Americans born in 1940 had a 90% chance of living a better life than their parents. By 1980, that number had dropped to 50%, and it keeps decreasing every year. The solution is not going back to the way things were in 1950. You never step in the same river twice, the river is not the same, and you are not the same person you used to be. The world is rapidly changing, and we need to do a better job of keeping up. How will we respond to truck drivers losing their jobs wholesale to self-driving cars? The true answers are in the future, and we can't keep ignoring these problems. We need answers from our leaders now.
The most likely threat to our continued economic prosperity in the near future is China. That country has grown from a sleeping giant to a regional superpower in a very short period of time. They are continuing to extend their influence across the world. While previously based on cheap labor and raw materials, they have copied our technology-driven, innovation based marketplace system. Unfortunately, they will pass us by if we continue to stifle American innovation, creativity, and leadership. Our government can and should be protecting our interests abroad and promoting our economy at home.
As I have mentioned before, Congress has done a poor job of being the responsible steward of our country. In 2020, our government spent $6.6 trillion, and only took in $3.4 trillion. That is a deficit of $3.1 trillion, with emergency Covid spending only being $1.3 trillion of that. As the Panama Papers and recent data from the IRS reveals, a significant portion of that deficit comes from top earners using loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Another portion of that is wasteful government spending.
The true key to successful government spending in this country is to make it specifically targeted, efficiently managed, and supportive of broad economic growth. For far too long, we have suffered from terrible mismanagement, reckless spending controls, and inexcusable waste. I will continue to identify these issues and provide concrete solutions to remedy the problems.
One way that the government can stimulate local economies is consolidating foreign bases, and in some case, moving those bases back to the United States. An average sized military base directly results in local jobs, and millions of dollars directly into the local economy. One study showed that every individual on a military base is directly supported by 1.5 civilians directly off of the base. According to the Department of Defense, about ¼ of our foreign bases are redundant. Moving those bases home would be an instant economic boom.
Like my naval OHP frigate example in reducing the federal budget, the A10 Warthog has been the subject of a much similar fight in the Air Force. Famously defended by John McCain, around 700 aircraft were built at a cost of $16.4 million between 1972-1984. Compare that to the F-35 at $80 million per unit, and an aircraft that may not even be as capable as the A10 that it is trying to replace. That doesn't include the billions of dollars spent designing and proofing the concepts. I worry that our Congress has started to spend our money for the sake of spending it, and not truly responding to our needs.