Let’s End The Military Industrial Welfare Complex

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MARKET WATCH: If you follow the headlines, and believe them, you would probably think that defense spending is about to be slashed to the bone following the collapse of the “super committee”. Defense secretary Leon Panetta is warning of a “doomsday” scenario for national security spending. Congressman Buck McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, warns that automatic cuts will end up “crippling our military.” There’s just one problem. It’s total nonsense. What Washington calls a “cut” is really just a more modest increase than you were expecting. Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, says that under these alleged post-committee “cuts” defense spending is actually forecast to rise from 2012 to 2021 by 16%, from $695 billion to $818 billion. Boy, that’s some cut! The Pentagon had been expecting a 23% rise, and in Washington a slow increase is called a “cut.”You need to start by understanding where defense spending is today. It’s off the charts. We’ll spend about $695 billion this year on defense. The most Ronald Reagan ever spent, in 2011 dollars, was $537 billion. The most America ever spent during the Vietnam War, also in today’s dollars, was $526 billion. The peak during the Korean War: $442 billion. The amount we spent in 1942, the year after Pearl Harbor: $352 billion. In modern times the only years when we spent more than we do today, in 2011 dollars, were 1943, 1944 and 1945. Defense spending today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, is 70% higher than the average since 1946. Yet, as you can see, any suggestion that we should even slow the rate of increase — during a budget crisis — has produced political hysteria, almost across the board. Our political system is dominated by imperialists. The only presidential candidate contemplating any real defense cuts at all is Ron Paul. That’s it. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: A) America spends as much on its military as the next 21 countries COMBINED!

B) America spends 6 TIMES as much on its military as its closest rival, China!

C) America maintains over 1,000 military bases OUTSIDE the United States!

D) America maintains approximately 195 military bases INSIDE the United States!

E) Total U.S. defense-related expenditures for 2010 exceeded a TRILLION DOLLARS!

Try digesting all of that in light of right side aisle sitters telling us that social welfare programs must be slashed if there’s to be any hope of balancing the budget and reducing the deficit. Haven’t been kicked hard enough? Okay, here’s an absolute gem: House Republicans are currently proposing a 13% cut in the WIC program while at the same time debating a 17 BILLION DOLLAR INCREASE to the Pentagon’s budget! Still savoring the pain? Alright, try this: 6.6 BILLION DOLLARS in CASH sent to Iraq in 2003/2004 was either stolen or is otherwise unaccounted for (that’s government speak for “we don’t have the slightest f _ _ _ ing idea where it went”). Now that I’ve got your attention, here’s a little surprise: NONE of the figures mentioned above, annual or otherwise, include the costs of actually FIGHTING wars! That’s a whole different ballgame entirely. The monetary costs of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total over 1.2 TRILLION DOLLARS and climbing. And that doesn’t include the inevitable cost of ongoing medical care for the wounded, both physical and mental. Those costs are expected to total nearly a TRILLION DOLLARS more! Incidentally, the tab for “missiling” Libya shouldn’t amount to more than a couple $100 MILLION (about the cost of employing 5,000 teachers for a year)! I apologize for not including the costs of maintaining intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA, but those “incidental” MEGA-BILLION DOLLAR outlays are never made available to the “rational.” MORE

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