Sunday's commentary from the Laura Flanders Show, December 19, 2004
Beware: the following may contain irony.
We’re in an era where security is a buzzword. Washington has a new Department of Homeland Security. Airports are run by Transportation Security officials. The war in Iraq is to supposed to ensure our National Security. There’s no shortage of tax dollars and spending for federal security-related activities… until we come to Social Security. So having heard what the President has to say on the matter, here is a different idea.
We all know Pentagon spending is driving this nation into debt. I think what we need is a little reform. Let’s privatize.
National defense might have been a good idea once – say in FDR’s time, in an era of entitlements. Perhaps it was appropriate, once, to treat defense, or offense, as a collective, nay a socialized endeavour with everyone paying in, through their taxes, and sharing the risks and the benefits – together, as a single society. But it's out of date today.
The current Pentagon system is not only unsustainable, it’s already breaking the bank. Just look at this year’s projected shortfall. It’s up there in the billions, trillions are just around the corner. What we desperate need is reform.
Here’s the plan. Instead of a federally financed and guaranteed air force, army, navy and marine corps, let’s privatize. Let’s let every American defend him or herself individually.
Government will help to start. We’ll issue vouchers to help every American establish their own personal defense arsenal. You’ll be free to buy just the weapons of your choice, at the best available price. Everyone doesn’t need a nuke. You pick – a Howitzer or a AK 47. You choose.
Certainly there will be some disparities. Some Americans may have more time than others to get trained in how to choose and deploy their personal defense systems. Some may be weaker, and some may be more susceptible to attack. The really great thing about this national-security reform plan is that it’s all about freedom. It frees us all from the inneficiencies of bureaucracy and the over-charges and bloated budgets we’ve seen under the Pentagon way of doing things. Just imagine. It’d be your choice to defend yourself according to your specific needs. Your free choice. It’s a way more modern -- a way more American -- way to go.
I can already hear the knee jerk liberal critics whining. How, under this reformed personal security plan, would the nation respond to crises, like unanticipated invasions or regimes abroad we’d like to change. Well, to those critics I say, relax. We’ll work out the kinks as we go along. And yes, there may be some pain to begin, a few inefficient defense contractors may go under. A few especially vulnerable families may be unable to afford to protect themselves. But one thing’s for sure, the crisis we’re facing is dire. We simply can’t go on borrrowing greater and greater amounts to support an outmoded nationalized, nay socialized Pentagon defense budget, with all the cost-overruns and bad management we see today. I repeat. The current system is in meltdown. If not now, then soon, it will have run our country’s economy into the ground.
We may not have worked out all the details quite yet. But trust me. Trust me. We will. Nothing would be more devastating to our economy and our society than doing nothing. Nothing. THE PROBLEM IS REAL.
Want to privatize Social Security? Why Not National Security! Let’s do it. Under the president’s survival of the fittest plan, only the fit will survive, but if reform like that is good enough for our retireees and our kids, it's good enough for rubber-stamp Rumsfeld and the Pentagon, I say.
I’m Laura Flanders and you’re listening to Air America Radio.
Laura Flanders is host of the Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio.