Congress Cuts Mission Of Understanding To Pay For Machines Of Destruction
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve an amendment by Congressman John Ratcliffe, a Republican from Texas, with the purpose of eliminating the $5.7 million dollar budget of the Open World Leadership Center, an exchange program run by the U.S. Congress, bringing legislative leaders from former Soviet republics to observe our democratic system, and sending American legislative leaders to former Soviet republics to learn about political events there. The Open World Leadership Center is a program that was set up at the end of the Cold War in an effort to replace animosity with understanding.
John Ratcliffe said that the Open World Leadership Center must be eliminated because it’s just too expensive. “In this fiscal environment, we have to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars and we have to scrutinize every program that we allocate money towards,” Ratcliffe said.
Less than a week before this vote, John Ratcliffe voted in favor of increasing the immense military budget by $24.9 billion over the previous year’s spending. That’s just the amount of the increase Ratcliffe approved. The total budget for America’s war machine was $585.2 billion.
When John Ratcliffe says that there needs to be scrutiny for every program that Congress allocates money toward, he’s really only talking about targeting tiny investments. Ratcliffe doesn’t support scrutiny of the military’s wasteful spending, such as the Osprey MV-22, a military aircraft that doesn’t function properly, causing it to crash into the ground with alarming frequency. John Ratcliffe voted in favor of purchasing many more Osprey MV-22 aircraft – which cost American taxpayers $126 million dollars each.
For the money that Ratcliffe wants to spend on just one malfunctioning Osprey MV-22, the Open World Leadership Center could operate for over 22 years.
Imagine what could happen if the kind of money that John Ratcliffe throws at wasteful and destructive military programs was spent instead on programs to promote international peace and understanding. The deficit of such imagination on the part of politicians like John Ratcliffe is what we really need to scrutinize.