CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During the "fiscal cliff" showdown, all West Virginia Democrats in Congress voted for the compromise ending the Bush tax cuts for the 1 percent elite who pocket more than $400,000 a year.
Hurrah. This late-night solution ended an economic crisis and sent a wave of relief across America. Investors were so buoyed that the stock market immediately jumped more than 300 points Wednesday.
West Virginia's two Republicans, Rep. Shelley Capito and Rep. David McKinley, voted against the compromise -- but, luckily, they lost.
The GOP and its Tea Party wing are obsessed with protecting millionaires and billionaires from any tax increase. But Republicans never say this openly. Instead, they claim that the compromise didn't do enough to reduce federal spending.
When Republicans seek to cut spending, they usually want to curtail Medicare for the aging, Medicaid for the poor, food stamps for marginal families, Social Security for retirees and other people-helping programs.
Well, there's a much better way to lower spending and pare America's horrible federal deficits: Downsize the military.
The United States is the most militaristic nation on Earth, forcing taxpayers to shell out an estimated $1 trillion a year, counting all veteran expense and interest on past arms spending done with borrowed money. Other countries spend only small fractions of this backbreaking sum. Roughly, America pours as much into militarism as the entire rest of the planet combined.
Warfare has diminished enormously in the 21st century. Civilization has changed. Nations no longer go to war against each other. Only small, localized insurrections and hidden terror cells remain. Large armies, navies and air forces are ineffective against them. Limited commando units and killer drones are what's needed.
Why should America continue bankrupting itself to maintain gigantic fighting forces -- a throwback to the past? It's time to live in the present.
President Obama ended the pointless Iraq war that the Bush-Cheney White House launched on untrue claims that Iraq possessed horror weapons. Now Obama is terminating the second wasteful Bush-Cheney war in Afghanistan. As soon as these mistakes are erased -- saving thousands of young American lives and billions of taxpayer dollars -- U.S. militarism should fade.
Federal overspending is a grave menace. The best solution is to curtail the $1 trillion that goes for militarism.