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EJ
12-21-06, 11:19 AM
Bush: More troops needed for 'long struggle' (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/12/20/bush.main/index.html)
December 20, 2006 (CNN)

The White House is considering an expansion of the U.S. Army and Marines for "the long struggle against radicals and extremists," President Bush said during a Wednesday news conference.

Bush would not elaborate on where that struggle would take place, only that he wanted to ensure that the U.S. military "stays in the fight for a long period of time."

"I'm not predicting any particular theater, but I am predicting that it's going to take a while for the ideology of liberty to finally triumph over the ideology of hate," he said.

AntiSpin: For readers who are expecting an imminent crash in the U.S. economy with no source of employment in sight to fill the gap left open by the collapsing housing bubble, consider that since 9/11 government spending on defense has provided most of the jobs lost since the 2001 recession. Might even more defense spending be the policy answer to a post housing bubble recession?

The Economic Policy Institute report Without defense-related spending, private sector would still be in a jobs hole (http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20050803) states:
"The private sector has 1.2 million fewer non-defense-related jobs today than it had four years ago. Only as a result of increases in government spending over the past four years, mostly on defense, does the private sector have more jobs now than it did before the recession."

http://www.itulip.com/images/defense.jpg
Source: Economic Policy Institute

A post-stock market bubble, war-based economy may keep more people employed than a depressed economy, but the negative long term impact on the engine of the U.S. economy–it's most educated and productive citizens–may be starting to show. Speaking with a reader on the phone last night, he mentioned several friends of his with boys in their early teens who are scouting out countries to move to in order to keep their kids safe from what they see as a steady drift toward a military draft. Top of the list are Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. I have also spoken with a dozen parents over the past few months–these are high net worth families–who investigating alternative locations, not so much to keep their kids out of some future war in "any particular theater," as Bush stated, but to avoid the social fallout from the decimation of the U.S. middle class they are expecting to occur after the credit bubble collapses.

Now, iTulip is critical of Wall Street, the Fed, the national leadership, Congress, and many institutions of the United States that have taken this country away from its mission and ideals, especially over the past ten years. But readers probably sense that this criticism is borne of a deep-rooted love of the country. I subscribe to Sir Winston Churchill's observation that "America always does the right thing, but only after exhausting all other options." This is what passes for optimism these days. But for all its errors, if I put the U.S. to the Russell Baker test, as he described in a column more than 30 years ago when the U.S. was making a mess of Vietnam, the U.S. is still doing relatively well: the ultimate measure of a country's policies is determined by the net gain and loss of citizens–more people still trying to get in to the U.S. than trying to get out.

I know several recent immigrants to the U.S. ,so I don't yet see anything I'd call a net loss trend. But even a modest change in the trend is significant; it's a big deal to decide to leave your home country, so I take note of the few who have made the move and many who are actively investigating taking such a drastic step in the future, should things go from bad to worse. Only time will tell whether the people I'm hearing from are the "early adopters" of the idea of leaving the USA, an idea that may increase in popularity over time. We shall see if these are snowflakes on a hillside that collect into large, fast moving snowballs, or not. We watch this development together.

jk
12-21-06, 02:38 PM
reading your post, ej, makes me aware that i am not quite as cynical and pessimistic as i usually think: i still have hope that this country can pull through some tough times ahead and even be the better for it. that's just a hope, though, and far from a certainty.

Jeff
12-21-06, 04:59 PM
Can't be sure where I read it, but there was an article last weekend (NYT? Barron's?) about people giving up their US citizenship because the US makes them pay taxes on their foreign income, et al. The number was really low annually. I seem to recall that it was about 65.

While it's hardly a trend, I definately have my alternative locations picked out, and will probably be in Nicaragua or Guatemala if the shit hits the fan. (It helps that I've got family and friends all over the area.)

tree
12-22-06, 08:47 AM
This spring I attended a seminar where one of the panel members was an Army psychiatrist who'd been serving in Iraq. I asked the panel how attitudes toward war would change if there was a universal draft for all young men and women. The question troubled the shrink: She said it was "political" and before she would answer wanted to know if there were any reporters in the room. The only reason the Vietnam War, which was a stupid war, ended, is because young people, including well-to-do ones at risk for being drafted, demonstrated. Some even chose to do heavy prison time as a form of protest. Iraq is another stupid war, and we probably would be long out of there now if we had a universal draft with no exemptions--kids from all income levels would be out in the streets, accompanied by their boomer parents. If wealthy citizens have no skin in the game of checking the power of politicians and their campaign financiers, America is finished. However there is little chance of a universal draft--too "political," as the Army shrink said. Expect taxpayer funds to be used for higher financial incentives to enlist troops, poor kids returning home without faces and limbs, our future Timothy McVeighs. Maybe everyone in prison for non-violent drug-related convictions could be given a pass in exchange for military service--big pool there!