What Obama Should Have Said

09/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Listen people. When you sit at your one kitchen table and work out the family budget you are faced with choices. You only have so much money. So you have to decide between paying your kids' tuition or going on vacation. And you gotta go on vacation alone because you can't afford to take the kids with you. Which one are you gonna choose? If you're responsible and unselfish you're gonna pay for the tuition.

"Well people, it's like that in Washington too. We've only got so much money in the national budget. You can try to add some by raising taxes, but you're already paying too much. But you can't be foolish to cut the taxes of those most capable of paying either.

"Once you know how much you've got to spend you really have one big decision to make. Like the tuition or the vacation. You can be selfish or responsible. You can pay for national health care, university education, alternative energy and rebuilt infrastructure that creates jobs; or you can pay for wars against countries that don't threaten us, that kill countless innocent people and that will benefit only a small number of Americans.

"That's your choice America. What will you be? Selfish or responsible? Should we pay to fulfill the American promise of social advancement for the vast majority of Americans or should we maintain a vast military empire around the globe to protect and further the interests of a few?

"We can't afford both. We have to choose. That's what this election is all about. It is about this choice. It's about how we're gonna spend our money America.

"We spend close to a trillion dollars a year on defense-related costs. That's your money being spent. Do you know how much we could do with half of that money to fulfill the American promise: to give you health care, and education and environmentally safe energy? Plenty.

"But as long as we keep lavishly outfitting a military of a size we don't need, social progress will remain a dream. Other industrialized countries have made the choice. Why can't we? They had their empires too. They had way too many wars. They're tired of war. They decided to spend their money on their own people instead of killing other nations' people.

"Aren't we tired of wars yet? Why do we think we still need them? Because we're afraid? We are the most powerful nation in history. Who are we afraid of? Don't the Republicans scare us with Orange alerts and non-existent WMD to justify transferring our money into the pockets of defense contractors, lobbyists and Congressmen? They have to make us afraid. Otherwise we wouldn't let them squander our money on their weapons.

"Well I say, be not afraid. Be not afraid. We can cut our defense spending in half and we'd still have a military fives times bigger than Russia's or China's. With those savings we can begin to deliver the American promise.

"China and Russia are rivals. They are not enemies. They do not threaten us. They do not want to kill us. Al Qaeda is an enemy. But they are not a nation. They are political criminals and we need to send the cops after them. The FBI and Interpol. Stop their financing. But not go to war.

"Be not afraid I say. We have a choice to make, like the one you make at your kitchen table. What are we going to spend our limited funds on: War or the people's needs?

"We can choose to improve the lives of millions of people or kill huge numbers of people. Do we want to support life on a mass scale or death on that scale?

"That's the choice you'll make this November.

"Thank you very much. And God help America."

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