By now, news of the President's budget proposal surely reached your eyes or ears. For many, the proposed cuts that project to reduce the deficit by $1.1 trillion over ten years is a case of robbing the poor to give to the rich. On the other hand some say the President's reductions fall short and suggest the cuts go deeper.
Starting with the largest item not going under the knife, the military rocks the budget (54%) with $1,449 billion. Yet, it shows as only 20% of the budget, but a closer look reveals that the Department of Defense ($653 billion), military funds from other departments ($150 billion), and an additional $162 billion to supplement the Budget’s misleading and vast underestimate of only $38 billion for the “war on terror" that is actually $200 billion. What is included in these numbers?
Current Military/Past Military $1,449 billion
• Military Personnel $129 billion. • NASA (50%) $9 billion
• Operation & Maint. $241 billion • Homeland Secur. (military) $35 billion
• Procurement $143 billion • International Security $9 billion
• Research & Dev. $79 billion. • State Dept. (partial) $6 billion
• Construction $15 billion • “Global War on Terror” $200 billion
• Family Housing $3 billion • other military (non-DoD) $5 billion
• DoD misc. $4 billion. • Veterans’ Benefits $94 billion
• Retired Pay $70 billion
• DoE nuclear weapons $17 billion. • Interest on national debt (80%).
created by military spending, $390 billion
There is much shouting about proposed cuts in Pell Grants, heating oil assistance, block grants and programs that touch the middle-class with both hands. Nevertheless, the cuts are a mere pittance that will do little to cut the deficit, while reducing the military budget by a third over the next three years would nearly erase the national debt.
Among the warmongers in Congress and those with dollars from the defense industry in their pockets, military spending is sacrosanct, but the war-time economy scenario no longer works with the financial cuts proposed. Of course, Republicans want reduce the size of government and cut taxes, which is the absolute worst thing to do at this time. Main Street America needs money in their pockets, a serious break on their taxes while the toll on the richest 10% should go back to at least the Clinton era rates.
The problem is Americans can't buy anything. Meanwhile, corporate America flush with cash face a dilemma because no one can buy their products and frankly, the rest of the world doesn't want them. Meanwhile, the rich won't account for enough to get the economy going as they usually are the last to spend their money.s
The United States signed up war in 1904 and has been fighting ever since. Since that time there have been only three consecutive years when our troops weren't on the move. Those years came in the 50's and were the beginning of one of the most prosperous times in US history. That time ended when the first US advisors arrived in Vietnam. We are doing to ourselves what we did to the former Soviet Union--bankrupted them in an escalating arms race.
War is draining the bank and the best we can come up with is more partisan politics. The amount of money earmarked for defense could wipe the slate clean, but it won't happen The economy needs a boost, but the money needs to go into middle Americans pockets. The Republicans threaten to shut the government down by not accepting the budget in which case there would be no funding if the budget is not approved in March. What will happen is anyone's guess, but if nothing is done we may be facing the worst recession in US history.