New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Ready to Rumble?

August 17, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author, Politics

Let’s Agitate for Jobs — Not War and More Weapons

by Judith Le Blanc

Something is missing in the swirl of news reporting on the debt ceiling deal struck on August 2 by the Congress and the President for close to $1 trillion in cuts in discretionary programs over the next decade.

Will the 58% of discretionary spending that goes to the Pentagon take a hit in the name of deficit reduction?

The short answer is not necessarily, not unless we are ready to rumble.

Even the Senate Armed Services Committee leaders Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain have no idea what the deal does to the Pentagon budget.

The cruel irony is the debt ceiling deal exempts spending on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, even though war costs are one of the biggest factors driving up the national debt by over a trillion dollars. (more…)

The Weapons-Free Dividend

August 11, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Lawrence Wittner, Politics

How to Save a Quarter Trillion Dollars

by Lawrence Wittner

In the midst of the current stampede to slash federal spending, Congress might want to take a look at two unnecessary (and dangerous) “national security” programs that, if cut, would save the U.S. over a quarter of a trillion dollars over the next decade.

The first of these is the Obama administration’s plan to spend at least $185 billion in the next ten years to “modernize” the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons arsenal.  At present, the U.S. government possesses approximately 8,500 nuclear warheads, and it is hard to imagine that this country would be safer from attack if it built more nuclear weapons or “improved” those it already possesses.

Indeed, President Barack Obama has declared — both on the 2008 campaign trail and as president — that he is committed to building a world without nuclear weapons. (more…)

The Debt Debate

August 08, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Guest Author, Politics

A Missed Opportunity to Talk About War

by Wim Laven

“We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

For months the deadline loomed; on August 2nd the USA would reach its limit on borrowing. Hard times and ugly arguing took place, but in the end an agreement was reached. Call it what you will: a compromise, a resolution, “the President Surrenders” read a New York Times headline, and etc. I’ll just call it a disappointment.

I never once heard mention of military spending, the cost of running military bases all over the globe, the cost and inadequacy of our combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, or anything else about our failed military policy. (more…)

Medicare IS the Solution

July 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

A Modest Proposal that Makes Sense . . . and Dollars

by Robert Reich

Not only is Social Security on the chopping block in order to respond to Republican extortion. So is Medicare.

But Medicare isn’t the nation’s budgetary problems. It’s the solution. The real problem is the soaring costs of health care that lie beneath Medicare. They’re costs all of us are bearing in the form of soaring premiums, co-payments, and deductibles.

Medicare offers a means of reducing these costs — if Washington would let it.

Let me explain.

Americans spend more on health care per person than any other advanced nation and get less for our money. (more…)

Expanding Bike Programs

June 15, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper

A Modest Proposal in a Time of Shrinking Budgets, Soaring Gas Prices

by Jay Walljasper

Gas prices have raced toward four bucks for the second time in three years. So it’s more crucial than ever to find quick, enduring ways to free our nation from over-dependence on oil.

Millions of Americans suffer when prices at the pump rise, because they have no alternative to driving almost everywhere they go. We need to create a transportation system that will not be held hostage by volatile fuel prices.

Here’s some good news: Over the past few years, simple infrastructure improvements (bike paths, lanes, etc) making it more convenient and safe for people to bike and walk have been constructed coast-to-coast. Cities from New York to Minneapolis to San Francisco have enjoyed 100 percent or more increases in the number of people biking to work, school, and shopping. (more…)