Monday, July 19, 2010

How Much Are the American People Worth?

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“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The chief business of America is business" - President Calvin Coolidge, 1925

"The glory of the United States is business" - Wendell L. Willkie, 1936

"What else do bankers do -- walk-in and turn-off the lights in the country." - William Slee, 1978

How Much are the American People Worth?
By Milton Lee Norris

When speaking in terms of what the American People are worth, spending comes to mind. It seems that the Republican Party is averse to spend money and continue helping the American people that have lost their jobs, and who have been out of work for some time. Their reluctant behavior brings to mind how much money the Bush Administration spent on the illegal Iraq War, a war which was neither sanctioned by Congress or the UN. I'm thinking in these monetary terms because the Republican Party is holding back the Unemployment extension for about 2 million Americans who have lost their jobs and are on long term unemployment. By the end of July that number could rise to over 3 million Americans. Does the Republican Party believe that the American people are worth at least as much as what the Senate appropriated for the Iraq War?

FranceGermany and Russia didn't sanction the Iraq War. The people of England and Italy staged huge protests to no avail, as did many Americans; there were demonstrations all over the world protesting against this war; millions protested against this war including Spain. This was the largest worldwide mass protest in history. For the United States, the debt caused by this war is astounding.

The political structure of the United States government is not that forgiving; perhaps the Republican Party is intent on making the American people pay by not immediately passing the last Unemployment Extension, which was put forth by the Democratic Party. To put it mildly, it is said that payback is not kind. In politics the forgiveness level is not a friendly one, and with a war which was definitely not sanctioned by the American people, perhaps this is a form of payback from the Republican Party to the American people.

Billions of dollars were spent on the Iraq War, in fact it was multi-billions of dollars, over of a trillion dollars; if you count what was spent on the Afghanistan War, well then the government spending tops 1 trillion dollars; this money was approved by Congress and the Senate of the United States of America

As of Saturday, July 17, 2010, the amount of money spent for the Iraq War totaled $734, 056, 000,000.00 and counting; for the Afghanistan War, it was $284, 116, 000,000.00 which totals $1,018,172,000,000.00; this is since 2001 and the count continues to be tabulated.
There was also 9 billion dollars of the American people's tax money that was lost and unaccounted for.

Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $900 billion of US taxpayers' funds spent or approved for spending through Sept 2010.

U.S. 2009 Monthly Spending in Iraq - $7.3 billion as of Oct 2009

U.S. 2008 Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion

U.S. Spending per Second - $5,000 in 2008 (per Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on May 5, 2008)

There were tractor trailers, weaponry and equipment on a massive scale that was unaccounted for, which total 1 billion dollars.

How many American people could have been employed with those billions of dollars? How many American people could have paid their electric bills with the 1 billion dollars? How many insurance premiums, doctor's bills, college tuitions, day care center bills, grocery bills, medical bills and phone bills could have been paid with those multi-billions of dollars that was spent on this illegal war? of a trillion dollars could have paid for a lot of things in this country, things that the American people need.

You might wonder, what does all of this have to do with what the American people are worth; simply put, it's all about the American people and it's about spending. It is about American people here at home, many who are unemployed like me, and the American people who are having difficulty paying bills. When the Republican Party is reluctant to what the Democratic Party is suggesting to help the American people, then the question comes up as to how much are the American people worth?

This dilemma is about some people that were once thriving, who are no longer thriving; these people are in the same position as some of those who were working to make ends meet; they both lost their jobs. Unlike those who were struggling to pay their bills all along, those who once thrived are looking at their homes, some of which have foreclosed and others that are foreclosing. The banks and big corporate businesses were bailed out with 800 billion dollars by this government; long term unemployment seems to be the only bailout for many of the American people. The Iraq War cost over of a trillion dollars, so did the bailout for the banks and big businesses; why has it been like pulling teeth to continue helping the American people who make up this country? This is not the first time that the Republican Party has stalled in passing an unemployment extension. Politicians must make a decision; will they save their citizens or will they let them drown and blame President Obama instead of past President Bush, who stole two elections, invaded Iraq, who caused over 4,000 American soldiers to be killed, and over 31,000 to be injured, and who sank this country into the economic disaster that we're now in; what will it be?

America could feed, clothe and provide housing for many of its citizens with 800 billion dollars; a lot of ills could be solved with that amount of money. Perhaps the American people aren't corporate, but as a whole they do generate a vast amount of money and power; this amount should be enough to more than substantiate their worth to the Republican Party. Look at what the American people have in the banks, in their savings accounts and other accounts that generate money, and then think about what if the banks didn't have the American peoples' money to work with in order to make more money. Without the investment of the American people, the banks could not make the billions of dollars that they make daily. It's the same in businesses, without the administrative assistants and other support staff, the management and CEOs of these huge corporate companies would never be able to bring in the millions or billions of dollars that they do. However, they pay the support staff a fraction of their salary, which run into the millions minus their millions of dollars in ridiculous bonuses; the support staff is paid a mere pittance, not what they really are worth. America must stop treating their citizens as support staff and step-children. 

We all know that it's about the "Haves and the Have-nots," who want to keep their monetary stronghold in their favor at all times no matter what it costs, but so at some point the American people are going to have to wake up and demand their share.

Is the Republican Party telling me and the American people that we aren't worth the price of this war ticket; are they saying that we're not at least worth the amount of money that the illegal Iraq War has cost our country? Are they saying that the American people don't deserve to be extended a continued helping hand from the government which they have help to build and continued to support when times are beyond hard, when jobs have been downsized and other jobs have been outsourced and sent overseas? Is this what the Republican Party and now the Tea Party are now telling America?

With all of the jobs and money that has flowed and continues to flow out of this country, perhaps these parties are insinuating or telling America what I wrote in my book "Born In The Wrong Country," when I wrote, ". "Perhaps the United States of America is moving, and it's just that they forgot to inform its people." I spoke of this in reference to what was being spent here at home as opposed to this war. The greed of big business and the Bush administration's arrogance, along with their power made me think of many things; it is about the American people who are suffering here at home. The American people are alive; but our war seems to be right here in our own country; we're fighting to stay alive, to eat, and pay our bills.

One has to be realistic; this Iraq War didn't do what it was supposed to do; it didn't stimulate the economic growth of the United States of America; this war along with the Bush Administration's policies destroyed our economic stability. Someone got richer during this war, but it wasn't the American people, and it wasn't our soldiers; they paid the ultimate price with their lives. Over 4,000 came back in body bags, and over 31,000 were injured, many very serious injured and without limbs.

These statistics aren't imaginary; the Iraq War is not imaginary, and the unemployed and jobless in the United States of America are not imaginary. Over 7 million jobs have vanished since the recession began in 2007.

When one looks at these statistics, one might ask are people worth more dead than alive? One might say that this is a harsh and perhaps a cynical question, but look at the reality of the situation in this country. People have committed suicide because they can no longer provide for their families, just meditate on that; this is a grim reality. President Obama has been saying from the start, that American people need our help and that he needs the American people's help; this was not just talk of the election campaign; this is reality. When reality strikes a nerve, sometimes it gets the opposition to do what is right. When politicians do what is right, in turn the people will re-elect them and help our government move forward to solving other issues.One should not expect the lame to walk with ease or run swiftly after being hit with a devastating injury like job loss. Incentives are needed but more than that, the American people need a healing, this healing has to do with having jobs, full time jobs which provide job security, but until then we need our government to continue extending its arm to help us survive. One should never throw out a rope to rescue someone and then cut it before the rescue is complete.

The government didn't say no to big business, and without the American people there would be no big business. America cannot and will not survive without the strength of its people, and politicians need to realize how important the American people are; moreover the American people also need to realize how important they are to the growth of this nation.

The arrogance and stalling tactics of the Republican Party will not feed, clothe, buy medicine, pay mortgages, pay rent, insurances, car notes or any other bills; unemployment extensions will at least keep the some of us afloat. The stability of this country depends on the stability of its people.


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Author's Bio: One might say that writing has become my fondest passion; it is a love that always gives, and one that I feel comfortable sharing. I write because writing has become the voice in which I can speak to many people, share experiences, stories and truths. I have written a non-fiction book called "Born In The Wrong Country," which I recently published through, and can be purchased through, nd others. I have lived and worked in New York City for just almost 37 years. I write because it is a very powerful way of spreading ideas, news and touching the human spirit. Writing can make one laugh, cry, smile, or it can enrage others when it presents truths, as it begins to enlighten people. Writing is like a photograph from the author's mind put into words.

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