2007-08-09 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

Are we confused yet?
By Sam Bari

According to our crack research team, the Googlamaniacs, congress allocated $522 billion for defense spending this year. To put that in perspective, the entire planet, not including the U.S., allegedly budgeted slightly over $600 billion for the same purpose. This means that our country spends almost as much as the rest of the world put together to make sure we are safe.

However, do not for so much as a nanosecond believe that defense spending is actually limited to that meager amount. As situations arise, congress keeps allotting more of our hard-earned tax dollars to meet the demands of our war machine. Now don't misunderstand me, I am a veteran, and I am grateful that our government takes the necessary steps to protect us, but I am rather disturbed that we have so many enemies.

Don't you occasionally wonder how a country that requires such a huge military budget to defend itself against its adversaries, also claims to have immigration concerns because everybody from every corner of the globe wants to live here? That doesn't make much sense to me. Is life everywhere else really that bad?

We also hear constant complaints about how our standard of education is drastically slipping when compared to the rest of the world. These latest Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) statistics rank us twenty-fourth in mathematics and twentieth in problem solving. That's pretty sad for the wealthiest country in the world. To further exacerbate the situation, our national education budget was slashed by $3.5 billion this year.

Nonetheless, our government is not the only one shirking its responsibilities. Governments around the world are falling far short of the mark. For instance, $19 billion is the annual shortfall to eliminate starvation and malnutrition globally. $12 billion is the annual shortfall to provide education for all kids on earth- just to make them literate. And $15 billion is the shortfall for providing clean water and sanitation facilities.

In other words, human beings can afford to spend over a trillion dollars a year so they can kill each other, but they can't afford to spend slightly over four percent of that money to feed, educate, and provide clean water for their planet's inhabitants.

When you look at those statistics, can you really wonder why the space guys watch us but don't want to land on earth and let their presence be known? We must be the most confusing life form in the entire universe. They probably think we're crazy.

This column started out to poke a little fun at our system by citing a few statistics so we could ask why we have such a huge defense budget, immigration problems, and are drastically slipping in the area of education. Since we claim to be the most technologically advanced country on Earth, you would think we'd have the highest standard of educated citizens to support the high-tech lifestyle.

At first glance, the premise had the makings of a slightly humorous subject until I reviewed the necessary info. It's not funny at all. The stats are downright frightening. However, we all might want to seriously consider these facts because we won't survive as a species if we continue in the direction we're going.

Anyway, the column lives up to the headline - "Are we confused yet?" You betcha. These are just a few more reasons why I firmly believe we live in a system we can't understand. I'll try to be funny next week.

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