Perspective – Both Humanity’s, and Mine

USS Zumwalt Destroyer

The U.S. Zumwalt class destroyer, the latest in high-tech destruction. All for the bargain price of $7 billion APIECE. ONE ship, cost billions more than we spend on cancer research, or diabetes research or cardiovascular research.

This will be my last post for…awhile.  This post is on perspective, both from my own personal standpoint, and from the standpoint of humanity as a whole.  We’ll start with humanity as a whole.

The U.S. Navy is building a new class of destroyers.  The highly advanced ships are specifically designed to deal with the “Asia/Pacific” strategy of competing with and containing China.  They are “stealth” ships, with one-of-a-kind weapons systems that can hit targets from over 100 miles away.  They’re massive…the length of 2 football fields.  And the cost?  The cost to build each is just a “mere” $3.8 billion.  With R&D that’s gone into it, they will have spent $7 billion per ship.

$7 billion for one ship.  The Navy had wanted 24.  Now they may “only” get 3.  $21 billion, for 3 ships.  Obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg for our military.  The new F-35 fighter jet program is up to $400 billion, and rising.  The lifetime cost to run the F-35 program?  $1 trillion

Perspective. The ENTIRE National Institutes of Health Budget for the most wealthy country in the world?  $31 billion this year…or the price of 4 new Navy destroyers.  Breaking it down to funding devoted to some of the biggest diseases affecting our citizens:

  • National Cancer Institute – $5.2 billion
  • National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases – $3.1 billion
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease – $4.9 billion
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders – $1.7 billion

It was estimated that 572,000 people died from cancer in the U.S. last year.   There are at LEAST 30 million Americans with diabetes…and likely many more.  The best estimate is that at least 300,000 Americans suffer from Multiple Sclerosis.   And the list goes on…and on…and on…

But yet as the richest nation in the world, we decided to spend $700 billion on our defense budget…and only $31 for the NIHWe decided to spend $7 billion for ONE destroyer…just in CASE we might ever go to war with China in the Pacific Ocean someday.  We spend more for ONE Navy destroyer than we spend on cancer research, diabetes research, or cardiovascular research.

PerspectiveWhat does this say about America?  What does it say when millions of Americans are suffering and dying from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases, but we spend more on a handful of ships than we do to combat disease? 

Which leads me to my own perspective.  I do find it cathartic (see blog title) to bring issues like this to the attention of folks.  But…it’s time I take a bit of time to help wrap my own mind around “perspective”.  My little family has hit the jackpot, it looks like we’re going to be a perfect 3-for-3 in terms of each having some wonderful health challenge to face. 

Perspective.  I’m finding it hard to care too much about the upcoming election or other political and environmental issues at the moment, knowing that in the big picture…humanity will continue to have a completely skewed perspective, with small men (mostly!) fighting their small battles over power, money, and notoriety, while ignoring what’s really important in life.  And in the “little” picture…I need to take time to put things in perspective myself. 

Signing out for a while…

4 Responses to Perspective – Both Humanity’s, and Mine

  1. Well, whatever health challenge you have now to gear up to face, I wish you strength and curiosity to sort out pat answers and arrogant indifference. MY torment comes from the burden and imbalance of student loan debt, which the military expenses could eliminate in one YEAR and all those college students who are trying so hard NOT to be left behind, could become legitimate consumers, with homes to buy, kids to birth, savings to offset what they will never see in their old age in the form of Social Security, and yes, maybe even some health care and dental care. Religion, racial prickliness, class bashing in this country, are an insult to every veteran who ever agreed to give up part of his best years, for a while or ultimately for ever. We have become a nation of name calling and zealotry and the weak, the ill, the unemployed, the elderly–who have put into the pot what they could when they were able, are now seen as parasites and should step aside and let others tell them how and what to think and be. I have no stomach any more either for politics. This morning at the local grocery story, one of the weekly rags had a front page article about the President’s birth certificate being contrived–again. It’s just all too much to bear. And so many people are being left out of being able to get a job or fix a tooth, or feed a child, while others label them as lazy, useless and disposable.Wha .tever is wrong with you –hope your brain is going to stay strong; your family constant and your ability to find some peace in this hateful chaos, as close as the smiles of those who love and respect you and your work.

  2. Robert Wasmer

    Terry,

    Thanks for your occasional thoughts on politics, environment, etc. I hope you find time to continue your bird photography. As a bird carver, I have found the time I spend in the field watching birds really gives me perspective on the environment and what we are doing to it. I know I don’t agree. politically, with many in my immediate family, or even neighborhood, and even though I am not as vocal as some liberals, I do try to keep it all in perspective, and make wise choices in daily life, politics. My handicapped daughter (43 years of age, with Down Syndrome) just spent 3 weeks in the hospital in June, and almost 2 weeks in February with two major surgeries, so I have had ample time to consider health care issues; by and large, she received excellent care. I am really glad that Obama’s Health Care Plan was upheld by the Supreme Court. But I am rambling. Take care in all you do, success, good health to you and your family.

  3. Mr. Wasmer, It might get you wound up to read an article in this afternoon’s Huffington Post about the republican Congressmen who are using the medical care benefits a Congressman is entitled to for him/her and the family, even while promising on July 13 to repeal Obama care the rest of us with kids with pre-existing conditions and limits on insurance are perpetually “on call” for our kids, no matter how old they become, we love and care for them. This is a bitchy, divisive stance by members of Congress who can’t be denied THEIR entitlements, but don’t see an equal playing field for 300 million Americans. .Kindest respect and deepest respect for your family’s commitment to your child.

  4. Thank you Terry, for all the posts you have written and research you have shared. I hope the health issues are positively resolved.

    I have taken time away from politics and blogs too. I can get too frustrated, angry, stressed and irritable. You have made a good choice.

    I do hope you are able to resume this blog in the future. Take care.

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