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Reroute It

by Sudhama Ranganathan Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013 at 11:51 AM

There are all manner of things that get done with our tax payer cash. Countless. If we learned of them all just today, most voters would probably demand to elect entirely new representatives from entirely new parties. If the cable news network’s decided each to dedicate a full day to listing all the things they went to, each taking a separate day in successive order, there would be hell to pay. Just think of the things we know about that have had us so upset since 2003.

Smiley face

May 1, 2003 was when President Bush told us all the mission had been accomplished in the Iraq War. From there the war just got worse and worse. The news every night told us otherwise, and the Bush administration soon took heat for telling us things were finished when they were far from being over. We wanted to know more, and the media began a full court press. It didn't take long to burn off the thin plastic sheen glossing over the truth revealing things had actually gone terribly wrong.

There were no WMD, there was no connection between 9-11 and Saddam Hussein and more people were dying fighting in Iraq after the proclamation of “mission accomplished” than after. To make matters worse, the people that did hit us on 9-11 were still on the loose, and, yet president Bush said on March 13, 2002, “We haven't heard from him in a long time [...] I truly am not that concerned about him.” ( So we had been fighting a war in Iraq for absolutely nothing, and Bush allowed Bin Laden to escape.

The wars dragged on with the nation just wanting them to stop. The tallies of how much things were costing were mounting and year by year we were dumping cash into pits in the sand in a foreign land and for what? In almost every college dorm room they knew, in almost every neighborhood bar it was being discussed, in almost every chat room, forum and other social networking sties that were newer at that time it was being said, husbands were saying it to wives, fathers talked about it with their sons, sisters talked about it with each other and so on.

We'd been had. We had been burned. We had been taken. The only people benefitting in the near future were those that stood to gain from any oil industry profits, defense industry profits, the former employer of the then vice-president, Halliburton, and the like. But they didn't pay most of the taxes that were responsible for making them so wealthy.

For example, oil companies were not paying much of their taxes. In fact, it started coming to light most were using offshore dummy companies as fronts to avoid paying US taxes. Meanwhile, collectively we were footing most of the costs for the wars, with no hope for a return on our investment. We were footing the costs to go in, take down a terrible dictator, pay for the costs of installing a new government, pay for all the weapons of war we were sending over there. Oh and of course the fuel for the planes, the tanks, the various other trucks, cars and other vehicles and of course the gigantic watercraft to ferry the war to Saddam to get more of all that oil we would use up (and pay for more of along the way), all so privately owned corporations could get wealthier.

Was that good for us? Was that what you would call “American interests?” Maybe for a small handful of Americans that was true, but the vast majority of us, no. Not at all, and we were smelling a skunk.

After that liver shot, the uppercut came in the form of the subprime housing scam (bubble) collapsing. We were told, as with Iraq, we had to give over vast sums of our hard earned tax payer dollars to bail out some wealthy corporations, just for a few businesses as before, when compared with the large amount of businesses in the US and the huge amount that needed financial help. Also, again, as was the case with Iraq, we needed to give them money so they could get wealthier.

And get wealthier they did. They took our cash which we were told was being given to them so they could keep giving loans for things like payroll, etc. They took the cash, gave themselves bonuses for having caused the crash (for having masterminded it and the subsequent bailout really) and froze all lending. They of course wasted no time investing it for themselves and we saw them get wealthier and wealthier as the nation suffered the worst recession since the great depression, partly because people could not afford their loans, get loans or even get loan extensions. But that very small group of wealthy corporations, and that very tiny percentage of Americans (less than 1% of us), benefitted and reaped all the rewards of the gigantic handover.

We never did get the bailout for American taxpayers. We never did get the bailout for the working man and woman. We never did get something meant to help us all. Going into Iraq without first really examining the evidence to the contrary didn't help us. Putting off going after Bin Laden didn't help us. Massive bailouts without first really finding out why did not help us.

We still have huge military bases overseas, with no real explanation why. We already know it's small forces and drone strikes that take out terrorists. The bases were installed mostly after WWII the deal with the aftermath of the defeat of our enemies there and then expanded to contain the Soviet Empire. But Germany is no longer a threat, yet there are multiple nations in Europe still with tens of thousands of troops stationed in each with Germany holding the most. Many defense corporations are making a killing off of that.

But that does not go in our pockets. So we are essentially funding their wealth, putting that money directly in their pockets for nothing.

We could reroute it to pay off those national debts we've incurred in no small part helping wealthy corporations get wealthier. We could put it into our children's education, which as a nation has fallen sharply in quality and results. We could put it into infrastructure work which is badly needed, we could put it back into our own pockets - something we could really use that about now!

In the past some politicians put forth the argument the defense industry going gangbusters and oil corporations on full throttle means bread and butter for your average American – how we stay employed and paying the bills. Lies. Since 2000 the standard of living in America for the middle class – that majority of us has dropped dramatically. The fortunes of the wealthy have exploded exponentially. (

Don't think things have changed since the wars are over and the news isn't pumping out new updates about where our money went and to whom since 2000. We still want it back and barring that we wish to ensure we never have those problems again. It's time to be sensible. It’s time to look at where it's being wasted. It's time to reroute it.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to

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