The election raised hopes that reforms were on the way, i.e. new banking oversight and enforcement, some attention to the widening gap between rich and poor, and maybe some restraint as far as invasions that haven’t produced the desired results.
Meanwhile, the “military-industrial complex” (so aptly named by former President Eisenhower), continues to burn money at an astounding pace. The waste and fraud is nearly impossible to deal with because we’ve learned the Department of Defense is beyond auditing.
"The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) cannot render an opinion on the 2012 consolidated financial statements of the federal government because of widespread material internal control weaknesses, significant uncertainties, and other limitations," the agency said.
"As was the case in 2011, the main obstacles to a GAO opinion on the accrual-based consolidated financial statements were: Serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) that made its financial statements unauditable. The federal government’s inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies. The federal government’s ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements."
That is to say the system of no-bid contracts and gratuitous spending is literally out of control.
In real dollars, defense spending has increased more than 70% since 2001. The two wars that were part of the “War on Terror” will no longer justify vast sums that are rarely questioned or scrutinized. So how hard could it be to absorb some of the cuts that would be part of a sequester scenario that may occur on March 1, 2013 now that those wars will soon be a bad memory?
Spending cuts are to be expected after any war, historically about 30%, but instead of accepting the decrease, we see Ike’s warning coming to fruition. The solution (for the defense industry) lies in expanding the war to other countries regardless of the consequences or past failures. This will assure that defense spending continues to increase, but also means a state of perpetual war, something that is becoming rather obvious to everyone except the mainstream media and GOP chickenhawks.
The poorest Americans have already endured cuts that literally threaten their survival, but the defense beast has not, so it’s amazing to watch the melodramatic indignation of defense punks that, according to Chuck Hagel, have gotten pretty much anything they wanted for more than a decade.
Whether America is safer or not is questionable, but many have made a cogent argument that the money spent was actually counter-productive except to military slime that see even more opportunities as their previous failures breed even more hostility in other areas (and anti-American sentiment spreads).
Now we’re told that the contraction of the economy is due to a slow-down in defense spending but even if you accept that faulty logic, there is a remedy that has proven effective in the past. Let’s suppose that the government has to spend every single dollar it spends now, perhaps more as part of a stimulus effort to keep the economy from contracting. Why should those dollars be diverted to the defense industry which is fraught with waste and fraud and often benefits from no-bid contracts that are basically gifts provided by taxpayers?
If the objective is consumerism fueled by government spending when the actual need cannot be justified, why not spend the money on domestic infrastructure which can be justified since 70% of America’s roads and bridges are in need of repair or replacement? If the economy depends on the 22% of spending that the military can no longer justify after two failed war efforts, what’s wrong with shoring up the budgets of cities on the brink of bankruptcy, especially their pension funds which were devastated by the 2008 meltdown?
There is no shortage of worthy candidates for increased spending, but unfortunately the GOP is stuck on stupid and thinks that defense spending cuts must be offset by cuts to domestic programs which actually benefit Americans as opposed to the military lard-asses that have done little to make Americans safer after putting the country in hock over the last ten years. Their war against the 47% is part of their belief system. Obviously military spending takes precedence over the needs of average Americans, those that will ultimately stuck with the bill. As if to emphasize the point, 80% of Senate Republicans voted against Sandy Relief.
They must really think the trillions of dollars that were wiped out by the banking sector, the layoffs that resulted, the imposed-poverty and the foreclosure debacle are the acceptable byproduct of capitalism, and corporate welfare which clearly extends to the defense industry is perfectly consistent with this belief system.
If and when Obama or the Democrats propose an FDR-style jobs program it is quickly met with howling about “socialism” as if corporate subsidies, coddling defense contractors, and the pork they acquire for their constituents is something else. It isn’t. They are only supplying more proof that the GOP is the “stupid party” and can’t understand why their policies failed so miserably during the last decade.
Keep in mind that the economy is based on the production and purchase of consumer goods, so if the money pumped into the economy is a requisite for the survival of capitalism, it stands to reason that consumers have to have some disposable income to spend. Under the current priorities, the defense industry has lots of it. Corporations just enjoyed their best quarter ever as far as profitability. The rich are making money hand over fist as the stock market reaches new highs and hardly any of those profits have “trickled down” to anyone besides their brokers and investment firms. And there is no longer any doubt that Bush-era policies based on the theory that tax cuts would translate to jobs, growth and prosperity have been thoroughly debunked.
Instead those tax cuts simply proved what many progressives were saying at the time when they argued against them. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer and that’s exactly what happened.
Let’s cut through the bullshit and acknowledge that was the intent all along. The trillions that have been and will be spent on “making Americans safer” is also a crock of shit. Those that have been laid off, evicted from their homes, suffering without medical care, barely surviving on declining wages, or victimized by the cuts to social programs caused by the criminal elite on Wall Street, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about Taliban air raids or Malian rebels invading the U.S.
They can’t afford to be concerned with Israel’s paranoid political swamp but they wouldn’t mind a piece of the $3 billion Israeli citizens get for nothing every year. They would like to have a chance to build some of the roads, installations and other buildings that will never be completed in Afghanistan as long as the government is throwing away money on what they call defense. Their patience is challenged daily by elitist crooks that have defrauded them and their alleged protectors, the prosecutors that have turned a blind-eye to rampant criminal conduct by Too Big to Jail felons.
And now they are expected to suffer even more hardships because the defense industry is telling them any decreases in spending will “hurt the economy” which is typical of GOP talking-point stooges, but if sequestration actually causes cuts, the poor and unemployed will be asked again to shoulder the burden despite the fact they’ve been the only ones that actually suffered any hardships after the 2008 economic disaster.
And the people that caused it are still bitching and whining about being overtaxed.
Here’s to the demise of the GOP because if the “stupid party” continues to have any influence whatsoever over the policy, there won’t be any point to auditing the death-for-profit monstrosity anyway. It will simply be, if it isn’t already, a black hole of untold, wasteful spending, almost none of which serves any domestic purpose.
Cross-posted at globalrev.wordpress.com