December 3rd, 2009 :: Permalink
We're a horribly confused society ... we get upset about $5 billion in earmarks tacked on to $623 billion in defense appropriations.
Earmarks! Earmarks! Earmarks! PORK, PORK, PORK!
HaHa! What clowns! Each year U.S. taxpayers spend over SEVEN times what the Chinese allocate for their military, over NINE times what the French and British spend, and over TEN times what Russians spend - yet none of us feel safe. This year's military budget alone is over 1,246,000 times the amount Usama Bin Laden reportedly spent to attack America on September 11th.
Conversely the performance of our schools is unacceptable. Our health care is hopelessly inadequate while job creation and middle class income is dismal. Individually and collectively we are indebted to the max.
Officials and the media are shrewd. They lather us into a tizzy about $5 billion that goes to specific, local growth projects and distract us from the bigger questions about our priorities. Do the math: the $5B is 8/10ths of ONE percent. If we think about the $623B as a dollar this amount of money wouldn't equal a single penny.
I don't know the details of the $3.5 million allotted to Pacific Biodiesel but the plan appears to experiment with growing fuel for military needs in the islands. Mahalo to Rep. Abercrombie for getting it.
This investment of taxpayer money uses Hawaiian land to manufacture bio-fuel. This helps diversify our local economy and create jobs; could eventually result in less non-renewable fuel being shipped to the islands; and as a pilot project, could lead us to discovery so we could institute civilian-type fuel growing projects to meet other energy demands. The $3.5M cost is negligible relative to the $623B military appropriation.
If we think about the Pentagon budget similar as we do our state budget we would ask military planners to reduce spending by 8 percent or so. This would be a savings of some $50 BILLION. This amount of revenue would provide a great deal of support to struggling states and assist in reviving the private sector. It is TEN times the amount of the earmarks. Also!
Politicians are glorified horse traders and used car salesmen. They bargain on these massive votes. "Want my support?" asks Rep. Abercrombie, "Then I need some help for my local constituents."
We didn't send Rep. Abercrombie to Washington simply to provide support for the nation's military needs. He represents the concerns of hundreds of thousands of kama'aina.
We must focus on the big picture. Pacific Biodiesel likely isn't investing in growing fuel on the islands today as there is insufficient profit motive. Thus we, as taxpayers, incentivize them to take this risk.
Combining a penny of investment for our future and economic growth along with the taxpayer's dollar to blow sh*t up isn't unreasonable. Frankly I look forward to the day when we can reverse these two priorities.