Former Bush Official Just Confirmed That Our Wars Are for Corporate Interests

war profiteerBy Claire Bernish

“I think Smedley Butler was onto something,” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former George W. Bush administration heavyweight, told Salon in an exclusive interview.

Major General Smedley Butler earned the highest rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, accumulating numerous accolades as he helped lead the United States through decades of war. He later became an ardent critic of such militarism and imperialism.

“War is a racket,” Butler famously said, and Wilkerson — who has also turned critical of U.S. imperialist policy — agrees with and admires the esteemed Marine.

Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to former secretary of state, Colin Powell, has grown tired of “the corporate interests that we go abroad to slay monsters for.”

Of the profiteering scheme that wars have come to embody, Wilkerson quoted Butler:

Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Noting Butler’s brief but accurate characterization of what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, Wilkerson added that today’s war machine “is more pernicious than Eisenhower ever thought it would be.”

The willingness of such weapons and military equipment corporations to excuse the transgressions of repressive and abusive regimes in the Middle East and Asia for the sake of profit, Wilkerson asserted, stands as evidence Eisenhower underestimated the extent the to which the problem would manifest.

“Was Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO — after George H. W. Bush and [his Secretary of State] James Baker had assured Gorbachev and then Yeltsin that we wouldn’t go an inch further east — was this for Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, and Boeing, and others, to increase their network of potential weapons sales?” Wilkerson asked.

“You bet it was,” he answered his own question.

“Is there a penchant on behalf of the Congress,” he continued, “to bless the use of force more often than not because of the constituencies they have and the money they get from the defense contractors?

“You bet.

“It’s not like Dick Cheney or someone like that went and said let’s have a war because we want to make money for Halliburton,” Wilkerson explained, describing such decision-making as “pernicious.”

This Book Could Save Your Life (Ad)

Taking his description a step further, Wilkerson characterized those corporations flooding congressional elections and political PACs with cash as “another pernicious influence.”

Relating another ill of the U.S. war machine, Wilkerson repined the creep of privatization of “public functions, like prisons,” for which the former Bush official places greatest blame on Republicans — though Democrats appear as eager about the shift. Salon mentioned Hillary Clinton’s speech from 2011, during her tenure as Secretary of State, in which she stated, “It’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity.”

Indeed, journalist Jeremy Scahill extensively reported and investigated the enormous army of private contractors operating in Iraq and Afghanistan — with a particular focus on Blackwater. Run by notorious mercenary Erik Prince — who recently became the subject of an investigation by the Dept. of Justice and other federal agencies — Blackwater appeared to operate so unpredictably as to essentially be a rogue organization.

Scahill penned an article for the Guardian in 2007, revealing the exact troubles with privatization Wilkerson referred to — there were 48,000 ‘private contractors’ working for 630 companies in varying capacities in Iraq.

“In many respects,” Wilkerson continued, “it is now private interests that benefit most from our use of military force. Whether it’s private security contractors, that are still all over Iraq or Afghanistan, or it’s the bigger-known defense contractors, like the number one in the world, Lockheed Martin.”

Contractors have arguably done the most to damage U.S.’ international relations and accountability than any other factor — except for the corporations paying them. All of this profit for belligerence has clearly benefited one de facto policy: American imperialism.

“We now dwarf the Russians or anyone else who sells weapons in the world,” Wilkerson noted. “We are the death merchant of the world.”

Now, Wilkerson worried, “We’ve privatized the ultimate public function: war.”

This article (Former Bush Official Just Confirmed That Our Wars Are for Corporate Interests) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

  • Jim H.

    Not only for Corporate Interests, but for purposes of constant and rising taxation.
    It is well known that without war, they would lose trillions in tax dollars!

  • toodorky

    Smedley Butler….A General’s General…..Trying to warn we peons while being squashed by the media and corporate controllers. He no doubt sacrificed big bucks as some corporate head for attempting to tell the truth.

    • Douglas Kelly

      Yes, you are absolutely correct. A decent man disclaimed “the big lie” and punished for it.

  • billyjackeng

    Anytime the government declares a “war” on poverty, drugs,communism, terrorism, CO2, I am assured of one thing. They will take away myfrredom and property.

    • dale ruff

      The War on Poverty reduced the poverty rate, brought millions out of poverty, stimulated the economy, created jobs, and since family income is the greatest predictor of academic success (the key to rising OUT of poverty), increased social mobility.

      With Reagan and since, all this has been cut back, poverty has increased, social mobility is all but dead, and instead of helping the poor rise out of poverty, we help the rich banks, oil companies, and defense corporations pad their wallets with subsidies and tax breaks, wars, and cheap labor.

      The War on Poverty was the one program that made sense and worked. It should not be lumped in with the wars on drugs, terrorism, etc.

      As for CO2, this is a war on pollution (defined as harmful substances) and corporate shifting costs of their operations onto the public. According to the IMF, each year the public forks over 5 trillion (ten times our deficit) to pay for the harm done by transnational fossil fuel corporations. They pollute (including greenhouse gas emissions) and shift the cost to us, the taxpayers, for the privilege of being poisoned or punished by global warming.

      We need a war on the war against humanity which is the publicly supported fossil fuel industry. Pollution is a disease, and we need a war on this profit-driven disease.

      Reduce poverty, reduce pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions…………are programs that will benefit all of us. Those who pollute or keep the poor in poverty by cutting programs to lift them are taking away your freedom and your property.

      Reducing poverty and pollution IS the general welfare mandated as the job of government by the Constitution. From such programs, we all benefit.

      • billyjackeng

        All of the false diatribe of the leftist propaganda talking points. You probably believe that the “theft and corruption” of your central government heroes is only “waste and inefficiency”. Rather than waste time rebutting the each lie given to you by your masters, I must defer to Twain “never argue with stupid people, they will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience”

        • Smarty

          Dale Ruff is a paid go’bt shill. I’ve seen him (she/IT) many times before. “It” is easy to identify, and there is no sense arguing with “it” because “it” has an agenda…. “it” has been outed…

        • Noam Beefheart

          “never argue with stupid people, they will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience”

          Too late, you already did it.

      • Cyndi Rolla

        ‘The First Global Revolution’

        • dale ruff

          Marx was the first to understand and analyze capitalism as a system with global reach. That is why he did not write, “Workers of Russia, or Germany, or the UK, unite…” but “Workers of the World….”

          Globalizaton, or the expansion of predatory capitalism to encompass the entire globe, requires a global response. Capitalism, like pollution, does not recognize national borders. You don’t have to be a Marxist to see that he was right that capital seeks the highest profits and will go where that is possible, anywhere on earth, creating a global workforce driven to the bottom. A billion people today live on $1 a day, while less than 100 billionaires have more wealth than half the world’s population.
          Even in the richest nation in history, the 6 Waltons, who created nothing and do not work, have more wealth than over 100 million Americans, including the working poor. In a sense, the choice is between world wars or a global revolution, either destroying society or transforming it for the common good.

          • Cyndi Rolla

            Globalism is World Marxism, and no matter what anyone tries to claim, there are still rich folks living in luxury at the top of Marxist systems.

            The biggest difference is the non-elite have less liberty and fewer freedoms under Marxist regimes.

            How many genocides and mass slaughters since Marx were perpetrated by Marxists, and how many lost their lives in those slaughters?

            I’ll stick with capitalism.

      • Greyguy

        The War on Poverty created a new kind of Slavery, and the Democrats claim they are not racist, go figure; all they wanted was the Black vote so they bought it and have been exploiting Blacks with promises ever since, and not much else.

        • dale ruff

          That is the latest right wing talking point but it is a lie.
          Fact: the key to rising out of poverty is education.
          Fact: the key predictor of academic success is family income.

          Conclusion: any programs (whether foodstamps or raising the minimum wage, etc) which raises family income helps people rise out of poverty, with the children being able to join the middle class thru education.

          Cut backs in welfare and blocking of raising wages, crushing union rights, etc all hurt minorities the most and thwart the factors (rising income and education) which help people out of poverty.

          Raising family incomes for blacks, for example, does not enslave them but helps their children succeed and rise out of poverty.

          Those who wish to keep the poor poor spread lies about how raising incomes is slavery when in fact it is the key to rising out of poverty, as all studies and evidence have proven.

          Who benefits from this lie? The rich, who have seen their incomes rise by 300% since 1989 while the median wage has declined by 40% and the minimum wages is worth less than in 1970.

          Attempts to keep the poor poor use the lie of helping people rise out of poverty as a form of enslavement, when in fact, only raising the minimum wage (which leaves people trapped, working, in poverty) and raising family incomes , liberates people to rise.

          Shame on you for repeating propaganda designed to blame those who seek to help the poor rise up for “enslaving them.”

          • Greyguy

            Trouble is all of what you said is not true. The rise in welfare has led to the break up of the black family and illegitimacy….once again an unintended consequence of government intervention…welfare up since the late 60’s in the black community, fewer fathers in residence, since you get more government assistance, more illegitimacy. Look it up, with government help like that who needs an enemy. Worst part is the government uses about 40% of the money on administration.

            Minimum wage has nothing to do with poverty, its a construct of labor unions to get more wage hikes, since there are escalator clauses built into labor contracts to raise wages when the minimum goes up. Also, when the minimum goes up, a lot of low end folks loose their jobs to automation and besides it’s inflationary if you know anything about basic econ.

          • dale ruff

            My statements are all based on documented facts. The successful War on Poverty, which brought millions out of poverty and increased educational achievement (the key to social mobility) ended with Reagan, who preferred welfare for the rich and demonized the poor with lies about welfare queens in Cadillacs.

            Then in the 90’s, the New Democrats worked with the Republicans to end “welfare as we know it” and replaced the AFDC with SNAP, a program which helps about 1.5 million households with low levels of support ($540 for a working mother with children) and costs less than 10% of what subsidies for rich corporations like oil, ag, and pharma receive (20 billion vs 220 billion). Transnational oil companies like Exxon receive, according to the IM,over 5 trillion a year in public subsidies, while those who lose their jobs due to subsidized offshoring or Wall st induced recessions, get $4.30 a day for food aid.

            Minimum wage keeps the working poor so poor they must rely on government aid to survive; this is actually corporate welfare since very rich corporations like Walmart pay so little they instruct their workers to go get foodstamps and Medicaid.

            A study of labor union membership and wage growth shows an exact correlation with union strength and gained benefits. Since the labor movement was crushed in the 80’s, the median wage, despite a 100% increase in labor productivity (which unions leveraged for proportional wage increases), has fallen 40%.

            The harm done to minority populations is due to 1) decreases in family income due to cutting back social programs and decline in value of the minimum wage and 2) the mass incarceration program of the mid-90’s (prison population has tripled since Reagan, the highest in the world) which falls disproportionately on minorities due to a racist criminal justice system.

            The evidence is easily accessed; so I urge you to study the subject as I have as an alternative to right wing propaganda which wants to blame programs which help the poor for the increased poverty due to cutting back on government assistance, while the banks, who caused the latest recession which pushed 20 million onto foodstamps, are bailed out, oil companies which pollute and destroy our environment are subsidized, and Big Pharma gets a 30 billion handout each year, Big AG gets major subsidies, etc.

            Corporate welfare for the richest corporations, which often pay no taxes due to loopholes they have bought and paid for, hides behind blaming the poor. Don’t be their useful idiot.

            Minimum wage has never proven to be inflationary, since those who make more spend more, creating more jobs. What is inflationary is printing fiat money by the private bank cartel to help corporations to buy back stocks to raise stock prices, without creating any value: this creates asset inflation, which is the current form, a foreshadowing of economic collapse since it is not based on added value but free money. Cities which have raised the minimum wage are among the most prosperous in the nation. Don’t rely on basic econ, which you have not even studied, but on economic facts, which often fly in the face of conservative economic theory.;

            I recommend Michael Hudson as a corrective to failed economic theory.

          • Greyguy

            Everything you stated has been a product of larger government, including the incentivizing of banks to do what they do, I am not a fan either. About the cities with high minimums…ask the restaurant workers in Seattle why they are being laid off in droves in anticipation of the new raise hike. When unions get wage increases because the company invests in plant and equipment that is a travesty, since it had nothing to do with them, they invested nothing. The idea that they deserve a raise for someone elses efforts are rediculous. Work rules, wages that do not reflect what a job is worth, and government regulations that do not protect workers or the environment have driven more jobs overseas than you can imagine. In Ohio, Strickland as gocvernor demanded all roadwork be done at the highest union scale. About half the usual road work got done during his term as governor because “sign flippers” were making between $40-50 per hour for a $15-20 per hour job ond so fourth. There are places wherenunions are needed, but mostly they are not any more and are hurting worker more than they help. They also should be banned from politics since in the last presidential election out gave Soros and the Koch brothers by massive amounts, and in many cases to the dismay of their somewhat conservative members.
            Welfare is a cancer on our society that has slowly been destroying the middleclass though taxation as the lower end of the middle class become part of the welfare class. And the education you have touted as being the salvation of the poor has been so diluted by dumbing down, that it is almost worthless. As an Adjunct Prof in several colleges and universities I have taught at,wht the kids do not know or have not been shown how to do, as in conceptual thinking and problem solving is just plain scary. What they have been taught is to just give back what the teacher gave them, very little originality. Flat out they are not worth the minimumwage you want to pay them.

          • dale ruff

            Private banks run the Federal Reserve and almost always run the Treasury. You have confused the fascist takeover of government and its functions with the idea of a democratic accountable goverment.

            The government is run by the corporations through legal bribery and occupying the key positions of power. I can see why your students are so lacking in critical thinking skills, with you as their teacher.

            You claim, without support, that Seattle restaurants are laying off workers despite the high likelinhood that higher wages will mean more business, since higher wages means more spending.

            And the first adjustment is NOT to $15 an hour but from $9.32 to $11 for the restaurants with over 500 employees (the minority), and “For businesses such as restaurants, with fewer than 500 employees, who receive “minimum compensation,” that wage can be made up of a combination of wages, tips, and employer contributions to an employee health care plan, as long as the total of all the compensation equals at least $11 an hour. The full $15 an hour minimum wage does not take effect for restaurants until 2019.” and for small restaurants, they have 7 yrs to rise to $15 and hr, which by then, adjusted for inflation, will be worth $13.60 an hour.
            The suggestion restaurants are laying off workers due to a wage hike to $11 an hour…..is questionable, and questioning is the essence of using critical thinking skills.

            Of restaurants reported closing in Seattle, the Seattle Times reports that not one owner gave the gradual wage increase as a reason.

            The head of the Washington Restaurant Association points out that ” each year in Washington, 17 percent of restaurants go out of business or change hands. In Seattle, with approximately 2,300 restaurants, that translates to approximately 400 closures or sells expected—“in a good year”…….”

            The reasons? ” there are many reasons “from ownership changes and concept switches, to operational cost increases and failure to thrive.” None of the restaurant owners gave the gradual wage hikes as a reason.

            Unemployment in Seattle is about 3.6%, well below the national average and suggesting that no major layoffs are taking place. Meanwhile, the jump in labor costs from 36% to 42% over yrs for most resaurants will mean perhaps slight increases in prices, which given higher wages, will not cause viable restaurants to collapse.
            And meanwhile, new restaurants continue to open, as normal as old ones closing.

            The exact correlation of union strength and wage increases and decreases is based on bargaining for increases when productivity an profits go up. But since 1989, productivity and profits are up 100% and with the collapse of the union movement, the median wage has fallen 40% and since 1999, household income is down 12%…….meaning all new productivity/profits is going to the capitalists and not shared with labor, who no longer are able to bargain since the union movement was crushed.

            This is basic economic history and it is a shameful that a university adjunct professor is so ignorant of that history, so ignorant of the normal closure of restaurants and of the fact that the real economy booms when wages are higher, declines when they are lower, as does social mobility, trapping more and more people in poverty.

            Blaming students for your own lack of critical thinking is shameless.

          • Greyguy

            Your senseof timing is amazing, everything you say is true, but the timing is backwards, the economy gets better and wages go up, productivity goes up and wages then get better. Our economy is not improving in the US which is why wages are stagnating and real wages/buying power are going down under Obama. We are where we were during the depression economically! If you go back to the way unemployment was calculated under Kennedy, it would be somewhere around 22% or approaching that of the depression, especially if you take into consideration that there are so many folks with part time jobs .. remember 90 plus million not working. And the reason there are not bread or soup lines is all the government assistance programs have taken their place, so everyone stays home and gets a direct deposit to not stand in line…the lines are invisible. And by the way hiring practices by restaurant owners have nothing to do with who is going out of business, more to the point, the folks doing the belt tightening are ones staying in business, nice try.

            As for critical thinking skills, your comments are a bit out of line, I was commenting on what I received from the school systems, when you receive students that lack these skills coming out of secondary schools, the system sucks , it is not doing its job, and needs reform; last I looked the liberal element of society was firmly entrenched in that area and the Teachers were rather unionized. And as a matter of fact, over the course of time, as teachers became more unionized, the SAT and scoring mechanizms show an inverse correlation with the rise in unions in the teaching profession…so much for your supposition that unions and education as a combination are good for our society, that comes fronm my liberal Harvard lawyer friend who hates teachers unions and the post office.

          • dale ruff

            The chart at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
            shows household income falling from about 58K in 1999 to under 54K in 2015.

            Median wages in 1989 were $21K, which if adjusted for inflation, would be about $36K today. The median income today is 26K, a decline of about 40% while productivity of labor has increased nearly 100% and the income of the top 1% by nearly 300%. These trends continue. While incomes may inch up a few cents, the number of part time jobs increases, which accounts for lower median wages and household incomes. Meanwhile, inflation figures understate the loss of buying power, with college and healthcarecostsboth doubling since 2000, as income falls.

            The real economy is not better (except compared to 2008-9) but worse, with more poverty, lower incomes, and higher debt, and a lower labor participation rate. Real wages have gone down not since Obama but since Reagan. The trend simple continues.

            As for academic achievement, adjusting for poverty, where the US has the most of all advanced nations, the US ranks 6th in the world.

            The correlation of teacher unionizations with lower test scores is a false causalty, as it does not consider the real cause of lower test scores, which is not unionization but increasing poverty. Since the key to raising the educational results is family income, the solution is reducing poverty.

            Teacher unions increase education by rewarding teachers with higher pay an professional respect, thus attracting a higher level of people to enter the field.

            You appear eager to blame liberals instead of increasing poverty, which is the result of conservative economic policies and cuts to education, healthcare, and a strong social safety net.

            The key to economic progress is 1) rebuilding unions to give workers leverage to match higher productivity with higher wages and 2) programs to reduce poverty, thus promoting academic success, which is the key to social mobility.

          • Greyguy

            Go back to the inception of the NEA and take SAT scores and try again. You seem to run out of BS at that point.

          • dale ruff

            No rational person thinks collective bargaining which brings higher wages and more professional respect to teachers lowers the standard. Higher wages and respect attract smarter, more talented people into teaching.
            Test scores are not related to unionization but to poverty. Adjusted for poverty, the US ranks 6th in the world. The key to rising out of poverty is education, and the key to educational success is raising family incomes.

            Your factless and crude post ignores the vital issues and replaces them with unsupported corrleations and obscenity. You earn an F.

            I have looked at SAT scores since the inception of the NEA and I find that reading scores have declined while math scores have risen. Part of the explanation is that many more non-English speaking students now attend public schools: in Caliornia, 1 in 4 new students are not native English speakers. This decreases tests done in English while it has little effect on math.

            If we adjust for poverty, we find that academic achievement on tests is near the top. The solution is twofold: 1. decrease poverty and 2) attract better teachers by raising wages and professional respect, both accomplished through unionization. I have worked in both union and non-union districts: the non union pay less and get the worst teachers; the union districts pay more and of course get the best teachers.

            The Washingtonpost investigation found that stagnating scores in recent years have various reasons: “educators cite a host of enduring challenges in the quest to lift high school achievement. Among them are poverty, language barriers, low levels of parental education and social ills that plague many urban neighborhoods.”

            Unions do not cause poverty, language barriers or low levels of parental education. What they do is to improve the lot of teachers and thus attract a higher quality of teachers. The Post points out that ” Scores also track closely with family income, rising with affluence, so annual variations in who takes it can swing the results.”

            The lowest scores are with Hispanics, who often have language barriers and 2nd lowest, African-Americans, who suffer from disproportionate poverty.

            You can call this BS, but that earns you an F. When family income rises, so do test scores. The suggests the solution is to reduce poverty. As for language barriers, this disappears in the 2nd generation and does accounts for why reading scores are lower than 50 years ago but math scores, which do not depend on English language skills, have risen.

            Unions raise the level of teachers, which benefit students and helps to overcome the barriers to academic success. The rest is up to society to fund programs to eliminate poverty, which allows people to rise out of poverty, which pays for itself in higher productivity and lower government overhead.
            Any rational person know this, but some dullards like to claim that unions which help recruit better teachers are the cause of academic problems. This is a sign, to be honest, of academic failure.

          • Greyguy

            With all the money spent since LBJ, poverty levels are unchanged or worse. Close to 40%of the money goes to bureaucrats not those in need. And charities are now starved for private contributions and now get huge percentages of the funds from the government and have become nearly as wasteful, since they are allowed up to 25% as overhead. The entire system has become perverted/ruined by the government and has failed to produce intended results. Trillions to buy votes for nothing, this was a vote buying scheme by LBJ to secure the Black vote and he stated it a lot less delicately; unfortunately for Blacks the Democratic Party panders to them and does little for them, yet they keep voting for the Dems. So far money and education do not seem to connec the dots.

          • dale ruff

            You make unsupported and false assertions, which I will correct:
            ” developed new health insurance programs for the elderly and the poor, increased Social Security benefits and introduced food stamps and nutritional supplements for low-income pregnant women and infants. They established Head Start programs for young children, Upward Bound and Job Corps programs for teenagers, and work-study opportunities for college students.

            It is often forgotten that this was a bipartisan campaign. A Republican president, Richard Nixon, and legislators from both sides of the aisle expanded the War on Poverty in the early 1970s. Nixon extended the reach of the food stamp program, added an automatic cost-of-living increase to Social Security and instituted the Supplemental Security Income system to benefit disabled adults and children” cnn.com

            Achievements of the War on Poverty:
            “In 1963, despite more than 15 years of prior economic expansion, the child poverty rate was almost 25%. By the early 1970s it had been lowered to 15%. Between 1967 and 1975, poverty among elders was cut in half.

            As of 1963, 20% of Americans living below the poverty line had never been examined by a physician; by 1970 this was true of only 8%. Between 1965 and 1980, infant mortality was halved, thanks to Medicaid and other government-subsidized health programs. The nutritional level of poor Americans improved substantially between the mid-1960s and the late 1970s, thanks to food stamp and school lunch programs.”

            What happened: 1) market forces moved in the opposite direction with incomes dropping and unemployment increasing between 1973 and 1986. 2) “By the 1980s, income inequality had begun its long rise to the record-setting levels we have seen in recent years.

            Yet during this period of falling real wages, politicians began winding down the war on poverty. In the 1980s, they shifted the tax burden from income taxes to more regressive payroll taxes, slashed investments in urban renewal, housing and transportation, and cut back on services to the poor. Between 1970 and 1991, the purchasing power of the typical welfare benefit decreased by more than 40%.”

            From that period, when the War on Poverty ended under Reagan, median wages have fallen 40%. All studies show that academic acheivement and thus social mobility is linked to family income.

            Today, a family of 3 (the average size of a family on govt assistance) can get only $540 a month plus foodstamps of $4.20 per person per day, not enough to rise out of poverty and not enough to effect academic progress. That is why social mobility is all but dead.

            ” In 1968, the minimum wage was 55% of the median full-time wage. Today, a minimum-wage worker earns just 37% of the median wage. The median benefit for a family of three under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs amounts to only about one-third the poverty level, and many families are now reaching the lifetime limits imposed on eligibility.”

            Blacks voted for Democrats since FDR; it did not start with LBJ. What LBJ gave up was the white Southern vote when he pushed through the Civil Rights Act, ceding the South to the Republicans who still hold it, pandering to the same white racist base the democrats once owned.

            Helping the poor can be called pandering, or it can be called promoting the general welfare and helping poor children, the major recipients of govt assistance, rise out of poverty.

            The War on Poverty was a great success but it ended with Reagan; internationally, adjusted for poverty, which the US leads the advanced world in, the US ranks 6th. Those who cut back help for the poor pander to the racists and the 1% who are the base of the Republican Party and they lock the poor in poverty, using the false argument that helping people rise out of poverty is a form of slavery.

            The claim that 40% of govt assistance programs goes to bureacrats is a naked lie. The overhead for Medicaid is less than 2%, with more than 98 cents of every dollar going back to the private sector, to doctors and hospitals and drug companies. SNAP also has a low overhead. Politifact found: “In 2012, the Food and Nutrition Service spent a little over $112 billion, an amount that includes not only food stamps but also several smaller nutrition programs for low-income Americans. Of this, $136.5 million was spent on administration. That works out to one tenth of 1 percent — nowhere near 70 percent.

            The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities came up with a somewhat larger percentage on administration in a 2012 briefing paper. The center came up with administrative costs of about 5 percent by including several other categories of spending, including state administrative costs and educational programs for SNAP participants.”

          • Greyguy

            Did you count the fraud and the costs at the State level, your friends only counted FEDERAL COSTS, most of the costs of administration are born at the state level. Have you ever been to a Welfare office and seen how these programs are administered? My daughter worked in an office before she started grad school and diqualified close to a third of the people she encountered for fraud, my question was, what was the rest of her office doing?

          • dale ruff

            There is fraud in both public and private sectors; it’s a wash.
            For instance: “Conservatively, fraud steals $80 billion a year across all lines of insurance(private). (Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimate).”

            “The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) estimates that the financial losses due to health care fraud (private) are in the tens of billions of dollars each year.”

            Here we have 100 billion in private sector fraud in the insurance industry, not counting improper payments.

            ” The $125 billion (estimated by the OMB)also included improper payments for programs including Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Social Security and the school lunch program. Medicare is the government agency with the largest chunk of improper payments.” politifact

            The amount of improper payments (not necessarily fraud but still wasteful) of the public part of Medicare was 34 billion. Keep in mind that the improper payments would not be entirely returned since if a surgeon charges $10K for $5K of services, he would still receive $5K. So the $34 billion of Medicare overpayments includes a large amount that ARE legitimate. Politifact explains: “… the government wouldn’t end up with $125 billion even if all improper payments were eliminated for all those services, including Medicare.”

            IN fact, the govt is cutting improper payments: ” Obama announced on June 8, 2010, the administration’s intent to cut the improper payment rate in the Medicare fee-for-service program in half by 2012, eliminating more than $20 billion in payment errors. ”

            Fraud and improper payments are a reality in both public and private sector, but there is no evidence it is worse in the public sector or that by switching from private insurance to government insurance (as with single payer), that fraud would increase. It may even decrease, as govt employees have no incentive to facilitate fraud.

            The biggest fraud of all is the 400 billion in wasted overhead of the private health insurers with 15% overhead, which is 90% higher than Medicare, Medicaid or the VA with equal amounts of fraud.

            By switching to Medicare for All, we could save 900 billion year (400 billion in wasted private overhead, with CEOs making nearly 100 time more than top Medicare managers; 300 billion in saved tax breaks for medical costs, and 170 billion that ER for the uninsured costs). That is more than enough to insure everyone and increase coverage to 100% and include dental and vision, while relying on the same private doctors and hospitals that Medicare now pays.

            Over half the public supports single payer and 80% of Democrats (and most independents). All other advanced nations have such plans (of different varieties) and this is how they manage to have universal coverage with superior health results at half the cost.

            Only the fiscally irresponsible, or the parasitic private insurers,and their paid shills, oppose such a proposal, which would make healthcare cheaper, simpler, and more efficient.

          • dale ruff

            You make unsupported and false assertions, which I will correct:
            ” developed new health insurance programs for the elderly and the poor, increased Social Security benefits and introduced food stamps and nutritional supplements for low-income pregnant women and infants. They established Head Start programs for young children, Upward Bound and Job Corps programs for teenagers, and work-study opportunities for college students.

            It is often forgotten that this was a bipartisan campaign. A Republican president, Richard Nixon, and legislators from both sides of the aisle expanded the War on Poverty in the early 1970s. Nixon extended the reach of the food stamp program, added an automatic cost-of-living increase to Social Security and instituted the Supplemental Security Income system to benefit disabled adults and children” cnn.com

            Achievements of the War on Poverty:
            “In 1963, despite more than 15 years of prior economic expansion, the child poverty rate was almost 25%. By the early 1970s it had been lowered to 15%. Between 1967 and 1975, poverty among elders was cut in half.

            As of 1963, 20% of Americans living below the poverty line had never been examined by a physician; by 1970 this was true of only 8%. Between 1965 and 1980, infant mortality was halved, thanks to Medicaid and other government-subsidized health programs. The nutritional level of poor Americans improved substantially between the mid-1960s and the late 1970s, thanks to food stamp and school lunch programs.”

            What happened: 1) market forces moved in the opposite direction with incomes dropping and unemployment increasing between 1973 and 1986. 2) “By the 1980s, income inequality had begun its long rise to the record-setting levels we have seen in recent years.

            Yet during this period of falling real wages, politicians began winding down the war on poverty. In the 1980s, they shifted the tax burden from income taxes to more regressive payroll taxes, slashed investments in urban renewal, housing and transportation, and cut back on services to the poor. Between 1970 and 1991, the purchasing power of the typical welfare benefit decreased by more than 40%.”

            From that period, when the War on Poverty ended under Reagan, median wages have fallen 40%. All studies show that academic acheivement and thus social mobility is linked to family income.

            Today, a family of 3 (the average size of a family on govt assistance) can get only $540 a month plus foodstamps of $4.20 per person per day, not enough to rise out of poverty and not enough to effect academic progress. That is why social mobility is all but dead.

            Blacks voted for Democrats since FDR; it did not start with LBJ. What LBJ gave up was the white Southern vote when he pushed through the Civil Rights Act, ceding the South to the Republicans who still hold it, pandering to the same white racist base the democrats once owned.

            Helping the poor can be called pandering, or it can be called promoting the general welfare and helping poor children, the major recipients of govt assistance, rise out of poverty.

            The War on Poverty was a great success but it ended with Reagan; internationally, adjusted for poverty, which the US leads the advanced world in, the US ranks 6th. Those who cut back help for the poor pander to the racists and the 1% who are the base of the Republican Party and they lock the poor in poverty, using the false argument that helping people rise out of poverty is a form of slavery.

            The way to help the poor, most of whom are children, is by raising family income; the ways to do this is to raise the minimum wage, since most poor adults are working (TANF has only 1.5 million households, with the majority in them children and poor seniors and the disabled: the cost is less than 10% of the subsidies given to rich corporations like banks, energy, pharma, ag, etc).

            The right wing attacks attempts to serve the poor, disproportionately children and minority (blacks have only 8% the wealth of whites, and it aint because of DNA), while remaining silent on the huge subsidies that go to the world’s richest corporations. They call feeding hungry poor children(thru SNAP and the Dept of Ed) pandering. Decent people call it compassion and a wise investment in reducing both suffering and lack of opportunity.

            As for 40% of govt assistance programs going to bureaucrats, that is a naked lie: the largest program is Medicaid and its overhead is under 2%, with 98cents of every dollar going to private doctors and hospitals (compare to 15% overhead for private insurance); Cost for SNAP is about 1% or 5% if you include state costs and educational programs. politifact.com

            You are believing lies my friend. Helping the poor (who are mostly children) is not only the obligation of decent people but a wise investment in the future.

          • Greyguy

            There is no such nthing as a socialist democracy, ask the Germans, Swedes and French how it feels to be overrun by muslims imported by their government who now are being given the right to decimate their societies by their leaders and are being told to stand down or be arrested for even demonstating against the invasion. If it were a democracy the government would be gone and so would the Muslins and their no-go zones. And in these contries a lot of the manufacturing has also left these countries for the same reasons they left ours.

            As to your point that teachers need unions to raise the level of teachers, that is a joke, the quality of education has steadily declined as unions have become pervasive in education and the quality of our teachers as well, they are basically bureaucrats, many care for the students, but will only fight for their own needs, and not for those of students when negotiating a contract…in the end the money flows to them not the students. In most cases unions manage to raise wages; however, in far too many cases they also manage to raise them to a point where in good times the companies overpay for what they get in skills. When the economy tightens, that overpayment translates into products that the consumer will not pay for and layoffs, and if the wages do not go down, a transfer of jobs to where the wages are more in line with the skills or automation takes place. Management should never have paid those wages to begin with, but I cannot speak to the “greater fool ” theory of logic. I rarely go to a Starbucks because their coffee is overpriced for the quality, their stores are too fancy for what I receive as a product, and frankly the service is not that great. Same with fast food joints, and out POTUS wants to upgrade these workers to between $11 to 15 per hour after two hours of training for an entry level job into our working society, please. Wait until you see the automation and unemployment 2 to 4 years after that goes into effect, especially in ethnic and rural communities where skill levels are low to begin with.

          • dale ruff

            “Social democracy is a political ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, and a policy regime involving collective bargaining arrangements, a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions.[1][2][3] Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes; and is often associated with the set of socioeconomic policies that became prominent in Northern and Western Europe—particularly the Nordic model in the Nordic countries—during the latter half of the 20th century.”

            Hitler built his first death camp Dachau to put away his most hated enemies, the Communists and Social Democrats.

            Today, Northern Europe and many other nations from Canada to Japan to Costa Rica to Venezuela, etc. In fact, the Socialist Internatinale has 160 member parties from over 100 nations, almost all social democrats.

            Among the dozens of social democracies are the happiest nations on earth. “According to a new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based group of 30 countries with democratic governments that provides economic and social statistics and data, happiness levels are highest in northern European countries.

            Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rated at the top of the list, ranking first, second and third, respectively. Outside Europe, New Zealand and Canada landed at Nos. 8 and 6, respectively. The U.S. did not crack the top 10. Switzerland placed seventh and Belgium placed tenth.

            The report looked at subjective well-being, defined as life satisfaction. Did people feel like their lives were dominated by positive experiences and feelings, or negative ones?

            To answer that question, the OECD used data from a Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries around the world last year.” commondreams.org

            The refugee crisis in Europe is a result of US destruction of Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Europe, like the US, depends on immigration to keep its population from declining, but the US caused refugee overflow is causing problems, tho these nations still require immigants to prevent recession and an unsustainable worker/retiree ratio.

            There is no contradiction between social democracy and immigration but displacing 10 million people through criminal wars has created a crisis.

            Your denial that higher wages and benefits for teachers does not attract better teachers is so absurd that it is a joke. Since Reagan crushed the private sector union movement, median wages have declined by 40%, while the 1% have tripled their incomes. If you look at a graph of union membership and rising income, you see an exact correlation, including the decline that began with Reagan.

            Productivity, with collective bargaining, resulted in higher wages; the decline in union membership has also meant a decline in wages, as workers no longer have a voice.. 100% increased productivity is matched with a 40% decline in wages: this is evidence of a theft of the value of labor….and nothing but unions can represent workers rights and demand they benefit as the economy grows. That’s a fact.

            The chart at http://www.epi.org/publication/unions-decline-and-the-rise-of-the-top-10-percents-share-of-income/
            illustrates the history of this theft of the value of labor

            This link has a chart which makes it crystal clear how union membership and shared prosperity are linked…and unlinked.
            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/union-membership-middle-class-income_n_3948543.html

            RE minimum wages and unemployment, the evidence shows that higher wages leads to more spending and thus more jobs not less. Cities with high minimum wages like Seattle and Portland also have very low unemployment rates, under 4%.

            The evidence refutes your claims, which are based on dogmatic theory and not actual historical results. Higher wages for teachers attracts better teachers: only a fool would deny that. Cities with high minimum wages have much lower unemployment than the national average. Workers with more money to spend spend it and spending is what creates jobs. It’s a simple fact. Dogma does not refute evidence; it blinds you to the truth.

  • Ralph Sinamon

    Well…..Duhhhh! Like we haven’t noticed?

  • nimbii

    This is why Russia and China are able to create world class weapons with smaller military budgets. The weapons manufacturers would have their heads on pikes if they charged Russia and China what they charge us.

    Many say that Russian and Chinese weapons may even be better than our own.

  • drbhelthi

    The U.S. Military has been more recently identified as the proxy military force of Israel.

  • Zionist Subversion of America

    This is good. Hopefully this Colonel can educate more patriots, especially the younger generation of brainwashed cannon fodder. Truth is spreading. There is a reason why the State has erased Smedley Butler from history.

  • clarioncaller

    Colonel Wilkerson must have been WAY under the radar before he made these statements. Otherwise, the Obama Wutang Clan would have been visited upon him. Government Whistleblowers are a ‘dying’ breed.

  • Doug Stevens

    The GIANT Parasite right inside the Tax Pit !!

  • seekless

    Bush was the only one that fought terrorist’s.

  • seekless

    Idiots still blaming Bush.

  • seekless

    bUSH CALLED it was it was.

  • ErickDean

    Any six year old who knows half of U.S. and world history untaught knows about general Butler who
    was exactly right in his world war business commentary that even Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his last speech before leaving office. In fact General Butler it was who tipped of the Roosevelt Admini-
    stration of a planned coup against the government during the 1930’s and the incident can be seen
    on You-Tube.

    EDT
    Chicago, Il

  • Greyguy

    I think you Maxrist societies have led the way in mass murder with Mao as the lead perp, and by the way Hitler’s little band were Socialists to the core, they only shared with the Arians, just like the Progressives only share with the Progressives and do not want “others” to be able to speak out against their wishes on such issues as global warming and a Islam according to Loretta Lynch at DOJ, perish the thought that Free Speech is a right in this country. All governments need their useful idiots and the progessives have many.

    • dale ruff

      I think Catholic Hitler might refute your claim, as well as Christians like Clinton and Bush, Johnson and Nixon, who killed or caused to be killed over 5 million. Mao was hardly a progressive, and he did not kill because he was a Marxist;; nor did Stalin, who presided over a state capitalist system, which had nothing to do with genuine socialism. This is all right wing propaganda, ignoring that in recent days, Christian leaders have killed millions of civilians while Communists have killed next to none.

      Hitler was hardly a socialist since the first concentration camp was Dachau in 1933,, which he filled with Communists, Marxists, and Social Democrats, while abolishing the left wing trade unions and burning the works of Marx. His base was the right wing lumpen proletariat and the dominant corporations and banks. Leftist either fled or were imprisoned and killed. He was more socialist than the Democratic Republic of North Korea is democratic.

      You are a useful idiot for the far right, which spawned Hitler and serves the interests of the corporate elites.

      Today, the richest, freest, and most stable nations are the social democracies, which are all in part hybrids which have incorporated many Marxist elements such as labor unions, progressive taxation, and universal education and healthcare.

      Marxist China has had the world’s fastest growing economy and has brought 300 million out of abject poverty in one generation.

      Even our “socialist” neighbors in Canada have a freer economy (8 of the 10 freest economies, according to the Heritage Index, are social democracies, of the kind Hitler hated and imprisoned or killed) and on average are richer than Americans.

      There are a hundred strains of Marxism from a libertarian strain to the kind of market socialism China now practices to the social democracies of Europe, which combine Marxist ideas with market ideas in hybrid systems.

      Useful idiots continue to see the world thru the prison of obsolete and undefined dogma about freedom and socialism and Marxism and progressivism. I urge you to dump all that baggage and take a resh look.

  • Eduardo Vasconcelos di Cantare

    Nah, really??? Tell us something we don’t know!

Thank you for sharing.
Follow us to receive the latest updates.

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter