I have been looking up some numbers around how we as a society have grossly stilted perspectives on where we should spend our money. In particular, how half a million people can die of cancer a year, while less than 20 do as a result of terrorism. Yet we spend 3-4 trillion on anti-terror activities in addition to regular defense while we only spend 5 billion (that is .005 trillion) on cancer.
500,000 die annually of cancer at the current rate of $5 billion a year in research
while $3.5-4 trillion gets us 0-20 US civilian casualties annually on average over the last 10 years + 4,000 US soldiers killed, 10,000 Afghan civilians killed, and an estimated 70% of Iraqi children have psychological issues
It has been estimated that we have saved 1500 lives in the last ten years from terrorism due to these efforts. 50 terrorist plots have been thwarted. 47 of them were thwarted by more than just dumb luck, and only about 5 of them were considered non-“homegrown” plots of any real significance.
So for anyone keeping score, we lost just under 3,000 US lives on 9-11 due to terrorism. Then through our own endeavors we have saved 1500 more, but lost 4,000 US citizens to the cause. And that is ignoring non-US citizens, since we wanted to be US-centric about it.
So that’s… 3,000… plus the 4,000… minus the 1500…. Hmmm…. A shit load less than 500,000 lives a year.
Half a million.
If you are male, you have a 50% chance of getting an intrusive form of cancer (females are 66% likely). That means one in every two guys are going to get cancer, which means that you are pretty much guaranteed to either get cancer or know someone who will get it. Over 1.5 million new cases were reported this year alone in the United States.
And half a million died. Died. Dead. They were killed by a disease. Not some human force that we can put an adjective to and focus our anger on. Labels like ‘takers’ and ‘terrorists’ and ‘fat-cats’ and ‘tea-partier’ and ‘liberal’… none of them define any one person completely, and yet we let them define our policy to the extent that we are not outraged on a daily basis by the fact that we spend huge chunks of our budget on a problem that has 1 in 2 million chance of killing you.
You know what is a problem? 500,000 people dying every year.
Do you really care whether the cause is a human being or a disease? Are we that shallow and proud that we must puff our chest out and attack would-be attackers because they insulted us while leaving this obvious real threat to humanity get by with minimal resistance?
You want to be angry at the terrorists? Fine. You want to feel awful about those who were ‘terrorized’ by them. Fine. But remember that as this country argues and bickers about our so-called economic problems, we are blowing trillions on killing more U.S. citizens than we are saving – while spending the smallest percentage of our taxes towards one of the number one killers of Americans. All because we are scared and power-hungry at the same time. The rest is just BS and cop-outs.
Way to go. That anger and self-righteousness really got you far didn’t it?
Now, can we sit down and actually do some real good? I’m not even angry that I am not cured. I’m not angry that I probably won’t live another year. I’m sad, sure. But, no, what I’m infuriated by is not that the government didn’t find ME a cure – it’s that our people, our government, everyone who I see on a daily basis is so stupid they actually talk themselves into their own demise. And then act as if there is some secret, wise reason as to why. I am angry that I have to spend MORE time around this insufferable stupidity.
They say that is just the way politics is. That is just the way the world operates. Seriously, Kermit, you are just being subjective (they say) because you have cancer.
Fuck you. You’re an idiot.
Because we are a race programed to survive, we should be doing more to guarantee our own survival. Research is the key, but research requires funds we are currently spending on keeping guys with bombs in their underpants out of our airports
You think your freedom is being threatened? You think that you need to be protected? Please. You have been fooled. Sure, we need to protect ourselves. I’m not saying abandon our borders. I’m saying have a little freaking common sense and a genuine breakdown of priorities. You don’t even know what they were protesting on 9-11 do you? Of course not – because it was just enough to be afraid, and hate, and want to overcome somebody else. Right now our priority is power and luxury – not discovery. And as a result we are threatening our own freedom. Our freedom as a species to exist.
If we flipped our budget upside down – spent exactly what we needed to defend ourselves, then spent relative amounts on energy, studying disease and prevention, and scientific discovery – we would be catapulting ourselves into an era that we really could be proud to leave our children. We would also be championing education, creating jobs, and putting this nation at the top of every chart through that pursuit.
Right now, we are just acting like children. Maybe it’s time we stop acting all grown up – like a toddler in a zoot suit, we look ridiculous when viewed from the outside.