Voices from Russia

Sunday, 11 July 2010

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Dangerous Debts


The crisis in the American economy is closely linked to the continuing arms build-up. In heart of New York City, they have an electronic scoreboard, where a non-stop running figure shows the size of the public debt of the United States at that moment. Fifteen years ago, when I saw the scoreboard, I was struck by the huge figure shown, which was close to the impressive amount of a trillion dollars (30.953 trillion Roubles 793 billion Euros 664 billion UK Pounds). At the time, it seemed an immeasurable debt. Today, in July 2010, the figures on the scoreboard have exceeded 13 trillion dollars (402.39 trillion Roubles 10.305 trillion Euros 8.637 trillion UK Pounds). It’s difficult to comprehend such a value! This is an unbearable burden upon the American economy as a whole and upon every American individually. According to official statistics from the US Department of the Treasury, a debt of 42,000 dollars (1.3 million Roubles 33,293 Euros 27,905 UK Pounds) now hangs over every American, including children and the elderly. However, this debt shall persist past the present generation of citizens. Experts believe that this debt will fall on the shoulders of at least the next two generations.

Over all these years, the shocking figures on the New York scoreboard grew and grew continuously, day after day, month after month. Those who try to explain away the current dismal crisis in the American economy as an unprecedented crisis should be told that even before the economic collapse in the autumn of 2008, the New York electronic scoreboard set America’s national debt at nine trillion dollars (278.577 trillion Roubles 7.134 trillion Euros 5.98 trillion UK Pounds). In the early 90s, the Cold War arms race unleashed by Washington, which was a heavy burden hampering the economy, was, if not terminated, then, at least, cut back. Because of this, the long-term government budget deficit was eliminated. However, when the administration of George W Bush took over, he inherited a budget whose revenues exceeded costs, but he sharply turned the wheel of government around. The suspended arms race was resumed with renewed vigour. The Pentagon saddled [the American people] with a multi billion-dollar cash flow. Military expenditures have more than doubled and reached the highest level for the entire post-war period. Currently, military spending in the United States is more than in all the rest of the world combined. Not surprisingly, under such circumstances, which have increased over the current decade, the public debt has reached unprecedented levels.

Nevertheless, the hope that the new administration in Washington would change the Bush-Cheney team’s dangerous overemphasis on the Pentagon has not yet been realised. In the budget for the current fiscal year, already adopted by the Obama administration, military spending not only did not decline, but on the contrary, it  increased by four percent to a staggering amount of 688 billion 200 million dollars (21.302 trillion Roubles 545.536 billion Euros 457.24 billion UK Pounds). Attempts by the Obama administration to influence the Pentagon in the direction of decreasing its appetite encounter very stiff resistance. Let’s give you an example. President Obama proposed to reduce the new and very expensive F-22 programme, which is produced by Lockheed-Martin. However, some on Capitol Hill immediately raised a storm and, despite the economic woes that affect the country, the Senate decided to allocate a multi-billion dollar amount to a new order. This is only one example out of many others.

The Washington Research Center recently revealed unclassified secret information on this situation, their report states that 150 US legislators are shareholders in industrial companies doing business with the Pentagon. Of course, it’s not limited only to these 150 publicly named individuals. The American ruling elite is struggling between the greed of those who were once called the “cannon kings”, who have held the power until now, and people who have good sense and care about the national interest, who wish to see a political “reboot”. One of the factors influencing the outcome of this confrontation depends, in particular, on what numbers appear on New York’s electronic scoreboard in the coming period. One thing is clear… the current arms race is beyond the means of the American economy. America is wallowing in debt… and one always has to pay one’s debts sooner or later.

29 June 2010

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

You hear many so-called “conservatives” saying that we cannot have a proper social safety net because it would raise the deficit. What utter rot and bunkum! They don’t mind spending billions on the Pentagon… or to enact tax loopholes for their most affluent constituents (both individuals and corporations). I’ll tell you how we can eliminate the deficit and start to pay off the debt without shredding the safety net further (and, in fact, strengthen it). End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both are costly failures. Let’s take our lumps and learn our lesson. Neither one is vital to US interests. Let’s get out of Kosovo… it costs a fortune to prop up this gangster statelet. It’s not in our vital interests, either.

Reflect on the fact that the depression started in late 2007… in addition, the Bush administration lied about it for a year. They did so in order to boost the McCain-Palin candidacy… attend to the fact that Caribou Barbie didn’t tell you about it at the time, nor is she sorry that the Bushies lied to help her political ambitions. All so-called “teabaggers” or “Joe the Plumbers”, take note. The Republicans do not intend to balance the budget, save on the backs of the American public. Many of the jobs lost in the depression are lost permanently; the navel-gazing suburban affluent effluent doesn’t care… so long as their circles aren’t disturbed. This is a recipe for disaster. I’ll say this, Mr Zorin is right… “One thing is clear… the current arms race is beyond the means of the American economy. America is wallowing in debt… and one always has to pay one’s debts sooner or later”. Now, THAT is true CONSERVATIVE thinking. Then, what are American “conservatives”, in truth? They are nothing but Right-Wing Corporatist Radicals who have no concern for the future of this country or our families, so long as their pockets are filled… what sobers me is that there are people in the Church with the very same attitude… and they wear cassocks! Now, that’s a meaty reflection… and don’t forget that Barry Goldwater (no “liberal” he) stated in 1989 that the Republican Party had been taken over by a “bunch of kooks” (gotta luv a guy who said, “Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you’ve hurt the Republican Party much more than the Democrats have”.). What say you?



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