Arrested Development

July 29, 2011

By now all of you know that our government loves to waste money.  If it’s not on 24 hour surveillance or incessant warfare, then the money is used to incarcerate millions of Americans.  When we don’t have enough money to pay for medicare, schools, or social security why are we wasting resources locking so many people up?  I like to spend time talking about how we can get out of this huge pile of national debt.  A good start would be to release and or dramatically reduce the sentences for non violent offenders.

In 2006, our government spent $68,747,203,000 locking up about 2 million people.  With a 150 billion dollar budget shortfall staring us in the face, we may need to re evaluate why we are locking people up.  Even China doesn’t incarcerate as many people as the U.S.  When we are strapped for cash do we really need to send marijuana dealers to prison for 5 years?  It is time to face up to the fact that the war on drugs has failed, and even if we wanted to there is no way to keep it up.

The Blue Scholar Blog wants to know what you think.  Please feel free to express your opinion by leaving a comment.


Surveillance costs money!

July 28, 2011

I spend a lot of time talking about how the government wastes money.  Today will be no exception.  Every time I see a traffic light camera I can’t help but wonder how much this all costs.  Surely if my local government can afford to put up all of these expensive cameras, they can repair the roads and fund the schools.  Our nation is flat broke ,and several states and municipalities are also tapped out.  It would make more sense to remove and sell these surveillance cameras.  If we want to balance the budget and get rid of unnecessary expenditures, these cameras are a good start.

Not only are red light cameras and the like unconstitutional, they are also a waste of resources.  It is expensive enough to investigate actual crimes, but to record everyone all the time is extremely cost prohibitive.  In accordance with the 4th amendment, all searches to include electronic surveillance should only be used in the case of probable cause, or a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed.  In Virginia Beach traffic cameras stream data all the time.  This indicates that our local government assumes any driver, or passenger going through an intersection are potential criminals.  I don’t know about you but that assumption seems unreasonable to me.  Not only do these cameras cost too much, they are a blatant violation of our constitutional, and basic human rights.

Burn at the Wick

July 26, 2011

There was a time when Uncle Sam had money to burn.  There was also a time when the Roman Empire could wage wars and occupy territory all over the known world.  Sadly, the Romans went bankrupt.  When they disappeared, they took down the entire continent of Europe with them.  The American Empire is just as militarized as its Roman predecessor.  As stated many times on this blog, the U.S. has a military presence in over 100 nations across the globe.  Exacerbating the situation, we are currently embroiled in 5 active conflicts throughout the Middle East.  The question is; what will happen if the American Empire crumbles?  Will the world be plunged into another dark ages?

The current financial crisis in Washington is a good indicator of the fiscal cost of America’s military strength.  It is now painfully obvious to everyone that waging massive combat operations is cost prohibitive.  In lieu of raising the debt ceiling, we could scale back our military just a little.  Our leaders may find it necessary to withdraw troops and close bases overseas.  Regardless of how much we raise the debt ceiling, if we continue to amass debt and devalue our currency we will no longer be capable of paying the Military anyway.  If we don’t cut back on defense a little bit now, there may be no defense later.

We could bring our service members home and put them to work on our weakened and decaying infrastructures.  Imagine how much less it would cost to bring the military home and have them rebuild some bridges or roadways.  Rebuilding our transportation grid would dramatically lower the cost of shipping goods and could have a hand in revitalizing the economy.  Although it is easier to destroy than to create, we must stop being involved in deadly and costly conflict.  The time has come for us to band together as a people and build some bridges.

Part of the Solution

July 20, 2011

Back in June, I conducted an interview with Cindy Sheehan under the post Lost in a Garden of Stone.  She said something that has stuck with me ever since “Bring our personnel and tax dollars back home to strengthen our economy and create jobs in green technology, not killing technology.”  I believe that this is the only way to save our country.  We currently have a U.S. military presence in over 100 countries.  We are engaged in five simultaneous conflicts in Iraq,  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen.  These expenditures are extremely costly in terms of human life and capital.

Imagine if we were to invest our personnel and money into green technologies.  We could simultaneously re-industrialize America, and clean up the environment.  This is certainly a win win situation.  The time to get in on the ground level with green technologies is now.  If the United States drags it’s heels on these emerging technologies, we will not be able to compete with other nations such as China.  We have an opportunity and a responsibility to be world leaders in sustainable and clean technology.

It’s not too late to turn things around.   It’s time for America to become a lean mean green machine.  The Blue Scholar Blog wants to know what you think.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

Foreclosure of a dream

July 13, 2011

The housing industry in America is now based on a failed business model.  The banks making home loans participated in predatory lending, in an attempt to double-dip on their financial products.  As we now know this greatly contributed to the recession we are currently in.  Ironically the banksters are now too afraid to make new home loans, and as a consequence many foreclosed homes have remained vacant for years.  Many financial institutions are finding themselves facing dereliction, not unlike the tenements they leave to rot.  Instead of receiving partial mortgage payments the banks find themselves holding an empty bag.  This is obviously a failed business model if I have ever seen one.  I don’t know about you,but I would rather get a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing.

I say no more golden parachutes, and no more bail outs.  In a free market economy these failed businesses should be allowed to go bankrupt.  Let the chips fall where they may.  If the banksters want to put hard working Americans out on the streets, then they can suffer the same fate.  Instead of attempting to salvage these colossal failures, our government should invest in it’s greatest resource we the people.

Austerity is only the beginning

July 13, 2011

In an effort to balance the national budget, our government is toying around with the idea of austerity.  Unfortunately, this will have disastrous results for our nation.  In order to raise the debt ceiling, the republicans want to slash medicare and social security benefits.  Making such cuts would barely make a dent in the amount of debt our leaders have piled up, however cutting these programs would be devastating to those Americans who rely on them.

The key to balancing the national budget is to cut military spending.  We currently have a military presence in over 100 nations.  We are also embroiled in countless conflicts all over the globe.  During the Bush administration the debt ceiling was raised 7 times.  This would suggest that it is fine and well for the government to borrow money for their war effort, however when it comes to actually helping people they want to cut social welfare programs.  As far as I am concerned, we pay for these programs with our taxes.  If the benefits are to be reduced we should all receive a refund in proportion to the reduced benefits.

Similar austerity measures are now on the table in Greece as well.  As a result, the Greek people have taken to the streets in a fire storm of rage.  What will happen in America if our social programs are actually cut?  The Blue Scholar Blog wants to know what you think.  Please feel free to leave a comment.