Half-heartedness does not reach into majesty.
—Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
—Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
The government of the United States is officially shut down.1 This is a scary and somewhat misleading statement, but let’s go through the steps of what it is, why it has happened, how it can be stopped, and how it will affect you.
The first and most obvious question we have to ask is what exactly is a government shutdown anyway? The US federal government operates on a fiscal year that goes from October 1 to September 30 of the next year. By the end of September 30, Congress is supposed to have a new budget out. In recent years, Congress has not met that deadline and used stopgaps to delay the budget making process without incurring a shutdown. This year, that process failed, but that’s an entirely different issue that we will not deal with here.2 All you have to know is that Congress is supposed to pass a budget by September 30, and this year they failed to do so. As a result, according to the Anti-deficiency Act of 1884, the government may not “make or authorize an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available in an appropriation or fund for the expenditure or obligation” or “involve either government in a contract or obligation for the payment of money before an appropriation is made unless authorized by law.” 3 In colloquial speak, that means that the government is not able to fund non-essential programs without having funds appropriated for them in a budget. No budget means that the government can’t spend money on things, even if it has the money to do so.
This means that the government as a whole shuts down because it’s illegal to use its money to fund government agencies. However, “essential agencies” are still open. That begs the question of which agencies and programs are being shut down? Essential agencies vital to national security, like the NSA, military, air traffic controllers, and the like, are all remaining open. Likewise, agencies that have their own independent source of funding, like the Postal Service and the Federal Reserve, remain open.4 However, most other agencies are being shut, and Federal employees are being “furloughed,” or being told to not come to work. Over 800,000 employees have been told to not show up, and are not being paid.5 NASA, the Federal Park Service, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Centers for Disease Control (right in the middle of flu season, no less), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (which regulates derivative markets), the Internal Revenue Service, and even half of the CIA, are all shutting down or drastically reducing their workforce (up to 97%, in the case of NASA).67891011121314
What does all of these agencies closing or drastically reducing their workforce temporarily mean? How does all of this affect you? The IRS won’t be performing audits or be able to help you file taxes over the phone. Veterans won’t be able to sign up to get new mental or physical health services. The CDC will have a much smaller ability to track flu outbreaks. Federal museums and parks are closed until further notice. If you want to get a new passport or buy a gun, you’re out of luck. And it may even delay one of NASA’s Mars rover launches for another 26 months due to the tight launch window for Martian rovers.15 Worst of all, having so many workers not receiving pay is bad for the overall economy. A shutdown of just a few days, which looks likely, could see overall US GDP in Q3-Q4 reduce by 0.3%, which is dozens of billions of dollars lost simply to governmental incompetence.16 If the shutdown lasts for longer, the consequences to the economy could be far more disastrous.
All of this seems very drastic and dire, so why in the world did it happen in the first place? What caused Congress to fail to agree on a budget this year? In one word: Obamacare. Already delayed countless times, Obamacare has been scheduled to begin coming into effect today, October 1, 2013, and indeed it has done so (the government shutdown does not affect the roll-out of Obamacame).17 Despite losing the initial voting, a Presidential election, and a Supreme Case fighting Obamacare, a significant radical minority in the Republican party viewed this budget battle as the last way they could successfully block Obamacare from happening. House Republicans, led by the likes of Ted Cruz, tied their version of the budget with an act that would entirely defund Obamacare, essentially making the law moot. The Senate rejected this budget on the basis that Obamacare, regardless of one’s objections to it, is an act signed into law by the President, widely supported by a majority of Americans, and upheld by the Supreme Court.18 Holding the government and indeed a nation hostage in an attempt to defund a law one does not like is simply no way to behave as a politician, at least in this lowly writer’s opinion. Regardless, the inability of both the Republicans and the Democrats to agree on funding the government with or without defunding Obamacare has caused this government shutdown.
The question now on everybody’s lips is what will it take to end the shutdown, and how long will it last? The longest shutdown ever lasted 21 days under Bill Clinton in 1995.19 It is virtually unimaginable that this shutdown will go on for any time longer than that. Anything more than a few days, really, would be highly unlikely, but still possible. What is needed to end this government shutdown is for Congress to simply do their jobs and pass a budget. The House Republicans and the Senate need to come to an agreement over what to do over Obamacare, which has been a law for years and is just coming into effect. That could take a while, given their general incompetence at governance. Perhaps this could be a wake-up call to the American people at the absurd partisanship and combativeness of the politicians in power. Or perhaps not. Regardless, the government is shutdown and will remain shutdown until our Congressmen can learn to compromise like adults.
For two years, we have watched as Syria has torn herself apart. From the peak of one of the Middle East’s most tolerant and secular societies to polarized sectarianism that now ravages the nation, the old Syria is no more. She has burned to the ground, with the rest of the world giving a collective shrug. Islamic extremists have flooded into the country due to lack of Western support, leaving both sides of the conflict against American interests. And thousands upon thousands of civilians lay dead, with millions more homeless. It is a humanitarian crisis, and must be stopped. I’ve called for intervention countless times before, but now it seems that the great Western powers are finally seriously mulling action. This is the right move for a number of reasons, which I will lay out here.
Before we get into why intervention is the correct option, it would help to understand the conflict and how we failed the people of Syria. The seeds of civil war were sown during the frenzy of uprisings of the Arab Spring in early 2011. Syria was no exception to the spirit of the protests, with thousands pouring out into the streets in protest of Bashir al Assad, the tyrannical president of Syria. Rather than resigning like Mubarak or Ben Ali, Assad responded to the protests with brutality, mass imprisonment, and myriad executions. Like in Libya, protesters called on the West for the creation of a no-fly zone for protection. These calls, however, fell on deaf ears.
And so the people of Syria were left with little choice than to arm themselves. The initial coalition of rebels was broad and inclusive; Syria had a long tradition of Christians, Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites living side by side in harmony. Assad, of the Alawite Islamic sect, had the Syrian military on his side, a force numbering a little over 200,000 with advanced modern weaponry, tanks, and an air force. The rebels had little but manpower and small arms. After a few small gains by the rebels thanks to the initial shock of their attack and extraordinarily high morale, the conflict settled into a stalemate.
The calls for a no-fly zone from the West were still coming, but the rebels settled on instead asking for modern weaponry and money to finance their resistance. AK-47s are of little use against tanks. Again, however, these requests fell on deaf ears. So the rebels turned to other sources for weapons. The Gulf states, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were more than happy to oblige their Islamic brothers in casting off an Alawite leader and installing the Sunni majority (~60% of Syria) as the leaders of the nation. Previously, the rebels were a broad coalition with the aim of fighting Assad for the purpose of freedom and establishing a democracy. But when the rebels realized the only way they could receive weapons and thereby survive was to please their Gulf state benefactors, that purpose changed. The first does of sectarianism was injected into the conflict, with Sunni Islamic extremist groups flooding into Syria with the intention of creating an Islamic caliphate, armed with Saudi Arabian weaponry. These extremist groups were more heavily armed and well trained than their secular counterparts, so they began winning. It was only natural that many Syrians would flock to their side; if you know somebody can win battles, why not support them?
With the sectarianism, the Christians flipped sides and joined up with the Alawites and Assad, whilst the Kurds created their own separate autonomous rebellion, essentially seceding from Syria and setting up their own nation state in the north. And that is where the conflict lies today.
The reasons for intervening in this mess are many.
Rarely do America’s interests line up with humanitarian relief, but in the case of Syria they are aligned. It would be foolish of the Obama administration to sit on their hands now and watch as Syria further burns. Intervention is right, and intervention is necessary in Syria for myriad reasons. This intervention could be as little as surgical strikes on Assad or as great as creating, arming, and training a secular armed group to rival the Islamic extremist organizations and help tip the tide of the war in the rebels’ favor. Something must be done to save Syria. I implore the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to act, and act now. For two years, we have watched as over one hundred thousand people have been killed because we stood by and did nothing. How much more blood on our hands do we want?
Egypt is a country on the brink of chaos. Two days ago, millions poured out onto the streets to protest the arguably autocratic rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and the President, Mohammed Morsi. Morsi, elected a year ago on June 30, 2012, has been behaving very much like his Turkish counterpart Erdogan in his view of “democracy.” Morsi has used his slim electoral majority to justify vast autocratic powers and for ignoring the views of those who did not vote for him. As a result, only 28% of Egyptians support the President and his ruling party.1 The Egyptians who lined the streets calling for his resignation numbered even more than the masses that called for Mubarak’s ouster two years ago.2 Because of this fantastic turnout, the military gave Morsi an ultimatum. Make a deal with the protestors within 48 hours, or a coup will take place to enforce the “will of the people.”3 Not surprisingly, protestors cheered at this development, chanting that “the people and the Army are one hand.” This joy is misplaced. The overthrow of Morsi by the military is disturbing in a few ways, and only bodes ill for the future of Egypt.
Morsi’s rule over Egypt, whilst not as explicitly tyrannical as his predecessor, Mubarak, was certainly not a picturesque democracy. Censorship, absurd Islamic laws, police brutality, and a fundamental disconnect from the electorate were abound, not to mention his disastrous handling of economic reform.4 It is on these grounds that the opposition movement, Tamarod, is calling for Morsi’s ouster in their 22 million signatures-strong petition.5 These grievances, while legitimate, are hardly grounds for the overthrow of a democratically elected leader. By justifying the removal of Morsi on such grounds, Tamarod sets a very dangerous precedent for Egypt’s fledgling democracy. Disagree with how the current leader is running the country? Instead of just voting them out in the next election, take to the streets and demand the military removes them! Were this the norm, many European leaders would most likely find themselves out of the job tomorrow. No good can come of this, for stability will be hard to find in a country content with replacing democratically elected leaders non-democratically.
That’s not to say that Morsi doesn’t deserve to go; he most certainly does. The problem is that the opposition is framing their justification in the wrong way. Rather than attack Morsi for his poor performance, Tamarod should focus on his botched writing of the constitution. Morsi and his government were tasked with writing a new constitution for a new Egypt. A constitutional committee was set up with a diverse body of Islamists of various fanaticism, ex-Mubarak officials, and secularists. The increasingly powerful Islamist faction called for a constitution based of Sharia, to which most others disagreed. Rather than try to compromise, the Islamists made sure that the other factions reserve simply removed from the council. With little input from the Egyptian people, a constitution was written in secret and in haste, put up for referendum with little fanfare. Only around 30% of Egypt bothered to vote for the obviously illegitimate constitution, of which only an inch above 50% supported.6 A little over 15% of Egyptians actually approved of the new constitution. Regardless, Morsi signed the constitution into law, delighting his Islamist brothers. This clear breach of the democratic process is what Tamarod should focus on in their calls for the removal of Morsi. A democratic leader who seems to misunderstand democracy itself, caring little for the future of his country by passing through a clearly illegitimate constitution certainly deserves to be removed.
Unfortunately, it seems the current alternative is arguably worse than Morsi himself. It seems that Egyptians are quick to forgive (or perhaps forget) the military and SCAF, the ruling council appointed after Mubarak was deposed in 2011.7 SCAF’s rule was less than ideal for post-revolution Egypt. Various activists were jailed and tortured, including one who made signs saying that “the people and the military were never one hand.”8 SCAF tried tens of thousands of civilian protestors in military tribunals for disturbing the peace.9 And the much criticized “virginity tests” of jailed female dissidents occurred with SCAF’s approval.10 Morsi may be overthrown, but Egypt will hardly be in a better place under SCAF.
The light at the end of Egypt’s tunnel is painfully out of sight. If Tamarod changes its justification for Morsi’s ouster, then perhaps that light will get a little closer. If the people of Egypt make sure that SCAF, who will almost certainly be reinstated after Morsi falls, rules for a short a time as possible, that light will grow closer still. Elections must be called for early if Egypt’s democracy is to survive. Most importantly, however, a committee must be created to fix Egypt’s constitution, ensuring that a constitutional democracy is enshrined in a document not based on the principles of Sharia. Egypt has a rough time ahead, but it will hopefully be for the better.
Today, the Supreme Court handed down a few decisions (as is customary in the month of June), amongst them perhaps the most consequential of this Court season.1 This case, Shelby County v. Holder, dealt with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The law itself was passed in response to rampant voting discrimination in the South. It set up a “pre-clearance” requirement for many Southern states, stating that they had to get approval from Congress before they changed any voting practices for elections. The VRA worked phenomenally at combating voting discrimination, but was only created to last for five years. Not surprisingly, Congress has extended this deadline ad infinitum, recently extending it for another 25 years in 2006 with a vote of 98-0 in the Senate.2
The Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down Section 4 of the VRA in its opinion.3 Section 4 of the VRA lays out the “formula” for determining which states fall under its jurisdiction.4 The opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, states that Section 4 is unconstitutional on the basis that “imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs” and that those needs are no longer justified. The Court notes that voting discrimination has fallen greatly over the past 50 years or so, in part thanks to the VRA. While not entirely true567, the bigger reason for the Court striking down the law is that it violates the Tenth Amendment and goes against the precedent of equal sovereignty of states, an idea presented by Roberts in Northwest Austin v. Holder, a case about the VRA decided in 2009.8 This idea of “equal sovereignty” states that all states should be treated equally in the eyes of the federal government unless some overwhelming, pressing issue shows itself. The VRA breaks the Tenth Amendment by determining that states must ask the federal government for permission to change voting practices, even though the power to create these practices is delegated to the states by that amendment.
There is much vitriol, especially amongst the left, at this ruling. They claim that it will bring about a new era of voting discrimination and that it is still needed. But such arguments miss the entire point of the Supreme Court. The Court’s objective is not to debate on the merits and effectiveness of laws, striking down those that are “bad.” They are the final arbiter of the constitutionality of laws, and the Voting Rights Act, regardless of how helpful it was, is clearly in breach of the Constitution. Therefore, I agree that the SCOTUS made the right decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
Besides, there still are a few options for preserving the fangs of the VRA while still abiding by the Court’s ruling. The Court did not rule that Section 5 of the law, which is the section that actually lays out the pre-clearance procedure, is unconstitutional. The only issue they took is with Section 4 of the VRA, which sets out the formula for determining which states must abide by Section 5. If Congress passes a new amendment to the law forcing all states to abide by Section 5, thereby fulfilling Robert’s prerequisite of equal sovereignty, the Court would have no issue. Besides, a new law protecting the voting rights of all Americans is desperately needed. States outside of the prior jurisdiction of the VRA like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have passed restrictive voting ID laws, and need to be curtailed. Perhaps the ruling on Shelby County v. Holder is a blessing in disguise, and will force Congress to come up with comprehensive voting reform that is relevant to the problems of the 21st century, and not the 20th.
That is, unless you view think gay marriage will bring about an apocalyptic end of times scenario, just like what happened to the barren wasteland they call Canada after it legalized the practice ↩
Outside of the United States, Mary/marry/merry are all pronounced differently. Although news to me (as a native New Jersey resident with non-American parents), most of the United States pronounces all three the same. A curious oddity, this “Mary/marry/merry merger,” as it’s been dubbed, is documented in greater detail on Wikipedia.
What a week. On Wednesday, the UK-based paper the Guardian revealed that the NSA has been collecting call logs for all US customers of Verizon for some time.1 This set the media into a frenzy, highlighting Obama’s lackluster commitment to civil liberties and his disturbing similarities to his predecessor, George W. Bush, on such matters. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. A day later, the Washington Post and the Guardian released a co-investigative report revealing the extent of the NSA’s intelligence gathering adventures through a program by the name of PRISM.23 This directive, classified as top secret, allows the NSA to gather any and all data from companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google in order to find hints terrorism and other security threats. That means that the National Security Agency can access any of your data stored on any of those services for a reason as flimsy as “national security threat” and getting it approved by a secret court.
While this sounds like something out of a dystopian novel, the PRISM program has been confirmed by many high-ranking US officials, including senators and the Director of Intelligence.45 All of these measures are entirely legal, and have been approved by both Congress and the federal courts. Obama remains unapologetic about such broad reaching surveillance measures, saying that he feels they are vital in maintaining the security of the United States. This sets a very dangerous precedent. Of course, the executive branch gaining and subsequently abusing a new power is nothing new; since the days of the New Deal the President has been accumulating far more power than the Constitution had in mind, most of the time by invoking “national defense.” But PRISM is not just a power grab by the executive branch. PRISM was approved by large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress. PRISM is monitored by secret federal courts. This is a government wide effort, and the entire government is at fault.
I have absolutely no doubt that the PRISM program was created with no malevolence. The NSA, President Obama, Congress, and our courts have the full intention of simply using the program to monitor the internet with the interests of the safety of Americans as their guide. The problem is that once a precedent is set for being able to secretly monitor everybody in the entire world with the aim of protecting national security, the system is apt to abuse on a scale unimaginable today. The privacy intrusions are great, and downright disturbing. What if an NSA official wants to research a potential romantic interest? He now has the means to look up everything about that person, and gain access to his highly personal conversations, files, search histories, and other revealing information. Of course, the way the system stands right now such an act is unimaginable; no court, however secret, would approve such measures. But as people become complacent to overreaching surveillance and once the NSA relies more and more on the PRISM program, it’s not entirely out of the question that such a situation could develop.
Wild flights of fancy are not the only worrying consequence of the revelation of the PRISM program’s existence. PRISM, while entirely legal in a technical sense, and consisting of “court oversight” in the name of secret federal courts, has received absolutely no public input at all. The government took such broad-reaching actions without consulting the people who it is supposed to be governing. No transparency at all was provided, and no public debate over civil liberties and privacy was allowed to be held. The question that remains over the PRISM program is the cost of protecting the United States. Is such a forfeiture of privacy worth the security benefits? Are we willing to go against the principles of this nation, founded on self-governance and wide-reaching civil liberties, in order to protect it for foreign harm? I leave you with a quote from one of the Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin, in his notes before a meeting of the Pennsylvania Assembly, mused that, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”6
america is not the greatest country
america is doomed
america is dying
america is in the heart
Recently, I was reading St. Augustine’s Confessions and came across a rather strange passage. Augustine was visiting his friend Ambrose—who later would become a saint like the writer—when he saw a very curious sight indeed.
When [Ambrose] read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud.
Yes, St. Ambrose was reading silently rather than aloud. Yes, this means exactly what you think it means. Throughout all of antiquity, it was extremely rare for somebody to be able to read words silently inside their head. Words were meant to be spoken, hence the lack of virtually all punctuation and other reading markers in ancient texts. Reading silently was a skill reserved for only the most intellectually endowed.
This holds some odd implications. First and foremost, the people of the past were pretty stupid in many areas, considering a skill you’re probably practicing right now was something essentially unimaginable to the feeble minds of the ancients. The idea that even the intellectual greats of history were cognitively lacking in many areas is one that has been well documented (see the Flynn effect), but it is a point bearing repetition.
But the fact that almost everybody read things aloud up until the tenth century or so also lends itself to some comical scenes. For instance, imagine the racket there must have been in the Library of Alexandria as dozens of scholars simultaneously read aloud various scrolls on a myriad of topics. The sound of voices at Plato’s Academy must have been inescapable. Monasteries would have been unbearably loud for much of the day as monks read Bible passage after Bible passage.
So give a sign of thanks that we silent readers live in a time bereft of any shouting men reading books aloud in the local library. And be content with the knowledge that at least in the area of reading, you are superior to St. Augustine, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, Livy, Homer, and Virgil.
China is, without a doubt, the world’s fastest global power. China is what kept most of the developed world humming during the global financial crisis in 2008, it is China that continues to make investors wildly optimistic, and it is China that harbors almost imperialistic ambitions for its Asian future. But it will have a hard time becoming the leader of Asia like it hopes without soft power.
China wants to exert her power across the world both to increase leverage and prestige, and is saving no expense to do so. Last year alone, Chinese companies, most of who are SEO’s, or State Owned Firms, spent over $126 billion investing in foreign companies and infrastructure projects.1 China currently holds over $1.2 trillion of US debt.2 China is becoming heavily invested in emerging Africa, and is currently the continent’s biggest trading partner.3 In Asia, their dominance financially is virtually absolute. They are the largest trading partners with dozens of Asian countries, and are investing in projects all over the continent. Even the Western-centric Australia’s largest trading partner is China.4 Chinese companies are expanding from their massive domestic market out into the West and beyond. Financially, China’s grip over much of the world is absolute.
Militarily, too, China is flexing her muscles to become the leader of Asia and project more power on the world stage. Just recently, Chinese troops entered the disputed Ladakh territory of India, pitching tents and entering into a 20-day unprecedented hostile standoff that ended just hours ago.5 The maritime dispute with the Japanese about the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands is ongoing, and only getting tenser. Various other disputes with the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Malaysia show that China has a conscious strategy of antagonism and brinkmanship with the intent of projecting its maritime power and laying claim to essential sea trading routes. Just recently, China is beginning to liken herself as an “Arctic power” as it begins to acquire safe passage through new trading routes.6 It even signed a free trade deal with Iceland, hoping to garner good relations with the Arctic nation. That strategy seems to be working, as just last month the president of Iceland stated that China should have a say in the future of the Arctic.7
But for all these displays of power, China has not advanced her image much in the Asian world, let alone the West. Myanmar, so long a friend of China, is tacking towards the United States. Japan looks upon the nation with disgust, and South Koreans think little better. China’s support of the North Korean regime, even if it is only out of self interest, dirties its name around the world. And Chinese companies are scorned globally, with Huawei scandalously being denied US telecommunication contracts simply because it is a Chinese company and may participate in “cyber espionage.”8 And even though China is the largest trading partner for Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Asian nations, one hears nothing but scorn about how China is ruining domestic production. Instead of praising China for bringing prosperity to the continent, it is attacked and berated.
It is clear that China has a major PR problem. The solution is more soft power. China needs more musicians that create catchy songs. They need more filmmakers to create movies that will be watched not just in China but across the globe. Chinese books are rarely talked about, let alone read, outside of China. If China wants to become the America of Asia, China needs to export more culture like America. People are much more receptive to a country when they already watch said country’s television shows and listen to its music. People in Indonesia or Malaysia would talk less about China’s shortcomings and more about her benefits were they more engrossed in Chinese cultural exports. America’s rise to economic greatness wasn’t purely economic; millions aspire to be like America thanks to her great cultural exports. China will not achieve the same prestige without her own creations.
Unfortunately for the current regime, creativity is a bit hard when censorship and political correctness are abound. Until such limits on culture are lifted, China will remain a source of scorn and never ascend to the prestige and power she has seemingly earned, at least through financial might.
Faith is a myth and beliefs shift like mists on the shore; thoughts vanish; words, once pronounced, die; and the memory of yesterday is as shadowy as the hope of to-morrow….
In this world – as I have known it – we are made to suffer without the shadow of a reason, of a cause or of guilt….
There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that… is always but a vain and fleeting appearance….
A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains – but a clod of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space, rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing. Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.
The United States, and indeed most of the Western world, seems to be in economic doldrums. Confidence in the economy is weak, unemployment is hovering around 8%, a massive debt and deficit loom, a debt ceiling crisis is imminent, and rampant entitlement spending threatens to bring down the country’s economy if not put under control. Many solutions have been tried, from tax breaks to spending influxes and quantitative easing, but nothing seems to have worked. The fix-all for these problems, however, is really very simple. It’s been staring politicians and economists in the face for years now, but none have had the courage to say it. We simply have to kill all of the poor people.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Setting up a massive system of death camps and a cohesive rail system that spanned the United States able to handle moving hundreds of thousands of people a day to their doom would be costly. But these initial, upfront costs are nothing compared to the vast sums of money that would be saved after the fact, not to mention the economic growth that would result. The first and most immediate effect of exterminating all of the proletariat would be the drastic drop in crime. Crime rates would fall to a level never before seen in any country on Earth, and as a result spending on police and criminal justice would fall accordingly. The money saved on crime alone would more than justify the cost of Zyklon B.
The benefits of class cleansing don’t stop there, however. Healthcare spending would also plummet, for government subsidies for low income households would cease immediately. In fact, spending on all government handouts and subsidies would halt in the absence of the unwashed peasants, cutting a sizable portion of the deficit. These spending reductions would be done without any reduction in tax revenues, for the groups to be exterminated pay none anyway. The deficit problem would be solved, and the United States on the way to economic prosperity.
The most important benefit in the slaughter of poor people would be the huge drop in the unemployment rate. Initially, it would drop sharply due to the spike of construction workers and chemical engineers needed to build the vast network of death camps required. Rail workers, too, would see a huge increase of employment as they build the tracks needed to unite the country so convoys of plebeians can be carted off to their deaths. And with the poor gone, the unemployed middle class would be able to take their jobs, further lowering the unemployment rate. However, such “poor people” jobs would have to raise their salaries, for at current levels no bourgeoisie looking for a job would work for such a ludicrously low salary.
This modest proposal to fix the American economy and get our country back on track is not for the faint of heart. However, the steps outlined above are necessary to achieve economic prosperity and ensure the United States’ continued global dominance. Should we fail to eliminate the lower class and allow such heathens to suck us dry, it is only right that the United States watches as its economic empire crumbles beneath it. Killing the poor is a sound policy proposal, and one guaranteed to allow the United States to stop worrying about its economy and do what it does best: make money.