This comic is by myself and Kevin Moore.
I’ve always found it a crime against society that we spend so much money on our defense budget, when so much of that money goes to the military industrial complex, corporations that hardly pay any taxes at all, companies that profit off of the deaths and dismemberment of innocent people around the world, and all of it at the expense of social programs that would actually do our society good like healthcare, education, housing, universal basic income, etc..
So I really enjoyed drawing big stacks of money on dump trucks and cargo ships.
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The point the cartoon makes has literally been frustrating me since I was in high school. It’s a foundational belief of U.S.. politics – anything that can actually help ordinary people will always be dismissed as unaffordable. Including things that would actually save money in the long run. And at the same time, affordability never seems to be a barrier for throwing money by the bucketful to the wealthy, and shooting money out a firehose at the military.
The amount of money we spend on the military, in particular, is large beyond comprehension. To give an example, President Biden’s pandemic “preparedness” plan was originally scheduled to cost $65 billion over “7 to 10” years. Assuming ten years (to make the math easy), that’s $6.5 billion a year for preventing or mitigating potential future pandemics. Which frankly seems like a bargain when compared to the economic damage (not to mention loss of life) Covid has caused.
But Congress – meaning all Republicans in congress and many Democrats – have balked at that. $65 billion over ten years is too much; some have suggested $30 billion instead. Some have suggested $5 billion instead. Meanwhile, scientists have suggested $100 billion over ten years is what’s actually needed, but no one is arguing for that in Congress.
Meanwhile, the US military budget over the next ten years will be approximately $7.67 trillion dollars.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has six panels. Each panel shows the same two people talking, a middle-aged male politician type wearing a well-tailored suit, and a younger woman wearing a jeans jacket over an untucked yellow shirt. We’ll call the two characters “SENATOR” and “ACTIVIST” for purposes of this transcript.
Senator and Activist are talking, although the Senator doesn’t look like he wants to be in this conversation – he’s looking at his cell phone. The activist is facing him and looks serious, holding a palm up in a “here’s the point I’m making” gesture.
ACTIVIST: Good welfare programs can actually save the government money. Homes for the homeless, health care for children and pregnant women, free pre-K education, good vocational education in prison… All these programs save us money in the long run.
A close-up of Activist, smiling and pressing a forefinger to the side of her head.
ACTIVIST: We should do these tings because they’re the right thing to do… But they’re also the smart thing to do.
The camera has backed up enough so that we can see that the two of them are standing on a big pile of cash. The senator is smiling and shrugging. The activist is gesturing at the cash they’re standing on.
SENATOR: Even if that’s true, we just can’t afford it! The debt, the deficit… The country’s broke!
ACTIVIST: What is this we’re standing on?
The “camera” has pulled back even more, and we can now see that the two of them are standing on top of a huge load of money being carried by an enormous dump truck. There’s so much money that it rises high above the sides of the truck’s, um, you know, that space that big trucks have that they carry their loads in. I’m sure there’s a word for it, but I don’t know what that word is. Anyway, the pile of money rises high above whatever we call that.
(The word “Moola” is painted on the front of the truck).
SENATOR: This? One of our daily dump trucks full of money for huge tax breaks for rich people and big corporations.
ACTIVIST: And what is the truck standing on?
The “camera” has pulled back even more, and now we can see that the dump truck full of money is parked on top of a pile of money that’s huge even when compared to a giant dump truck. The money is on top of a cargo ship, which is floating on the ocean.
Se can still make out the Senator and the Activist, but the camera is now pulled back so far that they’re little more than tiny dots.
SENATOR: Let’s see… The truck is on top of one of our daily cargo ships full of money for the military.
The “camera” has zoomed back in to a close shot of the two people. The Senator is talking with a neutral expression. The activist is face-palming.
SENATOR: Why? What’s your point?