Tag Archives: Military spending

The Military Industrial Complex Is Undermining US National Security, by Federico Pieraccini

The Russians and the Chinese get a lot more military bang for their rubles and yuan than the US gets for its bucks. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

The ongoing problems with the F-35 and other military programs, stemming from virtually unlimited budgets, underline the inefficiency of the American military-industrial complex (MIC). In contrast, Moscow develops armaments capable of counteracting the latest technological advances of the US at minimal cost.

One of a state’s most insidious mechanisms is the inefficiency of the military-industrial sector. When looking at the world’s first superpower, this becomes all the more pronounced. Still, the ongoing problems highlighted by the F-35 program and failed missile interceptions by ABM systems are a good demonstration of how inefficiency in the US military sector has risen to worrying levels.

The main cause of these issues is related to the huge military-industrial complex that employs hundreds of thousands Americans directly or indirectly. The unhealthy composition of this power conglomerate often employs a revolving door involving politicians and board members from large arms-producing companies. This situation raises questions about corruption as well as a number of obvious conflicts of interest.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Congress is increasingly willing to grant what almost amount to blank checks to finance military budgets, numbering in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The second factor that impacts negatively on the efficiency of the MIC is the propaganda to which the entire American system is subjected. Looking at the example of think-tanks, they are all practically funded, directly or indirectly, by the military-related industries or foreign governments (especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel). The role of think-tanks is to influence policymakers, creating a common view between components of the (deep) state.

A problem arises when almost all experts and politicians participating in these Washington based think tanks come from federal agencies or industries tied to the military through contracts worth billions of dollars. Hardly offering any dissent from official or mainstream opinions on issue ranging from Russia to the F-35, politicians, experts and journalists all agree that Russia constitutes the main danger and that the F-35 program does not have any critical issues and is actually a superior weapon, two lies in full swing. Think-tanks and their guests promote an erroneous narrative that seeds, nourishes and sustains the problems and inefficiencies that beset military systems and Washington’s strategic vision. They offer no criticism, no change of policy, only echo chambers of lies and propaganda.

To continue reading: The Military Industrial Complex Is Undermining US National Security

Advertisements

Big Military Spending Boost Threatens Our Economy and Security, by Ron Paul

The worst part of the bloated military budget isn’t its bloat far beyond what’s necessary to provide the US a rock-solid defensive capability for itself. Rather, its that US foreign military interventions seem to increase to the extent necessary to spend all those dollars. In other words, the policy follows the dollars and not the other way around From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

On Friday the House overwhelmingly approved a massive increase in military spending, passing a $696 billion National Defense Authorization bill for 2018. President Trump’s request already included a huge fifty or so billion dollar spending increase, but the Republican-led House found even that to be far too small. They added another $30 billion to the bill for good measure. Even President Trump, in his official statement, expressed some concern over spending in the House-passed bill.

According to the already weak limitations on military spending increases in the 2011 “sequestration” law, the base military budget for 2018 would be $72 billion more than allowed.

Don’t worry, they’ll find a way to get around that!

The big explosion in military spending comes as the US is planning to dramatically increase its military actions overseas. The president is expected to send thousands more troops back to Afghanistan, the longest war in US history. After nearly 16 years, the Taliban controls more territory than at anytime since the initial US invasion and ISIS is seeping into the cracks created by constant US military action in the country.

The Pentagon and Defense Secretary James Mattis are already telling us that even when ISIS is finally defeated in Iraq, the US military doesn’t dare end its occupation of the country again. Look for a very expensive array of permanent US military bases throughout the country. So much for our 2003 invasion creating a stable democracy, as the neocons promised.

In Syria, the United States has currently established at least eight military bases even though it has no permission to do so from the Syrian government nor does it have a UN resolution authorizing the US military presence there. Pentagon officials have made it clear they will continue to occupy Syrian territory even after ISIS is defeated, to “stabilize” the region.

To continue reading: Big Military Spending Boost Threatens Our Economy and Security

 

House Approves $696 Billion Military Spending Bill, by Jason Ditz

The bloated US military budget looks set to get even more bloated. From Jason Ditz at antiwar.com:

In a 344-81 vote today, the House of Representatives passed their version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $696 billion spending bill which far exceeds the amount of money sought by the Pentagon and the Trump Administration

The bill has a base $621.5 billion funding, nad $75 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, which includes at least $10 billion that are earmarked as part of the OCO but intended to be spent on domestic military spending.

The bill was supported by a majority of Democrats, and the overwhelming majority of Republicans. Indeed, only eight Republicans voted against the bill, with three other abstentions. The bill still has to be reconciled with its Senate alternative before becoming law.

To continue reading: House Approves $696 Billion Military Spending Bill

…And Now For The Bad News, by Simon Black

To think that the federal government can pull a rabbit from its hat and painlessly solve its debt problem is to believe in a fiscal Easter Bunny. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

In the late 1760s and early 1770s, the government of France was in a deep panic.

They had recently suffered a disastrous and costly defeat in the Seven Years War, and the national budget was a complete mess.

France had spent most of the previous century as the world’s dominant superpower, and the government budget reflected that status.

From public hospitals to shiny monuments and museums, social programs and public works projects, overseas colonies and a huge military, France had created an enormous cost structure for itself.

Eventually the costs of maintaining the empire vastly exceeded their tax revenue.

And by the late 1760s, France hadn’t had a balanced budget in decades.

Debt was ballooning, interest payments were rising, and the government of Louis XV was desperate to do something about it.

There’s a famous story in which the Comptroller-General of Finances summoned all the government ministers to make deep budget cuts.

But no one could come up with anything substantial.

The overseas colonies were too important to cut.

And they couldn’t cut public hospitals… because too many people were now relying on them. Similarly they couldn’t cut veteran pensions either.

At the end of the session they could hardly find anything to cut that would make a meaningful difference.

All of their fancy programs and benefits had become too ingrained in society at that point; and any cut would have proven politically disastrous.

I thought of this story earlier this week when the US government released a sweeping budget proposal that aims to cut the deficit over the next ten years.

In fairness I’m always happy to see any government cutting spending.

But before uncorking the champagne bottles it’s important to understand some basic realities:

The budget slashes $3.6 trillion in spending through 2028 while proposing zero cuts to Defense, Social Security, and Medicare.

To continue reading: …And Now For The Bad News

The American Way of War Is a Budget-Breaker, Never Has a Society Spent More for Less, by William Hartung

On to more substantial things, like the costs of military and war. So far Trump is running up the tab, which is far more consequential than firing James Comey. From William D. Hartung at tomdispatch.com:

When Donald Trump wanted to “do something” about the use of chemical weapons on civilians in Syria, he had the U.S. Navy lob 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield (cost: $89 million). The strike was symbolic at best, as the Assad regime ran bombing missions from the same airfield the very next day, but it did underscore one thing: the immense costs of military action of just about any sort in our era.

While $89 million is a rounding error in the Pentagon’s $600 billion budget, it represents real money for other agencies.  It’s more than twice the $38 million annual budget of the U.S. Institute of Peace and more than half the $149 million budget of the National Endowment of the Arts, both slated for elimination under Trump’s budget blueprint. If the strikes had somehow made us — or anyone — safer, perhaps they would have been worth it, but they did not.

In this century of nonstop military conflict, the American public has never fully confronted the immense costs of the wars being waged in its name.  The human costs — including an estimated 370,000 deaths, more than half of them civilians, and the millions who have been uprooted from their homes and sent into flight, often across national borders — are surely the most devastating consequences of these conflicts.  But the economic costs of our recent wars should not be ignored, both because they are so massive in their own right and because of the many peaceable opportunities foregone to pay for them.

Even on the rare occasions when the costs of American war preparations and war making are actually covered in the media, they never receive the sort of attention that would be commensurate with their importance.  Last September, for example, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute released a paper demonstrating that, since 2001, the U.S. had racked up $4.79 trillion in current and future costs from its wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria, as well as in the war at home being waged by the Department of Homeland Security.  That report was certainly covered in a number of major outlets, including the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, and U.S. News and World Report.  Given its importance, however, it should have been on the front page of every newspaper in America, gone viral on social media, and been the subject of scores of editorials.  Not a chance.

To continue reading: The American Way of War Is a Budget-Breaker, Never Has a Society Spent More for Less

‘Defense’ – The U.S. Military Outspends These Countries Combined, by Tyler Durden

The US outspends the next seven nations combined on its military, and President Trump has proposed spending another $54 billion for our “depleted military.” From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Not long into Trump’s presidency, he announced his plans to increase the country’s defense budget in 2018 by 54 billion dollars. The extra money is seen as necessary in order to “rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it”. Whether justified or not, this extra outlay will take the U.S. even further ahead of the rest of the world in terms of outright military spending.

The infographic below shows how the current budget compares to the world’s other top spenders.

Infographic: Defense: The U.S. Outspends These Countries Combined | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2016 U.S. defense spending outstripped that of China, Russia, UKFrance, Japan, Saudi Arabia and India combined. When it comes to spending as a share of own GDP, the United States’ huge output naturally brings them down the rankings somewhat. Of the top outright spenders, Saudi Arabia is way ahead, with an estimated 10 percent.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-24/defense-us-military-outspends-these-countries-combined

 

Beware the Dogs of War: Is the American Empire on the Verge of Collapse? by John W. Whitehead

John W. Whitehead’s math and statistics are a little sketchy (if the debt is growing at $35 million/hour it is growing at $840 million/24 hours, not $2 billion), but the message isn’t: America’s empire has bled it dry. From Whitehead at rutherford.org:

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. — James Madison

Waging endless wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Syria) isn’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, it’s certainly not making America great again, and it’s undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

In fact, it’s a wonder the economy hasn’t collapsed yet.

Indeed, even if we were to put an end to all of the government’s military meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the government’s creditors off our backs. Even then, government spending would have to be slashed dramatically and taxes raised.

You do the math.

The government is $19 trillion in debt: War spending has ratcheted up the nation’s debt. The debt has now exceeded a staggering $19 trillion and is growing at an alarming rate of $35 million/hour and $2 billion every 24 hours. Yet while defense contractors are getting richer than their wildest dreams, we’re in hock to foreign nations such as Japan and China (our two largest foreign holders at $1.13 trillion and $1.12 trillion respectively).

The Pentagon’s annual budget consumes almost 100% of individual income tax revenue. If there is any absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off, especially when it comes to paying the tab for America’s attempts to police the globe. Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $57 million per hour.

To continue reading: Beware the Dogs of War: Is the American Empire on the Verge of Collapse?