As an American, I don't particularly enjoy thinking about the bigger picture or connecting loose ends on my own. If you want me to know something, just tell me! Don't make me read Story A and Story B and figure out if they go together. I'm busy!
Like, for instance, this story about US military spending. According to Global Security.org, our 2008 military budget is projected at $623 billion. The rest of the world combined in 2007 spent an estimated $500 billion. Now, in fairness, we're projected to spend around $180 billion in Iraq this year. And since nobody else in the world thought that invasion was a very good idea, that's all of our money. So let's knock our spending down to $443 billion. Not nearly as bad! Of course...the Bush administration's yearly budgets for Iraq have softpedaled the actual number every year. They're usually at least half off. So, let's take the number up to $700 billion.
Wow. That's a lot. $200 billion more than the entire world. Well, you know, as the Republicans say, the entire world would like to invade America and kill every single one of us, so let me do the math here. $200 billion / 300 million people = $666. The United States is spending as much as the entire world on military matters PLUS an extra $666 so you can survive. Just you. That is reassuring. When you arrive home in one piece tonight, think about it.
And, you know, China is the rising tiger of the East. They certainly want to have a more powerful army than us so they can jack up the prices of their goods but still force us to buy the,. So what are they spending? An estimated $65 billion. Well, the officially announced figure was $24 billion, but Global Security says a more likely estimate is $45 - 85 billion. But those Chinese are sneaky fuckers and the lead they're putting in our toys to kill us in stealth mode isn't free, so let's bump Chinese spending up to $100 billion.
Okay, so here's what we have:
US - $700 billion
China - $100 billion
Rest of world - $435 bilion
You will never get us, world! We have too many defenses! And it's not like our economy would collapse under the weight of the military-industrial complex. That fag move is for the Soviets!
Sorry that took so long. Then there's Story B. According to research noted at Physorg.com, the US is last among 19 industrialized nations in deaths that could've been prevented by access to timely and effective health care. France came in first. In 97-98 (a Clinton year, by the way), we were 15th in this study. We've since fallen to last. Bill O'Reilly tells me socialized medicine doesn't work, so that can't be the reason why. After all, he is smart. Maybe it's the red wine. Although the French drink white in the summer because it is more refreshing.
In 2002, the United States government spent $2,364 per capita on healthcare. France spent $2,080. Which perfectly explains why they're last and we're first. Wait. Hold on. We're last. Huh. Weird.
Anyway, if the United States spent $2000 on healthcare for every single person in the country, that would be $600 billion. You could call it universal coverage. If you like people dying instead of living, you could call it socialized medicine. It really doesn't matter what you call it, though, because such a system just isn't tenable. This country simply doesn't have that kind of money to throw around. I mean, it's not $500 billion is just sitting in a hole somewhere!
Anyway, that's that. Two stories, totally unrelated.
Oh! I almost forgot. If our healthcare system was as efficient as France's, 101,000 fewer people would've died last year. A lack of access to timely healthcare killed 101,000 Americans last year. The terrorists are so totally jealous.