“China Spends Billions on Internal Security! China’s domestic-security budget has surged to an astonishing $110 billion a year, larger than declared defence spending.” The Economist. Let’s look a little closer:
The Economist has never been very good with numbers (or economics!) but that hasn’t stopped them criticizing China’s economy and numbers. The Economist has predicted 56 ‘hard landings’ for the Chinese economy since 1985 – while completely missing the Great Financial Crisis–and says China’s $110 billion internal security budget shows that its government is insecure and terrified of its own people. Here’s what it really shows:
- China spends $260 per capita (PPP) annually on internal security: police, prisons, fire departments, border patrol, forest service, gold mine and hydro security.
- The USA spends $670 per capita annually on internal security – excluding fire departments.
- Over three decades, state and local governments have tripled the amount spent on jails, compared to spending on education.
- Chinese police are unarmed.
- Chinese jails are relatively empty.
- China has very few repeat offenders.
- China has the safest streets in the world.
- China’s internal security has the highest citizen approval in the world (90%)
- Chinese kids are better educated than American kids.
What The Economist neglected to mention is that the USA spends $275 billion annually on everything from The Department of Homeland Security to the FBI, the CIA, and even HHS–all of which participate in America’s internal security, along with the NSA and other intelligence agencies. This come out to about $670 annually for each American man, woman, and child.
If we multiply the Chinese figure of $84 per person by 3 to account for the dollar’s higher purchasing power in China, we find that China spends about $260 equivalent dollars. Perhaps that figure is lower because Chinese police are unarmed. This amount includes
- all Fire Departments in China,
- The PAP (People’s Armed Police)
- border patrol,
- forest service,
- gold mine and hydro security.
The PAP came into being when Deng cut 1 million troops from the PLA. Letting more than 1 million soldiers off is extremely difficult for poor China in the 1980s, so the Ministry of Defence spin some of the soldiers into PAP. Deng’s successor Jiang also cut an additional 500,000 troops from the PLA. The PLA in 1980 numbered over 4 million. Today it is around 2.3 million. China does not have local fire fighting services, all are under central command and budget. By contrast, here’s a clue to the US Government’s approach to ‘internal security’ in President Obama’s speech. And, as if the “astonishing” figure weren’t enough, the US Army is also being trained and equipped to participate in internal security: U.S. Army Purchases Riot Gear As Fears Over Civil Unrest Grow.
Moving on… The New York Times recently claimed: “Cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a startling 1.3 million demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.” That’s just one year! And that number does not include wiretapping programs such as the NSA’s. Is it paranoid to think you’re being watched…. when you are actually being watched?
And our heavily armed police are extremely brutal, as this New York cyclist learned when he approached the route of a presidential motorcade:
Here’s how Keith Preston puts it: ‘America has turned into a full-blown police state. Our economy is sick, and politicians refuse to fix it, choosing instead to fund outrageous, scary, illegal programs which violate our rights and our privacy. Ironically, one of the few sectors where recent grads are finding work is in law enforcement and government-sponsored surveillance.
All of these things would be bad, but I would still have hope if Americans were getting outraged — if they were demanding answers and asking for a rollback of the new surveillance cameras, the warrantless wiretapping programs, the new invasive TSA procedures, etc. But they aren’t. Most people I talk to just don’t care, and they think I’m some kind of weirdo for interrupting them from their reality TV and 40-ounce high-fructose corn syrup soda. It’s the apathy and indifference that scares me more than any headline about the government watching us.
I don’t see a bright future for us unless we begin to care, and begin to demand accountability. In the history of the world, the combination of a) totalitarian police state b) rapid rollback of civil rights c) blind nationalistic pride and d) a public that doesn’t care has NEVER led to improvements in the quality of life. Instead, it normally leads to mass injustice and misery. I hope people begin to speak up. I hope they email and call their Senators. I hope they share articles like this one with their friends, since the establishment broadcast media refuses to cover the police state’s rapid growth — maybe they are in on it, or maybe (more likely) they realize that viewers want Kim Kardashian segments, not NSA whistleblowers like William Binney. Sad, but true. Go to the original article…
As always, your comments are welcome and encouraged. Issues like this need more than just one opinion. And do feel free to add links to useful sources and stories!