Here are some fun facts. ( fyi, I compiled this information off of government websites)
Currently, senators, congressmen and the president make (on average) $169,587 a year. Together, these 536 people will make $90,899,000 a year. That is not including their personal incomes from things like investments, this is just the salary that they earn from the US taxpayers.
On the other (much poorer) hand, over 40,656,000 Americans live in poverty. This 13.2 percent of the population lives on less than $10,000 a year. Did I mention that the president has a $19,000 a year "entertainment" fund that is separate from his salary? Or that all of his housing, travel and living expenses come out of a different account than his salary?
In 2010, the US government decided that about one out of every three dollars you pay in taxes will be spent on defense. This means that one dollar will go to the war and the other two will be used towards: education, social security, repaying the national debt, national parks, medicare, the national court and prison systems, housing and urban development, the postal service, TARP funds, disaster relief funds and every administrative position in the national government.
Just for kicks, lets look at what we could be doing if we weren't at war. We'll look at 2011 budget and we will just look at the federal income taxes that people in Wisconsin pay. If we weren't in the war, Wisconsin could use that money to get:
1,948,101 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare or
1,433,296 Scholarships for University Students or
184,447 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers or
190,419 Elementary School Teachers or
9,319,786 Households with Renewable Wind Electricity or
3,494,920 Households with Renewable Solar Electricity
(all that renewable energy would kind of cut the foreign dependence on oil huh?)
If you are angry with this, but are worried that you should be supporting the troops, you should probably know that while the defense budget was increased this year, all of the increases went towards weapon development. All of the cuts, on the other hand, were in what was given to military personal and their families, included a 20.2% cut on military and family housing. Pretty patriotic, huh?
And if you are thinking to yourself, well we are an industrialized nation, money like this is to be expected, think again. If you look at defense spending on a global scale, the USA is responsible for 46.5 (!!!) per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the China (6.6% of world share), France (4.2%), UK (3.8%), and Russia (3.5%). And not that it could even be remotely related to thier low defense budgets or anything, but fyi, France and the UK have universal healthcare.
And the real cost isn’t obviously the money. The lowest estimate of the American soldiers that have died fighting these wars is over 5,000. That would be like if everyone in my hometown passed away…more than 5 times. The lowest estimate for the amount of Iraqi and Afghan civilians (regular people that had nothing whatsoever to do with the war) is well in the thousands. Remember that those are the LOWEST estimates., these are the US government estimates. There are some independent groups that say the civilian death total could easily be ten times that much.
Support the troops, bring them home.
***Websites I got information from***