9 December 2019   1 comment

The Washington Post has published an extraordinary article on the information passed on by the US government on the war in Afghanistan which began in October 2001 and which still continues. The article is based upon 2,000 pages based upon interviews with 400 officials connected to the war. These interviews were conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a US government office established in 2008. The documents chronicle the clear sense by most government officials that the war in Afghanistan was not attaining any of the stated goals of the US justifying the war. Despite this clear understanding, the war continued with “more than 775,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded in action, according to Defense Department figures.” In addition, more than 43,000 Afghan citizens were killed, more than 64,000 Afghan security forces were killed, more than 42,000 insurgents were killed, more than 1100 NATO forces were killed, and US contractors, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists were killed. And the killing goes on, despite the evidence that the war is accomplishing little.

These documents resonate strongly with an earlier release of documents–known as the Pentagon Papers–on the conduct of the Vietnam War. Those documents also testified to false and misleading statements by by US government officials on the successes in attaining the objectives of the war in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the war in Afghanistan has not generated an antiwar movement as strong as that which grew up in the Vietnam War. But in terms of the honesty of those officials sending men and women to kill in the name of the American people it appears as if nothing has changed. The Washington Post article is long but well worth the effort to read.

Greg Sargent has written an op-ed for the Washington Post on the growing income inequality in the US. Many have criticized early studies of income inequality because those studies did not include transfers of income–subsidies toward food costs, health insurance, and other government benefits–to the poorer members of US society. To those critics, these transfers redistribute money in a way that mitigates the inequality. Sargent indicates that the transfers do not in fact reduce the growing inequality in any substantial way:

“As they demonstrate, the effective tax rate (federal, state, local and other taxes) paid by top earners has steadily declined since the 1950s and 1960s, when the tax code really was quite progressive, to a point where the highest income groups pay barely more, percentage wise, than the bottom.

“Indeed, in 2018, the top 400 earners for the first time paid a lower effective overall tax rate than working-class Americans. There are many reasons for this radical decline in progressivity, including domestic and international tax avoidance, the whittling away of the estate and corporate taxes, and the repeated downsizing of top marginal rates.”

We should keep this data in mind when the government cuts food stamps to the poor because tax revenues are insufficient to reduce the budget deficit.

Posted December 9, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “9 December 2019

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  1. Pingback: 21 January 2020 | World Politics News

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