L. Neil Smith's
Number 275, June 13, 2004

"The Sovereign in this country is the people themselves"

The Economics of Sitting Ducks
by Alan R. Weiss
Economics Editor, NetPlanetNews.com

Exclusive to TLE

All these people demanding war, let them shoulder an M16 and stand a post. If that were the case, Americans would quickly find a different way to prosecute the war on terror.

All these people who insist "we" must "fight this war", do so by proxy with soldiers underpaid and clearly undertrained. Those soldiers are not only victims of bad policy, they're economic victims, too.

When those soldiers, made sitting ducks by an moronic policy of "nation-building", are killed, their families receive a pittance, except for the standard symbolic flag and letter. The amount they receive is a $6000 death benefit (which is taxable!), $1750 for burial costs (did anyone say, "pine box"?), and a flag most likely made in China. If there is a surviving spouse, they get $833 until they remarry, and if there are children, its $211 per month per child until they are 18 years old.

Lets do the math, average case: a young man of 24 is killed in action because the American Army, instead of being a fierce, offensive weapon of awesome power, is stuck in some desert burgh pinned down by Iraqi's with cheap sniper rifles. He's married, and his wife and he have one five-year old child. They get ($6000 * .75 tax bracket—yep, this "benefit" is taxable as income!) + $1750 burial cost + ($833/month x 120 months until she remarries in 10 years) + $32,916 for the child. That's a grand total of $139,126. THAT is the value of this soldier's life in monetary terms.

Looking at it in terms of lost income: how much could the soldier have earned out of the military in a civilian job? All that is lost, too ... figure $50,000 a year x 10 years (until the grieving widow remarries) is $500,000 lost. Some of that would have been taken as taxes by a government growing increasingly out of control—and some of this soldier's income would have been debased by inflation and the declining value of the dollar. But at least he would have been able to spend some of it.

For comparison, the next of kin of those who died in the World Trade Center tragedy will get an averate of $1.185 million. The range is $250,000 up to $4.7 million, by the way.

If you're looking for fairness, for reason, for logic, you're looking at the wrong place when you look to government. Congresscritters vote themselves pay raises, and our own citizens are prohibited in many states from defending themselves by carrying a sidearm. Moreover, we're much less safe than we were before those hideous bastard criminals destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. In prosecuting this war, the Administration, with the mewling complicity of a deballed Congress, has turned the Muslim world's anger full attention to us. While the rest of the world is too cowardly to recognize that the USA would not take an attack on its mainland lying down, it still demands billions of increasingly-debased dollars for its own protection.

That, too, is the cost of this war.

Does this make any sense to you?

Alan R. Weiss, in addition to being the Economics Editor for NetPlanetNews.com, is Vice President, Free State Project, CEO, Synchromesh Computing and ECL, and longtime contributor and supporter to Mike Badnarik's campaign.


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