26 May 2023   3 comments

The current brouhaha over the deficit ceiling has a markedly surreal context which highlights the absurdity which qualifies as a debate in national discourse: Apparently both the Republicans and the Democrats has decided that there is no need to question the budget for what they regard as national security matters. The actual debate in Washington is focused on what is called the “discretionary” budget. That part of the budget includes the Pentagon budget as well as nuclear weapons, federal immigration enforcement, law enforcement, and prisons. Those items constitute $1.1 trillion out of a total of $1.8 trillion which includes social spending such as “primary and secondary public education, housing programs, childcare programs, federal disaster relief, environmental programs, and scientific research.” In other words, 62% of the discretionary budget is off limits. Indeed, the Republicans are lobbying for an increase in defense spending even as the social programs are being eviscerated.

The Institute for Policy Studies and the National Priorities Project, both highly regarded but definitely lefty think tanks, have just released an important Study entitled “The Warfare State: How Funding for Militarism Compromises our Welfare“. According to the report: “The U.S. military budget is currently $920 billion, the highest level on record during peacetime, and higher than the next 10 countries’ military spending combined.”

There is a lot in the defense budget that could be cut. For example, the costs associated with the Pentagon’s newest fighter plane, the F-35, are astronomical. According to NBC News:

“With an estimated lifetime cost of $1.6 trillion, the F-35 Lightning II, conceived as a versatile, super stealthy next-generation fighter plane, is the most expensive weapon system ever built. When the program began way back in 1992, the F-35 was supposed to be an affordable one-size-fits-all solution for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. It took until this February for the Air Force to publicly admit that the F-16 replacement failed the affordability test.

Another expenditure within the Pentagon is the costs associated with private contractors doing the work that used to be done by soldiers within the ranks:

“Reduce reliance on contractors, who account for half of the Pentagon budget each year. Over the ten-year period from
2011-2020, Pentagon contractors took in $3.4 trillion in public funds. Studies have shown that Pentagon contractors
provide the same services at a higher cost than government workers.”

There is no reason for the defense budget to be sacrosanct. If cuts need to be made (and I am not sure why that is true–the Democrats have plans to increase revenues by increasing tax rates on the very wealthy and that is a better solution than to cut social service spending), then the military should take cuts instead of poor Americans.

Posted May 26, 2023 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

3 responses to “26 May 2023

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  1. thank you vinnie


  2. Let’s impose work requirements on Congressmen.


  3. Good luck with that!


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