America’s Deteriorating Finances

The evidence keeps pouring in that the U.S. spends too much money, largely due to an over-extended military. If we had forgone the Iraq war and focused our overwhelming strength on getting Bin Laden, we’d probably have him by now, count fewer dead U.S. soldiers, and have a lot more money in the bank.

Some 47% of global military spending in 2003 came out of U.S. taxpayer pockets. I sometimes hear the complaint that the U.S. needs to shoulder the burden of defending the free western world. Hard to defend that one in face of our unilateral action in Iraq. The rest of the world didn’t support it. You can almost hear the quips in Europe, “If you want to march off to war on your own, then you can pay for it on your own.” We certainly are.

Meanwhile, the May 28th issue of The Week summarized a Los Angeles Times report that illegal immigration from Mexico has surged 30% since President Bush decided that illegal aliens can stay in the U.S. as guest workers. Evidently many Mexicans are under the impression that mass amnesty has already been enacted. Border Patrol agents say that they’re worried that terrorists might be able to sneak in among the mob.

What a misallocation of resources. A tenth of the money swirling down the Iraq hole could shore up our own borders. Instead, we’re inciting a hornet’s nest in the Middle East and cracking open our borders even wider. The spending, spending, spending continues and the progress never appears.

The world hasn’t missed our out-of-balance sheet. At the G8 summit in Sea Island, French President Chirac expressed concern for what U.S. finances might do to global interest rates and currency exchange rates.

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