Considering our treasure, the Penatgon

Where our treasure is, there our heart is also. Our treasure is lodged in the Pentagon. Well, lodged might not be the right word. Perhaps squandered is a better word. Whatever. Military spending tells us a lot about our national heart.

Right now Congress is debating whether to permanently end funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would leave some rural areas at the mercy of corporate news casting and endanger Sesame Street and other commercial-free children’s television. The cut would reduce the deficit by about $400 million.

It is difficult for me to get my mind around how much a million dollars is, especially since I heard yesterday that a poll of millionaires reports most wouldn’t feel really rich unless they had at least seven and a half million dollars.

But take a look at ballistic missile defense. The Pentagon has been trying to do it -- that is, acquire the capacity to shoot down incoming enemy missiles while they are still in the stratosphere -- since 1961. We have spent $135 billion on this effort and the Pentagon has budgeted another $40 billion for the next four years. And we still don’t have the hang of it.

We’d be far better off giving ourselves a tax increase and spending the $40 billion to provide clean water for the world. Now clean water, that’s a real treasure.

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