April 11, 2011
Americans can begin to hope that the current recession, coupled with the politics of debt reduction in Washington, may yet result in cuts in that runaway Pentagon budget, The Nation magazine says in its April 11th issue.
“War-weary Americans have turned decisively against the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and, according to polls, voters support cuts in military spending,” Contributing Editor Robert Dreyfuss writes.
“After 13 consecutive years of growth, between 1998 and 2011, spending on the military has reached an all-time high,” and for 2012 the Pentagon’s Robert Gates “is asking Congress to authorize yet another increase, seeking $553 billion, plus an additional $118 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, for a total of $671 billion,” Dreyfuss writes. Throw in all war spending, homeland defense ($44 billion), Veterans Affairs ($122 billion), interest on military debt ($48 billion) and the war machine is costing the public in excess of $1 trillion a year.
“It’s so much money,” Dreyfuss writes, President Obama’s own National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform(NCFRR) pointed out the $80 billion the U.S. spends on military R&D alone “surpassed China’s entire military budget by more than $10 billion.” Overall, Dreyfuss writes, the U.S. spends as much on military “as the rest of the world combined.”
What’s more, the Pentagon’s trillion dollar spending spree exceeds the general funds of all 50 U.S. states combined, which, says the National Association of State Budget Officers, will come to about $636 billion in 2011.Translation: Pentagon spending for war is greater than all public outlays for all purposes by all states. And while hard-pressed states wallow in debt and lay off teachers and police, “defense” contractors enjoy record or near-record profits.
This article was posted: Monday, April 11, 2011 at 4:46 am