Monthly Archives: October 2018

For Whom is the Economy Good?

I have to wonder why some folks think our current economy is so good. It’s primarily the economists who say that plus the highly partisan political leaders on the right.  My guess is that the average American doesn’t feel that way– whether it’s because they think taxes are too high or because they think wages are too low.

My question is: If our economy is so good, why aren’t we doing more to share its goodness with the general population? Why don’t we embrace Medicare for all? Why don’t we payoff the massive student debt? Why don’t we spend as much on education as we spend on the military? Why have we not made any dent in the numbers of homeless or the people below poverty?

A related observation is that it seems that our global threats these days are economic, political, and technical. We are not being threatened by invasion of murderous hordes, unlike some of the world’s countries, despite the rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration. The threat of some rogue country sending atomic missiles at our heartland and major cities is minimal. We simply are not facing threats that call for a large military equipped with high-tech toys. The U.S. GAO recently released a study showing that the greatest threat to our weapons systems is not more advanced systems from other nations but rather cyber-hacking.  Russia or China or even ISIS don’t need large missile and weapons systems to attack and immobilize the U.S. armed forces– they just need a smart high school student with access to a Raspberry Pi and wifi. The money spent on weapons systems and large items like fighter jets and submarines is being wasted on tools that can be readily hacked and disabled.

So I guess that’s two issues that I wonder about: 1) by many accounts our economy is strong and therefore we should be able to afford projects that improve the lives of our citizens (e.g., health care, education, efficient transportation); and 2) we’re spending trillions now on military hardware and forces when those tools are not what we need and should instead be spending that money on education and life-improvement for those who threaten us.

There is a better way.