Sounds great one things Democrats and Republicans agree on is an unlimited $21 trillion spent on defense in last 6 years. According to Jeff Stein at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, the Senate on Monday voted in favor of a $716 billion military spending bill for the 2019 federal fiscal year. The House had already passed it last month.
This is $82 billion higher than the current budget, which itself was more than the Trump administration requested.
Who says those in the Beltway can’t pull together for a common cause?
This year, 67.5% of House Democrats and 85% of Senate Democrats voted in favor. Win some in the house, lose some in the Senate. Overall, pretty big majorities.
National defense is important, if you ask many people. The defense industry also spreads its tentacles and work across as many states and congressional districts as possible. What office holder wants to be known as a local job killer?
No worries about losing jobs here, especially for lobbyists. As Stein noted, our military spending is currently, adjusted for inflation, higher than at any time other than when the Iraq War was flushing cash as quickly as a black hole.
At a time when many want to cut more domestic spending because of a budget deliberately blown to hell with the usual reckless spending and a massive tax cut that was sold on a fable and which will increase the deficit and national debt, who needs more military spending?
The argument is that the country needs to be ready for an international crisis. What, are there plans no one has told us about yet? Some new war ready to be fought?
I mention the Democrats in particular because they claim to be concerned about domestic spending, sending more young people to war, and, amazingly, deficits. That seems to be the refrain of whoever is out of power at the moment. Not so long ago, it was Republicans who were supposed to be the deficit hawks.
The posturing has become pathetic and the implications, deeply worrisome. A sixth of discretionary federal spending goes to national defense, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
By the way, this money doesn’t include the tens of billions in addition that go into the overseas contingency operations budget, which his even more money to spend on military actions overseas. It doesn’t include the Homeland Security budget.
Not only do we love our guns on an individual level, but, god, do we worship them, the jet fighters and battleships, the nuclear weapons, and the tons of money that go unchecked and uncontrolled.
In 2016, the Pentagon tried to hide $125 billion in wasted spending that took place over a five-year period.
There’s been $21 trillion in unsupported spending between 1998 and 2015, according to some reports. Maybe it was legitimately spent, but if anything remotely like this happened in a company, auditors would be pouring over the books while prosecutors started looking for whistleblowers.
And yet, both Democrats and Republicans on the whole are happy to keep writing massive checks to the DoD, which couldn’t balance a checkbook if its sole income was a corner lemonade stand. Because no one wants to seem soft on defense when running for reelection and they don’t want to say they were behind killing jobs.
Then again, who are we kidding? The bulk of the money isn’t for normal salaries. We’re not quite sure what it’s for, other than more toys for the military, a chance to “prove” patriotism to sections of the electorate, and the usual engorgement of those who have already profited handsomely off the country’s spending.