In a time when worldwide international affairs are unstable and

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In a time when worldwide international affairs are unstable and the inevitability of waging war on any number of adversaries is possible, the U.S. Government taking steps to bolster our country's infrastructure. I challenge, that in order to complete this task in an expedient manner, the U.S. must curtail foreign aid, at least for a short time, redirecting those resources towards repairing aspects of our own country's internal defunct and degrading social and economic systems. My proposal is to limit foreign aid to humanitarian projects rather than economic or military aid, except where it is absolutely necessary to keep mutually beneficial relations with those countries.

It can be argued that war is good for the economy; citing WWII as an example, the war brought an end to the Great Depression, when unemployment which stood at more than 17 percent in 1939, dropped to an all time low of 1.2

percent by 1944. In this case, the economy was bolstered by internalism and lack of workers, most of which had gone off to fight the war. Generating a "wartime like" economy will require several stated objectives and corresponding plans of execution. A modification of the task force model of waging war, where war is waged on a specific idea or issue, will be at the center of each objective. Like the current War on Terrorism undertaken by the U.S., if we wage war on; drugs, homelessness, unemployment, and increasing education access, with the same urgency, it cannot be denied that our country's social and economic status would be improved.

As an Emergency Medical Technician and Law Enforcement Officer, I have witnessed first hand the effects of drugs on the American people. I have seen 17 year old girls drugged unknowingly while out in clubs, raped, beaten, or left with permanent mental disability. I have witness 15 year old kids, high on marijuana and crack, think it is fun steal a car and run over a sidewalk killing and maiming innocent people. I have observed well respected businessmen and workers lose everything because of their drug habits. The current state of affairs in the ongoing war on drugs is, "We are losing. There is no question about it." Something needs to be done, or this plague will continue to eat away at our county. Addressing the moral fiber of what it means to be an American in this great country, "where all men are created equal," is what I propose we do. Of course, I speculate that if one asked, most CEOs of major U.S. corporations, whether he or she considered himself or herself to be equal to a homeless wino foraging through a dumpster in New York City for food," one would be promptly escorted to that CEO's office door. At the same time that CEO recognizes that he or she wouldn't be where he or she is, if not for the average working class citizen. The U.S. Government is the epitome of what it is to be a big business, and the more hard working citizens, earning a living, paying taxes, with pride in themselves, and what it is to be American in the workforce, the better business they are doing. Attack homelessness and joblessness; more to the point, attack poverty.

Since our economy is largely supported by the American taxpayer, it stands to reason, that more taxpayers will help reinforce the economy as a whole. According to the U.S. Department of Labor there are 8.1 million unemployed Americans. This statistic does not reflect the 1.2 million homeless Americans currently reported living in this country by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assuming a liberal unresearched overlap in those two statistics, anyone can see that there are potentially 9 million able bodied Americans unemployed; which represents 5.6 percent of the workforce as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor. If more diligent efforts to correct this weakness in our economy were undertaken, America would benefit noticeably.

The theory of "Americans taking care of ourselves" is definitely not a new concept, but for some reason millions of Americans for one reason or another don't take advantage of the systems in place. This poses the question "Is the system the problem or are the individuals at fault for the systems failure?" The answer lies written in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, "a government of the people, by the people, for the people;" where it doesn't matter who is to blame for the inadequacies of our countries defunct systems. The issues are not about placing blame; they are about correcting the systems so that every American will get the help they need. The most influential mentors start their lessons by setting a good example. Only with our own affairs in order, can we hope to help the other less fortunate countries of the world to help themselves.

Works Cited Bureau of Labor Statistics. "U.S. Department of labor News." Online posting. 4 Oct. 2002 (6 Oct. 2002) National Institute for Drug Addiction. "Re: NIDA Notes. Drug Abuse from our Nations Communities." Online posting. Oct. 2001 (6 Oct. 2002) Soifer, Paul and Hoffman Abraham. Cliffs Quick Review of U.S. History I. Foster City: IDG, 1999 - - -. Cliffs Quick Review of U.S. History II. Foster City: IDG, 1999 U.S. Census Bureau. "National Population Estimates." Online posting. 27 Dec 2001 (7 Oct. 2002)