D.C. and the mainstream media are trumpeting the passage of a budget bill as a victory for bipartisanship and the American people. But the truth is very different.
We’ve repeatedly documented that military waste and fraud are the core problems with the U.S. economy.
For example, we’ve noted that we wouldn’t be in a budget crisis in the first place if we hadn’t spent so much money on unnecessary wars … which are killing our economy.
But it goes far beyond actual fighting. We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.
For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” and training for a “zombie apocalypse” instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.
Republican Senator Tom Coburn notes that the Department of Defense can reduce $67.9 billion over 10 years by eliminating the non-defense programs that have found their way into the budget for the Department of Defense.
BusinessWeek and Bloomberg point out that we could slash military spending without harming our national security. Indeed, we could slash boondoggles that even the generals don’t want.
BusinessWeek provides a list of cost-cutting measures which will not undermine national security. American Conservative does the same.
Moreover, we’ve shown that the military wastes and “loses” (cough) trillions of dollars. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.
The People Want Peace, But D.C. Wants War
For the first time, a majority of Americans think that we should never have started the war in Afghanistan. As the Washington Post reports:
Americans express near-record discontent and regret over the 13-year war in Afghanistan, during which 2,289 U.S. troops have died and more than 19,000 have been wounded, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Fully 66 percent of Americans say the battle, which began with nearly unanimous support, has not been worth fighting
In a separate Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday, 57 percent of Americans said the United States did “the wrong thing” in going to war with Afghanistan, with mixed feelings toward keeping troops in the country past 2014.
The same is true in Iraq.
And the American people don’t want to go to war against Syria, Iran or anywhere else.
But D.C. politicians do a lot of fundraising from defense contractors and make a lot of money from inside trading related to military spending.
And war helps distract people from the economic mess that the politicians are largely responsible for (the old distraction trick.)
And so – as the L.A. Times, Mother Jones and Counterpunch report – Washington has just passed a budget which will strip away the so-called “sequester defense cuts”, and gear up for a new series of wars.
As usual, government policy will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer.
It will keep the bloated defense industry fat and happy … while making everyone else poorer, and gutting the civilian economy.