If his repetitive patchwork budgets and annual budget cuts alarm you, you need to read this.
If it bothers you that he has given away state hospitals, raided the reserves of the health plan for public employees and attempted to slash state employees’ retirement benefits while secretly having legislation introduced to augment the retirement of the state police commander by some $55,000 a year, you definitely need to read this.
If you believe he should have stayed at home to tend to the state’s business instead of gallivanting off to Iowa and New Hampshire in pursuit of a Republican presidential nomination, then by all means, you should read this.
In short, if you believe he has been a major disappointment in administering the affairs of a single state—Louisiana—you need to examine his grandiose plans for America, his plans to do to the nation what he has done to our state. You owe that much to yourselves and your children.
You see, an outfit called Friends of Bobby Jindal has a web blog of its own which, of course, is certainly their right. But curiously, in addition to touting the latest pronouncements, op-ed pieces written by Jindal and his appearances on Fox News, the page has a “DONATE” button that allows supporters to contribute to Jindal’s political campaign.
But wait. What’s he running for? He is term-limited and cannot run for re-election as governor next year and he has steadfastly refused to divulge whether or he plans to run for President (though there are few who doubt it; his family members were discussing openly during his first inauguration in 2008).
We don’t know how we got on the mailing list, but we’re certainly glad we did. Otherwise, how else could we keep up with the activities of a man on the run like Bobby Jindal?
On the latest mail-out, a “quick recap of the news about the governor’s week,” we have stories about:
- The First Lady’s travels to Eunice to promote the Supriya Jindal Foundation;
- Gov. Jindal’s announcement of the expansion of Oxlean Manufacturing in Livingston Parish;
- Louisiana’s joining other states in suing President Obama over his immigration order;
- An op-ed piece by (yawn) Jindal criticizing Obama and calling for a repeal of Obamacare;
- Jindal’s appearance on (yawn again) Fox News where he criticized Obama for trying to redefine the American Dream;
- Another op-ed criticizing Obama for the president’s apparent failure to believe in American exceptionalism;
- Jindal’s speech at a foreign policy form in Washington, D.C. in which he called for increased military spending.
It was that last one (actually first on the Friends web blog because we listed them in reverse order) that caught our attention. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/2016-gop-hopefuls-call-for-boost-in-defense-spending/
Our first reaction was: What the hell is he thinking, commenting on foreign policy and military spending when he can’t even balance the budget of a single state? But then we remembered it was Jindal and typically, he panders to the fringe element that adheres to the concept that we are the world’s policeman and that we must impose our will on others despite their resentment of our failure to respect their traditions and cultures. And we’re not just talking about Islam here. Remember Vietnam? For that matter, go back and familiarize yourself with how we took land north of the Rio Grande from Mexico. And to the American Indians (Native Americans, we one insists on political correctness), we are the original illegal immigrants.
Okay, we got off-track and started talking about his American exceptionalism op-ed and while the two issues are interlinked, let’s get back to his advocacy of increased military spending.
First and foremost, it is important to know that America already spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. President George W. Bush’s defense spending, for example, eclipsed that of the Cold War.
Historian Paul Kennedy, in his book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, noted that powerful nations have an unsettling habit throughout history of becoming the leading economic and leading military power and then “overreaching with their military ambitions while their economies sputter past their prime.”
Kennedy said that even as the economic strengths are on the decline, growing foreign challenges force greater and greater military expenditures at the sacrifice of productive investment which he said leads to the “downward spiral of slower growth, heavier taxes, deepening domestic splits over spending priorities and a weakening capacity to bear the burdens of defense.”
He said the U.S. currently runs the risk of “imperial overstretch where our global interests and obligations are larger than our ability to defend them all simultaneously.
Kennedy wrote that back in 1987 but during her run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, Hillary Clinton, like her or not, said if $1 trillion spent in Iraq had been applied instead to domestic programs, it would:
- Provide healthcare for all 47 million uninsured Americans;
- Provide quality pre-kindergarten for every American child;
- Solve the housing crisis once and for all;
- Make college affordable for every American student, and
- Provide tax relief to tens of millions of middle-class families.
A classic example of our failure to heed the warning of President Dwight Eisenhower when he warned of the importance of resisting the influence of the “military-industrial complex” is the tar baby this country is stuck to in the Mideast.
Ike warned the country during his farewell address of Jan. 17, 1961, when he said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
Back during the elder Bush’s administration, it was the defense of Kuwait against Saddam Hussein and Iraq—way back in 1991. That’s a quarter-century ago. Later, with Bush II, it was Saddam Hussein and WMD that have yet to be found. No sooner did W announce “Mission accomplished,” than we found ourselves in a conflict that, believe it or not, has now lasted longer than the Vietnam War—with no end in sight. That war has expanded into Afghanistan and now Iran with an invisible enemy called the Islamic State (IS) whom we cannot find, let alone fight.
And how much have those skirmishes cost this country? Click on this link to find out.
That $4.4 trillion includes not only the immediate $1.7 trillion cost of America’s Mideast policy, but the interest on loans to finance the war, the cost of support bases elsewhere in the world, homeland security, nation building (building infrastructure on the war-torn countries while neglecting our own infrastructure), retirement, disability and medical benefits for war veterans, etc., costs our grandchildren will be paying off after we are long gone.
And just how do we pay for these wars in Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan? World War II was financed by raising taxes or selling war bonds. Not so these modern wars, beginning with Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam; they’re financed almost entirely by borrowing which has raised the U.S. budget deficit (something of which Jindal should have a working knowledge), increased the national debt. The interest alone on Pentagon spending from 2001 through 2013 is approximately $316 billion.
To put expenditures in better perspective, consider that American taxpayers are paying:
- $312,500 every hour for military action against ISIS (total thus far almost $1.4 billion);
- $10.17 million per hour for the cost of the war in Afghanistan (nearly $800 million to date);
- $365,000 per hour for the cost of the war in Iraq ($818 billion so far);
- $10.54 million per hour for the total cost of wars since 2001 ($1.6 trillion);
- $58 million per hour for the Department of Defense ($602.7 billion budget);
- $861,000 per hour for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ($9 billion);
- $2.12 million per hour for our nuclear weapon arsenal ($22 billion);
- $37,000 each hour for Tomahawk Cruise Missiles ($385 million);
- $1.33 million every hour for foreign military assistance ($13.8 billion to date);
- $8.43 million per hour for Homeland Security ($804.5 billion since 9/11);
By comparison, here are some hourly expenditures by U.S. taxpayers for other services in 2014 (with the year-to-date expenditures in parenthesis):
- $7.81 million for education ($81.14 billion, and don’t forget, Rick Perry wanted to abolish the Dept. of Education);
- $3.04 million on the environment ($31.6 billion–ditto Perry on the EPA);
- $2.71 million on foreign aid ($28.2 billion);
- $4.9 million on housing assistance ($50.8 billion);
- $36.91 million for Medicaid and CHIP ($383.6 billion);
- $13.3 million for nutrition assistance ($138.1 billion).
And Gov. Jindal would have the U.S. commit even more money to the Pentagon, according to a grizzled old reporter a whole year out of college (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).
Daniel Wiser, writing for something called the Washington Free Beacon (a sister publication to the Hooterville World Guardian of the TV series Green Acres, no doubt), placed Jindal squarely in the same camp as gunslingers John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a couple of veteran Senate saber rattlers.
Wiser said that Jindal released a paper in October calling for allocating 4 percent of the nation’s GDP to defense spending.
Jindal said the U.S. is “in the process of hollowing out our military,” the article said. Jindal added that “The best way for America to lead… is for America to rebuild our tools of hard power.”
It would be bad enough if an otherwise comparatively level-headed candidate like Rick Perry or Rand Paul (everything, after all, is relative) were elected, but if Jindal had a prayer of becoming president, this would be some horrifyingly scary stuff.
The good news is we don’t have to worry about that. Perry or Paul, on the other hand…