Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Pentagon Getting Away With Fiscal Murder Using Spending Gimmick
It fairly boggled my mind when wifey read the piece on salon.com to me yesterday a.m. while having coffee. It had to do with a little known slush fund program that the author (David Dayen) compared to "crack cocaine for the Pentagon". This slush fund goes under the eye- glazing title "Overseas Contingency Operations" fund or OCO, but it is really an underhanded device to bleed monies from government's tax commons without any accountability. It was one of the things former defense analyst Chuck Spinney warned the warhawks would try if they were never forced to account for "misplacing" $1.1 trillion of funding back in 2002.
That our leaders could actually aid and abet them in this, discloses they are - if not outright traitors - at least lacking any respect for the general welfare clause of the Constitution. Indeed, this slush fund program (which borders on a black budget) has enabled other non-military, domestic programs to face severe cuts - including under the draconian sequester baloney while the Pentagon got away Scot free. The reason is that our noisome rat politicos had set the program up so it could suddenly - at any time- morph into an "emergency funding" hole . Thus, taxpayer money could be instantly funneled to the military and no one would be the wiser. Hence, while on paper the Pentagon and military appeared to be sharing in the budget cutting pain, in reality they were sitting pretty and laughing all the way to the bank.
DO the poor little bastards - admirals, five stars and others - need this extra hidden money? In two words, fuck no! In the words of one academic critic, the Pentagon is “a bureaucratic juggernaut accounting for 57% of the federal discretionary budget and nearly 40% of all military spending on this planet.” But instead of bringing our tax dollars home with our troops as they come home from Afghanistan, the Pentagon and allies in Congress want to protect the profits of Pentagon contractors by adding billions to their off-budget slush fund. Oh wait! Did I say troops come home from Afghanistan? Even that's now put on hold and the money to keep them there will come from - you guessed it - OCO!
Meanwhile, 15 million hungry kids had to suffer at the end of 2013 when the federal SNAP (food stamps) program was cut by an additional $9 billion. Many kids forced to raid dumpsters to try to get adequate food stuffs to eat. But did our bloated military-industrial complex care? Hell no! Why stop the gravy train when our own paid off political whores were behind it? It is enough to make any proper citizen puke as I nearly did as the account was read to me.
Now, as we read Obama & Co. plan to extend the U.S. presence in Afghanistan we can be sure OCO monies will fund it as opposed to forcing congress to approve the taxes to pay for it. OR...to raise taxes to pay for fighting ISIS. No rational taxpayer would have complaints about fighting the ISIS rats but don't fucking do it under the table! Put it out there in the legislative domain for citizens and taxpayers to see who will vote to raise taxes out in the open to pay for foreign military expeditions and engagements and who won't,
But let us admit here that this behind the doors sort of operation is inimical to democracy and the democratic process because there is no genuine oversight. There is no fiscal accountability because hidden funds can be piled in anytime it's convenient. This is what tyrants do, for god's sake - usually in military dictatorships.
The development of OCO represents a new mechanism for funding American wars since 9/11, another gift handed out by the George W. Bush Administration. “There’s no prior instance of such a thing in American military practice,” said Gordon Adams a professor at American University who worked on defense budgets at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration.
What it also does - by skirting traditional legislative channels and processes - is pave the way for perpetual war. As long as money is no object because this slush fund exists, any war can be launched at any time by any nut who might assume the presidency - including Ted Cruz. It is time we held our representatives accountable, including that their setting up slush funds for the military outside of constitutional oversight is the epitome of being un-American!
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