Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Military Bullshit Spending Must Stop!

A crowd in D.C. protests against possible Social Security cuts. It is the military which ought to take the brunt of all cuts, now and in the future!
According to today's Denver Post, budget slicing efforts aimed at raising the Medicare eligible age will have vast cost repercussions across the board. Those costs will affect not only younger Medicare beneficiaries (mainly of the 65-66 age range if the eligibility age is increased to 67) but also employers - who will have to pay much higher insurance costs to cover elder employeers still waiting to get Medicare.

Of course, their most expeditious move will simply be to not hire those in that age range, adding to an already mestastasizing age discrimination background. But there is an easier way to solve this nation's budget morass, and it's not contingent on doing it on the backs of the senior population, via Medicare age increases, or Social Security cuts. The best way is to slice the Pentagon's annual military-defense budget by at least one half. Right now, it amounts to nearly $730 billion a year, minus the smoke and mirrors accounting they use, which includes not counting "supplementals" in the main budget and using Social Security monies to disguise the excesses. This is bullshit!

The Pentagon has offered to cull $78 billion over five years or so - and this is also bullshit- as it's a drop in the proverbial bucket. At least twenty times that could be cut over the next five years, and the U.S. would still be spending more on military - defense crap than the next twenty nations combined. Yet what do we find? Even in the midst of such dire budget pressures, the Pentagon is set to award Fort Carson, CO an Aircraft Brigade (according to an 'informal heads up' conveyed to Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Doug Lamborn), replete with 113 choppers, including Apaches and Kiowas, along with a 2,700 man deployment. Total cost? $1 BILLION! FOR WHAT????

The brigade is supposed to arrive in 2013, but the U.S. - along with the NATO allies - is supposed to be pulling out all operations from Afghanistan by 2014. Tell me how this computes. The basis offered by Carson talking heads and their military industrial political lackeys eager for the government tax teats is that "the helicopters are essential for combat operations such as in Afghanistan". But for what, for how long? ONE MORE YEAR? And if more than that, where the hell is the money to support that going to come from? This is stark raving plain insane!

There is NO justification to add one damned skyhook balloon to Carson, far less a chopper brigade, not in these parlous budget times! The only possible reason is to provide pork barrel spending to an already hyper-addicted military community which is so top-heavy with installations (and soldiers, the largest contingent since WWII) that no private employers want any part of it.

Let's look at this more closely, the overall perspective, of why the military-industrial complex is bleeding this country into oblivion.

First, currently there are over 1.4 million Americans on active duty and another 833,000 are in the reserves. Another 1.6 million Americans work in companies that supply the military with everything from weapons to utensils - the "industrial" part of the militay-industrial complex so to speak. ALL of this is paid for by U.S. tax dollars - now by proportion, 58 cents of every tax dollar- at least half of which could be going to shore up Medicare and Social Security as the baby boomer onslaught emerges.

Second, the expenses - whether via taxes or on communities - don't end there. Consider all the hospital bills that must be paid for tens of thousands of wounded vets. Some will never work again because of their injuries (especially to the brain) and hence must rely on tax dollars for the rest of their lives- figure at least $2 million each for a brain-injured 20 -year old. Where the fuck is this money going to come from when the bond rating agencies (like Moody's) already have the U.S. of A. in their crosshairs?

In addition, factor in the hundreds of retired military officers who receive entitlements galore all courtesy of the tax payers, which is money that could be used for meaningful employment for younger Americans. This is critical because surveying the data shows fewer jobs are created through military spending than through civilian spending, because military spending is capital intensive. For every $1 billion of tax money, 25,000 military jobs can be created but that can't compare with 47,000 health care civvie jobs for the same $$. A total mismatch!

Instead of pissing down $750 million million for base construction at Fort Carson on a stupid, redundant "Aviation brigade", think of what that money could do invested in repairing Colorado's crumbling infrastructure, including thousands of miles of rusting, century old sewer lines in Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs, as well as the roads now cratering from rockfalls and differential heating-cooling. While at most 2,100 civilian jobs might be created at Carson to build the chopper support infrastructure, most of that will go to private contractors who already have an 'in' with the military.

Meanwhile, the same money invested in pure civilian infrastructure repair would hire over 3,500 people and mainly working or middle class. Where is the sense and balance? There is none, when this country is hostage to pork funding!

Tax money spent to create military jobs also creates more unemployment, since that economy (such as based in military-addicted communities like Colorado Springs, and Ft. Hood, TX) is so dependent on congressional allocations of monies.

Indeed, it's much worse than thought because those cities seldom see much of any troop spending as they use it all for PX fare, and when they do go outside the base, say to dine out, they're awarded with 'freebies' that come off the restaurants' or stores' profits. Meanwhile, the cities suck salt with low sales tax revenues.

How to pay for this outside the tax piggy bank provided by civvie taxpayers? Well one way is to sell weapons to other countries, and no surprise then that last year saw the U.S. peak in such arms sales at $40 billion (most to Africa and the Middle East)!

Instead of this insanity, as well as forming "chopper brigades" when the tax kitty is winding down to pay for them, we need to use taxpayer money to create jobs that edify people's lives. A place to start is to use half of those misspent defense funds (the Pentagon still can't account for $1.1 trillion it "lost" in 2000) to launch infrastructure repair jobs. We will stabilize our country's basic systems, including roads, bridges and water-sewer mains, which in the long run will mean much more than how many Apaches we deploy to Afghanistan to kill innocent bystanders and make us even more hated.

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