselves. So how did that work for Americans?

The Department of Defense (DOD) receives more than $650 billion a year which does not include the more than $50 billion spent annually on Homeland Security or the amounts not included in the line item budget approved by Congress to fund the ongoing wars.

The U.S. spends $128 billion on education. DOD receives five times the line item budget amount for defense than education. The ongoing wars in 2011 will receive six and one-half times as much money as education.

Also, more than one-third of U.S. foreign aid goes to Israel and Egypt, despite the fact that neither country is a developing nation. For example, in August 2007, the Bush Administration agreed to increase U.S. military assistance to Israel (one of the most technologically advanced armies on the globe) by $6 billion.

But our government does not give out cash to these nations. It purchases such goods as genetically modified seeds from Monsanto to give to African nations as aid and military hardware and training provided by large American corporations to many nations, who profit from foreign aid. To reduce foreign aid is to reduce Republican “entitlements” to corporations.

Our broken health system receives only $99 billion while social security’s line item budget is only $10 billion, which explains why the elderly and disabled receive such poor attention to their complaints and needs.

The number of persons enrolled in Medicare is expected to increase from 47 million in 2010 to 80 million by 2030. In 2010, an estimated 156 million people paid into social security but only 47 million elderly and disabled received benefits. One out of every six Americans is on social security.

The Tea Party and Conservative Republicans are seeking to reduce the national debt by cannibalizing Medicare, Social Security, our health system, education and other entitlement programs while continuing to spend trillions on war and foreign aid, while demanding tax cuts.

In effect, their solution requires seniors, the disabled and underprivileged to pay for these wars by reducing their retirement benefits, reducing medical care, health care benefits and by offering a lesser form of education for those who need it most.

In 1968, against the howling opposition of the sixties antiwar generation, the government adopted a unified budget. The surpluses in social security trust funds were converted to the general fund and used to offset the national debt. But for Congress’ short-sighted approach to solving the rising cost of the Vietnam war, social security would not be in fiscal trouble now. Despite this despicable act by Congress, social security paid for itself up until this year.

Our blog, Rumors of the Death of Medicare and Social Security in the Upcoming Decade Are Greatly Exaggerated Because the Government Failed to Factor in the Shorter Life Span of Generations Eating GMO Foods, Too Much Factory Farmed Meats, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Drinking Too Much Contaminated Water, can be found at: www.bloggernews.net/126752

It is folly to focus on benefits paid to Americans while spending trillions on war, foreign aid and rebuilding infrastructures in Arab nations swimming in oil revenues. Why can’t Iraq pay for its freedom and democracy out of its production of oil? Iraq is becoming an oil rich nation again at our expense while gas prices hit an all-time high and fuel the ongoing recession.

The difference between the Great Depression of the 1930s and our current recession/depression is there was no war going on and President Roosevelt could concentrate his fiscal policies on solving the crisis. In effect, the Great Depression and memories of WWI delayed America taking action during Hitler and Japan’s rise.  Unfortunately, Obama does not have that luxury.

Tea Party and Conservative Republican proposals will leave our country weaker than reducing defense expenditures because we will end up with a poorly educated citizenry, Americans dying younger every year because of poor medical treatment, poor quality foods and a wider education gap in the sciences which is making the U.S. a secondary player in modern scientific achievement. We must stop spending money abroad and target problems in America with our tax dollars.

Rather than address problems at home, the Tea Party and Conservative Republicans would like the poor and elderly, who are traditionally Democrats, to pay for wars that almost exclusively benefit wealthy corporations who traditionally support the Republican Party.

Economist Paul Krugman commented on the increase in the national debt by the Bush administration, in May 2011:

What happened to the budget surplus the federal government had in 2000? The answer is, three main things. First, there were the Bush tax cuts, which added roughly $2 trillion to the national debt over the last decade. Second, there were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which added an additional $1.1 trillion or so. And third was the Great Recession, which led both to a collapse in revenue and to a sharp rise in spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs.

The New York Times, Washington Post and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as well as the Pew Center reported that the cause of a $12.7 trillion shift in the national debt situation, from a 2001 CBO forecast of $2.3 trillion cumulative surplus by 2011, to the estimated $10.4 trillion public debt in 2011 were caused by the following Bush administration “drivers”, not the Obama administration:

*    Revenue declines due to two recessions, separate from the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003: 28%
*    Defense spending increases: 15%
*    Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003: 13%
*    Increases in net interest: 11% (the result of borrowing to pay for wars)
*    Other non-defense spending: 10%
*    Other tax cuts: 8%
*    Obama Stimulus: 6%
*    Medicare Part D: 2%
*    Other reasons: 7%

In the last decade, Medicare and social security did not have a significant impact on the national debt. Since the cost of these wars is not included in the annual budget, the deficit is growing more rapidly than reported by our government. So where did the money used to fund the ongoing wars go?

First, it went to defense contractors like Haliburton and Blackwater (now Xe Enterprises) for building war materials and aiding in the prosecution of these wars – many with no competitive bids or oversight by the Bush administration. Almost weekly, billions of dollars are discovered stolen, missing or wasted by defense contractors and the military during the Bush administration.

Second, billions have been spent on schools, hospitals and rebuilding infrastructure like bridges in Iraq instead of here in the U.S. Watching Laura Bush spend billions on her pet projects in Iraq made us want to puke. Americans never saw Laura Bush suggest the building of much-needed hospitals, other medical facilities in the U.S. or raise funds for starving and homeless children in America. It is no longer about the staving children in Africa.  It is about the starving children in America.

In regard to education, it is unfortunate that the Bush administration’s “leave no child behind” program ended up leaving all of America’s children behind. It may have been the most destructive education policy in the history of the U.S. Americans will be paying for this failure for decades to come because of an increased crime rate among the poor, street gangs and a disenfranchised poor bordering on civil unrest.

The Republican trend toward ignoring education in the U.S. includes such charitable organizations as the trusts operated by Bill Gates of Microsoft and his wife who prefer to fund genetically modified foods in Africa over American educational needs at home. Perhaps this is motivated by the Gates family’s simultaneous investment in Monsanto stock. They are not alone.

As a result of these wars, disability, medical treatment for injured soldiers and payments to their families continue to increase these costs exponentially and will do so well into the future costing Americans billions even after all of the troops return home. This was certainly one of Osama bin-Laden’s admitted strategies and goals. And it has worked.

The Bush administration’s dismal record on providing help for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan must be noted. On any given day, more than 75,000 veterans are homeless in America. Republicans cannot continue to ignore the needs of soldiers who have suffered a loss of limbs and/or post traumatic stress syndrome. Many veterans felt abandoned by the Bush administration and many more are now picketing and filing lawsuits, especially in Los Angeles.

Essentially, this is a philosophical issue. The Tea Party and other Conservative Republicans take the position that we cannot afford to feed the poor, improve education, provide universal healthcare and keep America’s promise to its elderly. They are not willing to either maintain or increase taxes to pay for benefits. But they are always ready to fund more wars and aggressive police actions around the globe.

The simple fact is that none of the Bush tax cuts ever trickled down to the economy and resulted in jobs. The wealthy used their tax savings to buy more and bigger homes and the corporations are hoarding their cash instead of reinvesting in American projects that would provide jobs.

The Democrats, in turn, are concerned with rebuilding America’s infrastructure and lending aid to the poor, disadvantaged, disabled and elderly. For that they are called everything from socialists to communists.

Post 1968, our government made repeated promises to correct the absconding of social security trust funds and then did absolutely nothing about it. Now, this country is faced with a financial and philosophical crisis. The question is whether the Tea Party members will wake up one day and find they are shooting themselves in the foot by attacking social security before it is too late for them personally.

Entitlements are the only method the younger generation has of retiring in their advanced years because individual income is down and jobs are being sent overseas to countries where cheap labor and no benefits are the custom. Americans no longer have an opportunity to save for retirement because of recession, depression and the Republican focus on wars.

General George Santayana once said, “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.” The Tea Party and Conservative Republicans are trying to take the U.S. back to the Robber Baron days after the Civil War, when the advance of the industrial revolution trumped health, safety and the working conditions of every American. Only now, we have unfeeling corporate Robber Barons led by greedy CEOs replacing Rockefeller, Morgan, Ford, Edison, Bell and others.

It took the Sherman Antitrust Act, passed in 1890, books like Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and WWI to wrestle the control of our nation back from the Robber Barons. Justice Douglas in United States v. Columbia Steel Co. said:

We have here the problem of bigness. Its lesson should by now have been burned into our memory by Brandeis. The Curse of Bigness shows how size can become a menace – both industrial and social. The philosophy of the Sherman Act is that it should not exist… Industrial power should be decentralized. It should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men.

President Reagan undid all of those protections by his sudden and near total cessation of anti-trust enforcement in 1981 which effectively encouraged mergers of companies into conglomerates. The years 1984 and 1985 produced the greatest increase in corporate acquisitions in the nation’s history resulting in the decline and fall of small American businesses.

Barry C. Lynn, director of the Markets, Enterprise, and Resiliency Initiative, published convincing evidence that the failure to enforce antitrust laws since 1981 “has led to an astonishing degree of monopolization and cartelization in the American economy, from agriculture and manufacturing, to retailing.”

The authors show that what has actually happened since 1981 is just the opposite: “… technological innovation has been stifled, while the economic efficiencies enforced by monopolistic corporate behemoths have mostly taken the form of cutting employment so deeply, it has effectively crippled the ability of the U.S. economy to create jobs.”

The question is what will it take today to wrestle control from America’s largest corporations, who use bribery, outrageous political contributions and unfettered lobbying to control our government and economy. If you doubt this statement research the actions of Monsanto in the past 25 years.

Corporate profits are up as are retained earnings. But American corporations are not using their retained capital to rehire Americans in a contracting job market. America’s largest corporations have found ways to make billions in profit with fewer American employees and by sending their work to other countries where labor is significantly cheaper. They are not motivated to rehire the Americans they laid off.

Near bankrupt economies in Greece, Ireland, and most African nations are previews of the decline and fall of the world economy as we know it. WWI was caused by the same economic “raping and pillaging” of nations by American and British Robber Barons of that time coupled with abuses to the labor force that caused revolutions in Russia and other countries.

The difference now is that the numbers at stake are exponentially higher and the worldwide information revolution makes it more difficult for large banks and corporations to hide their skulduggery. Greece will be bailed out by the World Bank. That you can be sure of.

The World Bank, Germany and the U.K. have no choice because, to do otherwise, would expose these banks to the effects of a declining Euro. When the EU was formed no one correctly calculated the effects of one or more members going bankrupt. As a result, EU nations are now bickering over the euro and “open borders”.

Sadly, the issues in this article will only get worse with a fractured nation arguing over proposals that are largely ineffectual or advanced for religious-based or conservative political goals. Leveraging funding to legislate either goal is a danger to the survival of our nation. But until the Tea Party and Conservative Republicans take their blinders off and accept that they are part of the problem, not the solution, little progress will be made.

In the meantime, there are two revolutions stirring in the U.S. One by the radical white supremacist movement and the other by middle class citizens who are being deprived of their homes and livelihoods by an uncaring government.

One is potentially violent and the other could be if the number of homeless and starving Americans, including children, continues to increase at their present rate.

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N., are the authors of award winning books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories) and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner) available at HowToEliminatePain.com, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.

It’s Not Your Fault – Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction is now available at HowtoEliminatePain.com, Amazon and booksellers everywhere. The authors latest book, The Food Revolution Papers – A Primer on What’s in Your Food, is due in bookstores on October 1, 2011.

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks are the co-hosts of Surviving the 21st Century with Simon Barrett on Blogger News Network on Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. PST/1:00 PM EST and The Food Revolution Papers, on Thursday mornings at 9:00 AM PST, 12:00 noon PST, found at http://www.bloggernews.net or Blog Talk Radio.

Be Sociable, Share!