I want to give some context for the huge dollar numbers so common in political and economic discussions.
It would only cost $200 billion a year to end abject poverty worldwide. (UN, Jeffrey Sachs)
If everyone on earth had food, clothes, shelter and clean water - what would that do for security, innovation, economics, the environment and human rights?
Those are big election issues, right?
Let's compare that $200 billion to some other things that are important in politics, apparently many, many times more important than ending abject poverty if money is our measure. Lets start with tax havens for the top few percent who receive our tax dollars via their ownership of the corporations which are recipients of government contracts, and in particular the military-industrial corporations whose private contractors receive a huge percentage of the military budget. For example prime intelligence contracts worth over $50 billion went over 70% to private contractors and in intelligence there are now more private than public employees.
The ultra rich hide over $20 trillion in offshore tax haven accounts while American minimum wage buys less than it did in 1968 and one in six families in the USA with children are extremely food insecure, lacking adequate nutrition at least once a year. The "job creators" don't use profits to create jobs, pay more or provide more benefits for workers. Instead they buy companies, combine them, and fire the duplicate workers. The ultra rich buy votes in Congress with their vast wealth too. Go see the correlation of Congress member's votes with donations made to their campaigns at maplight.org. Both parties are corrupt. The best analysis I've seen of Romney's economic plan done by MIT shows households making under $250,000 will on average pay $500 more in taxes, but the rich will pay less. Obama isn't much better. Neither candidate will do anything here.
The USA military budget is at least $500 billion a year not counting Iraq, Afghanistan, Veterans benefits, States spending or interest on past wars. It's over $1 trillion if you count that stuff. Private contractors get a huge cut. Americans are out of work, but for every billion dollars we spend on the military we lose from 5,000 to 15,000 jobs compared to spending the money on green jobs, health or education. Even just cutting the military budget and giving the money back to the taxpayers creates more jobs than spending it on the military. That's because the military isn't very labor intensive per dollar compared to other jobs. Go check my numbers, I'm low balling. The jobs numbers are from the Department of Labor, analysis by the PERI Institute. Neither candidate will do anything here.
The fossil fuel companies own over 2,795 GT of carbon assets worth $27 trillion at current market rates, but we can only burn about 565 GT more if we want an 80% chance of staying under 2.0C or 3.6F increase in global mean surface temperature over the next century. The Canadian Alberta Tar Sands contain more than 200 GT. Yet Exxon alone spends $37 billion a year or $100 million dollars a day, looking for more. Neither candidate will do anything here. Again I am low-balling, not counting coal oil or shale oil assets.
Both candidates are pro-torture, pro-warrantless spying, pro-secret prisons, pro-assassinate American citizens without trial, pro-indefinite detention, pro-military-industrial-complex, pro-privatize profits and socialize risk, pro-drone, pro-WTO-WIPO-WorldBank-IMF, anti-poor, anti-labor, anti-drug, anti-free speech (zones?), anti-American motherfuckers. And that's just the start of the list.
Check my numbers using scholar.google.com
So what to do? What to do?
For the citizen looking for change, four boxes are available:
soap, ballot, jury and ammo.
Please consider order of use carefully!
Since we're discussing box 1 and 2 here ... what to do?
"white box" and "priority voting" ... google the terms ... I'm too lazy
Publicly funded elections - via Lawrence Lessig's proposed Constitutional Amendment described in "How money corrupts Congress and a plan to stop it" ... google it too.
Guaranteed Minimum Income
I often evaluate policy decisions by considering the effects from security, economics, environmental and human rights perspectives. Usually all are relevant. To do such an evaluation effectively requires context.
I hope I have helped to provide some context for the huge dollar numbers which are so commonly used without providing any meaningful reference.
$200 billion annually to END ABJECT POVERTY worldwide.
REMEMBER THAT NUMBER FOR FUTURE CONTEXT!
(Yes, I was yelling)
My State is not going to swing.
I'll vote for Jill Stein and so will Richard M. Stallman.