by Tommi Avicolli Mecca
A country that can spend $13 billion on one single warship while millions go hungry every day and countless others are homeless and living on the streets is a country that has absolutely no moral compass. Especially since that same country keeps cutting benefits for those who are down on their luck.
The warship, which will debut in 2016, is called the USS Gerald Ford, named for the president who pardoned Richard Nixon AKA Tricky Dick after he was forced to resign, in lieu of being impeached, because conversations he recorded in his White House office made it clear that he was knee deep in a cover up of the Watergate break-in.
The USS Gerald Ford is the most expensive warship ever developed by this nation or, in fact, any other country on the planet. The ship will also be one of the largest ever built. It will consume tons of the world’s precious resources, which isn’t good for the planet, and displace over 100,000 tons of water when it’s afloat (ditto). It will carry a 4,400 member crew and up to 75 aircraft. It’s a monster of a killing machine for a nation that has been at war for 214 of its 229 years (assuming 1776 was its birth date), or 90% of the time it has existed.
Not only is USS Gerald Ford gobbling up billions of taxpayer dollars, but the wars in the Middle East cost us $8 million per hour, for a total so far of almost $2 trillion since 2001.The military and security together consume 60% of the national budget. Meanwhile, 15% of Americans (47 million people) live every day below the poverty line. That means they earn less than $24,000 a year. For blacks and Latinos, the rate of poverty is more like 20%. Hunger, or food insecurity as it’s called now, exists in 14% of American households.
Across the country, homelessness is rampant. Here in San Francisco, there are nearly 7,000 people living without a roof over their heads. Of these, almost 3,000 are children living in vans with their families. Children who go to public schools by day and study by flashlight at night.
Yet despite this immense poverty, the Republican Party, controlled by the tea baggers and their ilk, continues to attack social programs that help the poor and working class, including food stamps, welfare, child care and college Pell grants. Love they neighbor as thyself obviously doesn’t apply when that neighbor is poor. Just as “pro-life” doesn’t include the lives of people who work at Planned Parenthood.
To these Republicans and some Democrats, it’s perfectly okay to feed the gluttonous generals in the Pentagons who want bigger and more expensive weapons to kill everyone on the planet who gets in the way of corporate America’s desire to make more and more profits or secure more and more oil, but it’s not all right to give people a helping hand when they need it. The generals and their comrades in Congress and their CEO buddies in the corporate world receive hefty pensions when they retire. They’ll never go hungry.
One thing you can count on in America: there’s always plenty of money to kill people, but a scarcity of it to feed or house them.