I sat down with a friend last week and the conversation
drifted to whatever it was in the current news. I prefer to think of it as the
news torrent, because it comes in a
downpour and is gone in a flash.
told me, I’ve given
I understand that.
We’re coming close to times where, despite having 1500
friends on Facebook, there’s no one to call at 2am when there’s an emergency.
911 doesn’t help much when your child has a raging fever and what you really
need is someone to come stay with the kids while you and your spouse rush off
to the hospital.
But there’s a cost
to that not knowing and it seeps into our lives like water through an open
window that might better have been closed. Could
have been closed and surely should
have been closed.
Sixty Fortune 500 corporations
paid no taxes in 2018. Their total
U.S. income, including such names as Amazon, Chevron, General Motors, Delta,
Halliburton, and IBM was more than $79 billion. Amazon got a tax refund of $129 million after net
earnings of $13.4 billion.
That’s more than seeping through the window and yet not knowing cost my friend his share of
that tax refund.
know that, he tells me.
Okay, so what if he did
know? How would that have mattered? Well, awareness
is the key to who we vote for. Is he aware that for the past 29 years Republicans have honored a no tax increase pledge?
Probably not, but Amazon knows. They
dumped more than $13 million into the 2018 elections.
Let’s go back a bit—but not too far.
An example was the complex
financial products that contributed to the housing market collapse of 2007.
Investment banks sold shit mortgages to anyone,
including those who didn’t even have a steady job. Want a house? Sign here and
we’ll give you half a million.
I know you didn’t. Neither did
Alan Greenspan and he was the head of the Federal Reserve. But four million Americans lost their homes.
In the aftermath, Americans lost $10 trillion
in wealth as their home values plummeted and many more ended up owing more than
their homes were worth.
Four million families losing
their homes and ten-thousand billion
dollars sucked down the sewer is a high cost of not knowing.
Let’s go longer in the not-knowing game. In the fifty years
following the Second World War, military spending totaled about $13 trillion,
give or take a buck or two.
In a mere seventeen
years between 1998 and 2015 a mind-boggling $21 trillion of Pentagon
financial transactions could not be
traced, documented, or explained. That’s roughly five times more than the entire
federal government spends in a year.
In all, at least a
mind-boggling $21 trillion of Pentagon financial transactions between 1998 and
2015 could not be traced, documented, or explained. To
convey the vastness of that sum, $21 trillion is roughly five times more than
the entire federal government spends in a year.
To quote General and President
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending
money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its
scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any
true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
Many of us have given up the newspapers and TV. It is dreary these days. Most of us can’t
bear it and we all have problems.
But the very high cost of not knowing is tearing at the very fabric of our constitutional
republic and we dare not find ourselves losing it while we admire all the cute
kittens on Facebook.
Knowing is all we have with
which to defend ourselves.