Fear mongering reigns

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

In a February 2016 report from US Economy, economist Kimberly Amadeo wrote: “The true cost of the War on Terror (WoT) is not just what it has added to the debt, but also the lost jobs that could have been created with those funds.

“Every $1 billion spent on defense creates 8,555 jobs,” she said, “and adds $565 million to the economy.

“That same $1 billion given to you as a tax cut would have stimulated enough demand to create 10,779 jobs and put $505 million into the economy as retail spending.

“$1 billion in education spending adds $1.3 billion to the economy and creates 17,687 jobs.”

So, when do we pressure our representatives to spend more on education and less on the Pentagon and the TSA (Transportation Security Administration; those folks we wait in long lines for at the airport so they can inspect our bare feet)?

Cost of the War on Terror since 9/11: $5 trillion (nation.time.com)

According to the Centers for Disease Control, I am

  • 187 times more likely to die from starvation in the U.S. than from terrorists.
  • 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than from terrorists;
  • 353 times more likely to die from an idiotic accident (like falling into or out of bathtubs, apparently an ill-designed commonality in our homes) than from terrorists;
  • 1,000 times more likely to die from prescription meds than from terrorists;
  • 4,706 times more likely to die from alcohol consumption than from terrorists;
  • 35,079 times more likely to die of heart disease than from terrorists.

Will it someday sound silly that we once were required to be viewed naked before we could board an airplane?

Although mass killings capture headlines, the stats do not lie: we are in bigger danger from falling in our bathtubs. The American Space Science Institute estimates that the odds of being killed by a terrorist attack is about the same as being hit by an asteroid (another fear we are warned about from periodic announcements in newspapers).

Lots of money is made on fear that could be used for education, stronger bridges, maybe a better bathtub.

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