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In a country where defense giants Boeing and General Electric and 24 other major corporations paid no federal taxes for the last four yearsOe
OeThey say that we need to cut Medicare, Medicaid and/or Social Security.
In a country where working people pay out huge portions of our incomes in regressive sales taxes, "user's fees" and other hidden taxesOe
OeStock market trades have no sales taxes, the income disparity between the wealthy and the rest of us continues to grow, and the rich have "problems" like figuring out where to park their giant pools of money 
In a world where every other advanced industrialized country has low, or no-cost higher education, life-long free health care, decent public transportation Oe
OeThe richest country in the world has none of this.
Well over half of U.S. federal spending goes to pay for past and present wars. The United States spends as much on its military as the rest of the world combined. The U.S. has troops in over 130 countries around the world.
This military spending is not about "defense." It is about controlling huge areas of the world to advance the interests of the corporate powers, from both parties, who control the government. It is about shoring up the largest empire the world has ever seen. That is why there is no talk of huge cuts in military spending in the current "debate."
This is obscene, and not just from the standpoint of the fake budget "crisis" and the waste of resources that could be helping people in this country. It is obscene because young men and women continue to die, not for freedom, not for defense of their country, but for an empire which doesn't benefit them or those they love. It is obscene because the peoples in the countries dominated by this informal empire are not able to choose their own destinies and live in peace.
This budget crisis is fake. President Obama and the Republicans are asking working Americans to cut their standards of living, to delay their retirements, to sacrifice their medical care for a crisis that does not exist.
Just so that the rich of this country can get even more.
It doesn't have to be this way. During the Great Depression, in conditions far more severe than any of us can imagine, movements in the streets of this country forced the creation of social programs that Democrats and Republicans are doing their best today to dismantle. It is precisely that "street heat" that we urgently need to rekindle today.
During the Vietnam War, President Johnson discovered that he couldn't have both guns and butter. This is even truer today with our heightened trend towards economic crises, and an American economy which is shrinking relative to the rest of the international economy.
It is to their eternal shame that most of today's professional liberal commentators and activists are ignoring the obscene military budget during this phony debate. In doing so, they tacitly give consent to the prospect of wrecking decades of social service gains over just the next few weeks. The hangers-on of both major parties deserve the contempt and steadfast opposition from the 99%.
By Andy Thayer, co-founder, Gay Liberation Network. Andy can be reached at LGBTliberation@aol.com
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