There’s a good reason that the embedded mass media won’t couple the national debt with the world war our leaders haven’t been paying for. It was the media’s steady stream of lies and disinformation that sparked the war and that has kept it going these many years. Except for a handful of misleading public opinion polls–”are you in favor of the war or are you a traitor”–there is no evidence of support among ordinary people for the bloodshed and destruction that we unleashed. If the media ever concede that their war is linked to the debt, people might start to think it’s their debt.
Even ignorant people know that war costs money. Whether our leaders pay now or pay later (an option not available to most of us), the tab must eventually come due. The media never raised the issue of cost, and they’re not about to start talking about it at this late date, and so all the discussion is about how to get the money out of ordinary people.
Ordinary people made a sizeable down payment a few years ago, but the creditors are at the door again, and they’re determined to grab their pelf from pensions and the various pools of money that form what the media so quaintly call the social safety net. Those who promoted and profited from our world war–a large part of what was spent went directly into the bulging pockets of a few rich people–will pay nothing.
I would tax the people responsible for the war debt, and I would start with the embedded mass media. I’d slap a tax on radio and TV advertising. I’d increase the fee for each successive broadcasting license granted to the same corporate entity. I’d impose a property tax on owners of more than one commmercial radio or TV station and on owners of more than one newspaper. I’d tax movie and TV violence: you want to peddle death and destruction, you can pay for the privilege, right at the box office. Not forgetting the talking heads that spouted all the disinformation, I’d enact a celebrity tax: name ten deserving Americans on your tax return, and the top 1000 vote-getters would pay an extra million each. Brian Williams, Rupert Murdoch and Wolf Blitzer would be at the top of my list. It’s only a billion dollars, but it’s justice, too.
I wouldn’t stop with the commercial media. I’d impose a big tax on government contractors, with a surtax on military suppliers. Military retirees above the rank of O-4 would see a cut in their pension checks. On the civilian side, the top 1000 income-earners–they average about 100 million each per year–would face confiscation of half their income until the debt was paid.
Obviously, the current crop of political leaders isn’t about to enact laws that will cost their rich benefactors anything. Until they lose confidence in their ability to buy the next election they can be depended on to defend those from whom they solicit money. Ordinary people have the power to reverse that trend simply by refusing to support a well-financed candidate. Why should a member of a labor union, for example, support somebody with a million-dollar campaign treasury? Why not, instead, resolve not to cast a vote for anybody who advertises on TV? If it means casting only one or two votes on election day, fine.
Another thing ordinary people can do is show up. You don’t have to wait till election day to make your dissatisfaction known. The thugs you’ve been voting for year after year need to be told that you’re cleaning up your act and withholding your support.
One way to let them know you’re fed up is to show up in Washington on October 6, when thousands will gather for an open-ended demonstration and occupation. October 6 is the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, and an invasion of the capital city is long overdue. Like the masses of Egyptians who occupied downtown Cairo and Alexandria in protest, we’ll be staying until we get action. Some of us will get arrested and some of us will get beaten, almost certainly, but our bodies are all we have left to invest.