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We just spent an agonizing few months in which the prospect of a government shut down was averted for five more months by a "deal" to cut roughly $38 Billion Dollars from Discretionary Spending.  As you well know (those of you that have been paying attention) last December, when Democrats still controlled the Congress, the Bush Tax Cuts (and more besides!) were extended.  The cost this year of maintaining those tax subsidies?  Roughly $85.8 BILLION per year.

Well, we know the vast majority deficit hawks vultures are hypocrites.  

What many keep forgetting however is the true third rail of American politics, the one item that remains now that Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are back on the menu for for the so-called Deficit hawks vultures.  And what might that be?  US Defense Spending.  

The Problem of Expanding Defense Budgets:

Let's begin shall we with the overall costs of the US military budget, shall we?  

Since 1998, the military spending by the Federal Government has increased from a little over $350 Billion to present non-war related defense expenditures for 2011 of $698 Billion.  Here's a little chart that shows non-war Defense Spending from 1998 through 2008:

Since 2001, of course war operations in Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iraq make up a significant component of that amount.  Indeed, as of 2010, those costs represented 1.15 Trillion Dollars.  Yet the base budget for the Defense department is still significantly high than the war related expenses.  In 2011, President Obama proposed a  military base budget (i.e., not including Iraq, Afghanistan or other war related supplemental spending) of  $533 Billion and for 2011 a base budget of $549 Billion.  

So even without war spending, the Defense Department has increased its operational costs from $350 Billion (which included enforcing the No Fly Zone over much of Iraq) to half a Trillion Dollars this year.  Here's another little chart that compares our current levels of defense spending (adjusted for inflation) to those since 1945, the last year of WWII:

As you can see from the chart, our core, non-war defense spending these last few years is the equivalent of total defense spending for 1953, the last year of the Korean War, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, and 1989, in the midst of the Reagan/Bush 1 military buildup.  When you add in the cost of the war expenditures, only the total defense costs of 1945 exceed our current outlays for military spending.  

Of course, in the 1950's Eisenhower raised the tax rate on the wealthiest American to 91%, in large part to pay for the cost of those wars.  Those tax rates remained as high as 70% under Nixon and even 50% under Ronald Reagan.  In the past decade, however, taxes on the wealthiest Americans were reduced to below the 39.6% rate under Bill Clinton's years in office even as Defense spending increased dramatically.  Another little chart demonstrates these facts:

So what caused the rise in the federal deficit on which the Deficit Vultures so love to harp, and blame the costs of our social safety net, essential government agencies 9IRS, SEC, FTC, EPA, FDA, etc.) and modest funding for groups such as Planned Parenthood and PBS?  Two things in my view:

  1. Tax subsidies that overwhelmingly favored the wealthiest Americans and Corporations
  2. Increased Defense Spending (including the utterly unnecessary War in Iraq)

Well, we know that the Deficit Vultures, especially those in the Cracked Teapot wing of the Republican Party will never agree to raise taxes to pay for all this increased military spending.  Indeed, their leading Deficit Vulture, Paul Ryan, has proposed a plan that eliminates Medicare, slashes Social Security, etc., all while lowering the tax rate on the upper 1% of Americans to 25%.  Ryan would also eliminate the estate tax and the corporate income tax.  In their place he would impose a federal value added tax or VAT (he calls it a business consumption tax but it's really just a VAT) of 8.5%. This tax would disproportionately effect people in the middle and lower classes according to an analysis of Ryan's proposals by Citizens for Tax justice:

Congressman Ryan would repeal the federal estate tax, which affects only the very largest estates (less than one percent of estates, in recent years). He would also repeal the corporate income tax and replace it with an 8.5 percent “business consumption tax,” the same thing as a value-added tax (VAT).

Retail businesses would collect the full VAT from consumers, so it would have the same regressive effects as a sales tax. Low- and middle-income families spend most or all of their income on consumption, since they have little or no money left to save after paying for basic necessities. High-income families are able to save much more of their income. This means that if Congress enacts a tax that applies only to consumption (like a VAT or national sales tax), it would eat up a much larger percentage of total income for poor and middle-class families than for wealthy families.

... [T]he 8.5 percent VAT is (almost) the entire reason why the bottom 90 percent of taxpayers would pay more under Congressman Ryan’s plan than under President Obama’s plan.

Oh and Ryan also plans to eliminate popular tax deductions for the middle class such as the mortgage tax deduction, the charitable deduction and the home residence property tax deduction.

My Plan, or how to solve the so-called "deficit problem."

If the Deficit Vultures really want to get serious about reducing the Federal deficit they can either raise taxes, or find ways to cut a bloated US military that is fraught with fraud and waste, and the expense of fighting three (and counting) wars in the Middle East.

First, begin with government fraud and waste in defense contracting.  

The GAO filed a report in 2009 that listed the reasons why the current system of procurement is designed to increase the costs of our military spending without actually getting much value for that upon which we spend our precious tax dollars:

The GAO study of defense weapons acquisitions finds that the Department of Defense "commits to more programs than resources can support."

Translation: It doesn't say "no" often enough.

What's more, the report notes that the DOD "fails to balance the competing needs of the services with those of the joint warfighter."

Translation: The services do not coordinate their needs, so they often duplicate systems and run up costs.

There is a body—with the fantastically bureaucratic name of Joint Capabilities and Integration Development System—that is supposed to prevent such duplication, but it reportedly approves nearly all of the proposals it receives from the services rather than prioritizing them. The services are supposed to coordinate with each other, but, according to the GAO, nearly 70 percent of the time they don't.

The study, released today, points to the Pentagon's "acceptance of unreliable cost estimates based on overly optimistic assumptions."

Translation: Defense officials wink at unrealistic price tags for complex weapons systems, leaving their successors—and taxpayers—to pay the full costs sometime in the future.

Moreover, the study adds, "DOD officials are rarely held accountable for poor decisions or poor program outcomes." [...]

The GAO report raised a case in point: Last year alone, the DOD's portfolio of weapons programs went $295 billion over original cost estimates. What's more, the programs were running, on average, 21 months behind schedule. And when they were completed, they provided less than they promised.

In GAO parlance, the final products "delivered fewer quantities and capabilities to the warfighter than originally planned."

Jacques Gansler, the chairman of the Defense Science Board's Task Force on Industrial Structure for Transformation, testified that the Defense Department needs more acquisition officials who are qualified to review defense contracts. Currently, he said, they are short-staffed and their importance to the Pentagon's workforce is undervalued.

This, Gansler added, introduces opportunities for fraud, waste, and abuse. He testified that there are currently 90 acquisition fraud cases under review from the war zones.

In fact, a panel of respected civilian and military experts, the Department of Defense Panel on Contracting Integrity, has already issued a report on how to cut waste and fraud in our military budget.  You can find  a copy of their 171 page report, including their recommendations and conclusions at to eliminate Defense contracting waste and fraud, this link.  The report is entitled the "Panel on Contracting Integrity's 2009 Report to Congress."

I'm not going to list all their recommendations and conclusions here.  That would make this diary far too lengthy.  However if you are interested I suggest you peruse the report.  Most of what they recommend is simple common sense, the same sorts of procedures and policies that any major business would employ to eliminate waste and prevent fraud and abuse in their procurement processes.  Recommendations such as these:

  1. Hire more procurement officials nad train them better to recognize signs of fraud, waste and abuse.
  2. Reduce Conflicts of Interest by requiring more disclosure of contacts and prior relationships between the defense contractors and the officials in charge of the contracting process
  3. Increase Penalties and Fines for fraud and streamline the process of enforcement of existing laws.
  4. Allow DOD to retain funds recovered from fraud actions rather than permitting the Treasury to receive and retain such monies.  As the panel stated:
    Currently, DoD must “pay” twice for the value of goods or services lost through fraud. Though it has no appropriated funds for paying liabilities properly chargeable to cancelled accounts, DoD is required to pay such liabilities from current appropriations. Accounts for lost funds recovered by the government under the False Claims Act have usually expired, thus the funds generally go to the Treasury Department rather than the defrauded agency.

    The law currently requires funds for expired accounts to be deposited as miscellaneous receipts under the control of the Treasury Department. This opportunity cost is a considerable disincentive for agency personnel to expend time and effort assisting with fraud investigations. The subcommittee believes individuals would be more willing to participate in fraud investigations if their organizations retained some of the recovered funds.

  5. Create a DOD Ethics Program for all procurement employees
  6. Better documentation of contracts regarding potential conflicts of interest, reasonableness of prices, better assessment of contractors' ability to satisfy production requirements in a timely manner, and more market research by reliable to inform decisions on the need for the item in question and which companies have a better track record and should be awarded contracts.
  7. Fewer No-Bid Contracts.

Second, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which are costing us $171 Billion this year alone.  Even reducing our war efforts in the Middle East by one half would reduce the deficit by $85 Billion.  Add that number to reduced waste, fraud and abuse in defense contracting and pretty soon we are talking about real savings, not just superficial yet painful cuts that harm many many Americans for the sole benefit of politicians who can perform their Kabuki dance to proclaim how "serious" they all are on cutting the deficit.

Yes, I know the Deficit Vultures won't do anything to reduce Defense Spending.

The Deficiit Vultures aren't going to discuss eliminating tax subsidies for the richest  Americans either, but that does not mean we, liberals, progressives and especially Democrats should not be advocating in every public forum we can that if people want serious deficit reduction through spending cuts the place to find it is where the most waste and unnecessary spending is occurring: The US Military and our endless wars that do little to reduce the risk of terrorism but do much to promote the interests of Big Oil and defense contractors (i.e,., war profiteers).

If the Cracked Teapot Republicans want to put the programs that have best served ordinary Americans on the Chopping Block (unemployment insurance, disability benefits, Medicare,Social Security and agencies that insure our food, drugs, water and air are safe and that our financial markets are not merely casinos where Massive Financial Institutions rake in all the profits while forcing the rest of us to bear all the risks they take), than we need to put their sacred Cows up on that same block.  

And the way to begin is to do what The Cracked Teapot Republicans like Paul Ryan have done.  In other words we need someone in the Democratic Party to boldly assert a plan that proposes major Defense cuts and the elimination of tax subsidies for the rich.  

Ryan has shown us the way.  He wants to cut programs that most Americans depend upon and support.  We should be willing to advocate for the elimination of  War Spending (already very unpopular among most Americans) and wasteful and fraudulent Military Spending (an easy sell to make in my mind).  After all, who supports fraud, abuse and wasteful military spending that delivers inferior weapons and services and does little to help our troops do their job when it is necessary for them to do so.

We should also be talking up a plan to eliminate special tax favors for corporations and the "one percenters," as well, but that's the subject for another day and another diary.

Originally posted to Steven D on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 07:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There was a diary floating around (12+ / 0-)

    not long ago making the point that the total "security" spending was actually $1,200 billion (or almost double some of your charts).

    So, defense per se could be regarded as a good starting point, but by no means the whole enchilada.

  •  Defense "on the table"? (12+ / 0-)

    No.  Not enough.  I want Defense on the chopping block.

    Cut the Defense budget in half this year, half again next and half again the year after that.  That still leaves more than enough to defend America against any real threats.  I don't see any external threats that are a fraction as dangerous to America as the internal threat from the MIC.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 12:26:17 PM PDT

  •  Guns or butter, actually (9+ / 0-)

    guns or infrastructure, health care, education and fairness -- that is the real choice that Americans face. The US can still have the largest military expenditures, it just cannot have global military dominance, which in my view has little to do with actual, literal defense.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 12:28:11 PM PDT

  •  this is our issue (6+ / 0-)

    The time is now. Here is the issue that should define every response to dishonest Republican policy numbers, it should be on the lips of every candidate for the House of Reps that wants support from netroots. This is the time for this battle and it's time to focus. Sure there are other issues. And other branches of government. Put them aside until Dec 2012. Unwinding corrupt wasteful unneeded military boondoggles and suggesting that those jobs be used to ramp up solar should be the message.

    It's all about jobs. And bringing the deficit down. (I personally don't care about bringing the deficit down but attack their strength). We can't afford Karzai. We can't let the Chinese and Japanese lap us on solar like they did on semi conductors (not the Chinese but ...)

    It's a simple message. We don't need it, can no longer afford it. We can live cheaper and smarter and safer. The road to this reform goes through the House. The House is the one place our voice might be heard next year.

    Now's the time.

    Thanks to this and the front page diary I think the progressives in the Democratic party might soon start looking forward and have a plan rather than shouting unheeded at the centrists who ignore us while tenuously clinging to power. Here is the issue.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 12:36:31 PM PDT

  •  And there is the little matter of four separate (6+ / 0-)

    branches of the military, all who constantly lobby to have the newest and best, no matter how redundant.

  •  This is a good example of how to tackle the (6+ / 0-)

    bloated defense budget... thank you for choosing where to start.

    My fear is that Democrats and Republicans will agree to cut defense but not say exactly where cuts will be made. The Defense Department will then come in and chop health care and family support even more. The idea that we need to rethink contracts and procurement is more to the point and makes a lot of sense.

  •  Excellent diary, Steven D. (6+ / 0-)

    This is never discussed enough. What we're doing with our military is becoming more and more decoupled from the actual security interests of the US. It's more about protecting contractors, weapons sales, and the profits of international fossil fuel industries, than making the world more secure.
    Defense spending seems immune from direct observation.

    ...the Defense Department needs more acquisition officials who are qualified to review defense contracts.
    However, that's not what the Defense Department wants.
    We need a modicum of leadership. No one needs to be great. Just a little bit more responsible than we've been in the past.
    That's how waste, fraud and abuse get reduced.
    But, our leaders are AWOL.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 01:19:59 PM PDT

    •  Thanks Pat Bunny (5+ / 0-)

      We've known for years what the problem is.  The 2009 panel told us nothing new.  Both parties just turn a blind eye out of fear of being called traitors if anyone dares touch the sacred defense budget.

      Eisenhower warned us, and he was a true conservative in that he did not believe a large military complex deeply entrenched with business interests was in America's best long term interest, but no one listened.  He was a lame duck President at the time he gave that speech after all.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 01:45:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Wars Are Corporate Welfare! (7+ / 0-)

    The Democratic Party and the Republican Party no longer serve the interests of the American people. To begin to take the country back, a courageous politician needs to run on these (beyond left & right) policy ideas and WIN.

    1. End Political Corruption - enact the Fair Elections Now Act. Strictly voluntary. Matching funds. $100.00 maximum donation. Ban politicians from becoming lobbyists

    2. End The Wars - (another form of corporate welfare). Immediately pull out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen

    3. Put Millions Back To Work - Federal government invest $2 trillion over 10 years through a national infrastruc­ture bank (run by engineers, not politician­s) to create jobs now and increase productivi­­­­ty later. Fund with a millionair­­­­e's tax

    4. Balance The Budget - over time by cutting the defense budget, end agricultur­­­­al subsidies, stop corporate welfare, raise taxes on the super-rich­­­­, contain the explosion of health-car­­­­e costs by adding the public option, allow Medicare to purchase drugs, give MEDPAC wider authority and allow drug re-importa­­­­tion

    5. End National Addiction To Oil - begin with a carbon tax to reduce consumptio­­n, increase energy efficiency and make alternativ­­e energy more cost-compe­­titive. Revenues generated should go to reducing payroll taxes to stimulate employment

    6. Keep Social Security Solvent For Generations - raise the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax to $200,000. Congress could gradually slow the growth of benefits for middle and high earners while still allowing these benefits to rise in terms of absolute dollars and purchasing power. Lower-wage earners would receive everything they are now promised. Eliminate $4.8 trillion long-term deficit

    7. End Bank Monopoly - break up the big banks, strengthen the Volker Rule and end the foreclosur­­e crisis by giving bankruptcy judges the power to order reductions in mortgage principal owed

    8. Encourage Upward Mobility In Society - make higher education free to families that can't afford it. Fund with a financial transactio­­­ns and bank tax

    •  You sound like Teddy Roosevelt (0+ / 0-)

      Well known as our first Communist Fascist Dictator (and do really really know if his birth certificate was legit?) who only became "President" because a real American Patriot who supported our glorious free enterprise system, President McKinley, was shot to death by some terrorist thug (can't remember if he was Arab or Muslim but I do believe he was rather swarthy looking). -- {snark}

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 01:40:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How much did you pay for war this year? Wanna (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, pat bunny, Meteor Blades, Matt Z

    find out? Here ya go:
    http://rethinkafghanistan.com/...

    We have "Nobel Peace Drones" creating terrorists one hellfire missile at a time

    by pathman on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 01:39:02 PM PDT

  •  A couple of salient points (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, dhshoops, esquimaux, Matt Z, alizard

    First your numbers do not include the payments on the national debt that stem from our absurd military spending so your numbers are conservative.  The actual situation is somewhat worse.

    Second, in 2009 the US accounted for 46.5% of the total military spending in the world. (I am sure it will be comparable in the current fiscal year but the figures are not available.)  Said another way, we spend almost as much as all the other countries in the world!!!  If you ask me, the level is absurd and the expenditures are not very effective.  Our military is not correctly constructed to fight the types of wars we face.  Our military occupation of Afghanistan costs us four times the gdp of Afghanistan.  We are living in Bizzarro World.

    I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

    by Eric Blair on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 02:27:03 PM PDT

  •  One item I would like to see on the list: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    The commissary system. I understand the need in remote areas but in larger cities, why not let the "free market" work?

    There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown

    by VA Breeze on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 02:39:25 PM PDT

  •  We started down the wrong road the day the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, esquimaux, Matt Z, native

    "War Department" name was changed to "Department of Defense."  

    During WW II the cabinet position administrating the military was the War Department.  Think about it.  Who can be against war?  Well, everybody--unless the war is for a damn good reason.

    Then the name was changed to Department of Defense.  Who can be against defense?  Nobody.  

    A Congress-person can legitimately vote against war spending--but it is more difficult to vote against "defense" spending.

    It's subtle but I think it made a big difference.

    US energy corporations realize that both solar and wind power share one big drawback--they are free.

    by Mayfly on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 02:43:09 PM PDT

    •  So agree, and last years PR budget was 5 Billion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D

      for them, just to recruit and to sell the wars.

      This year with the increase in military spending it is probably higher.

      Just think that we as taxpayers are paying the War Department billions to sell us their propaganda on wars.

      Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

      by allenjo on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 05:24:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would like to see a bill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, Steven D

    that says something like:  Any government agency or department that fails a yearly mandatory audit will not receive any money until such time as it passes a comprehensive audit.

    (The Pentagon has NEVER pass an audit.)

    •  If that bill passed, then the "Defense" department (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D, esquimaux

      would have to account for those missing pallets of US $100. bills in Iraq--and we would have had to withdraw from Iraq by now.

      That is, if the CIA is part of the Defense Dept. and I believe it is.

      US energy corporations realize that both solar and wind power share one big drawback--they are free.

      by Mayfly on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 03:23:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not just those missing dollars (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steven D, allenjo

        Remember, it was none other than Rumsfeld who said the Pentagon could not account for $2.3 Trillion, and that was on September 10, 2001!  http://www.cbsnews.com/...

        Now that we've throw oodles more greenbacks down that big black maw, it is anyone's guess how many billions (or trillions) are unaccounted for.  Again, we can't know how many dollars and how much stuff has been lost or stolen because the Pentagon is unauditable -- according to the GAO.

  •  Starve'em (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, esquimaux

    Starve the beast. Cut military expenditures (total, including all the other stuff that is defensibly related) by 20% in year one, and then 5% in every year thereafter until the budget is balanced! Let the military decide how to spend the money - but just give them a fixed amount - NO EXTRAS.

    By the way, some of the proposals you objected to do actually make sense. Getting rid of the mortgage interest deduction and bringing in a VAT (with rebates for lower income people) actually are good ideas and used by almost every other developed nation (except the US).

    "I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong". Feynman

    by taonow on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 03:03:17 PM PDT

  •  Two relevant radio interviews (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, native, alizard

    to the subject of this diary today, both available for your listening pleasure on line.

    First, Larry Korb of the Center for American Progress on the Takeaway this morning detailed the billions the US could save by reducing our troop presence not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Europe (the threat of the Soviet invasion is, umm, minimal today) and Korea (according to Korb, the South Korean army is superior to the North Koreans, and the South Koreans -- one of the top economies in the world -- pay little for their own defense).

    In the other one, Robert Siegel deserves a prize for taking Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to task over the Republicans' failure to properly fund the Iraq war, adding -- in Siegel's estimate -- another trillion dollars to the deficit.  Price tried two or three times to dodge the question, but Siegel insisted and finally got a lame recognition that Republicans are "also" responsible for Washington's budget deficits.

    I'd love to see a journalist go just as hard against the Republicans on the Bush tax cuts...

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 03:06:18 PM PDT

    •  Another interesting radio discussion today (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alizard

      On PRI's To The Point

      "Is the Pentagon Worth the Money?"

      http://www.kcrw.com/...

      The Pentagon will net a $5 billion increase at a time when some insiders say it's more bloated and less accountable than ever before. On Capitol Hill, it's no secret that the defense budget is impossible to audit and that nobody knows what complex weapons systems really cost. Some insist that the US is preparing for past wars or for wars that will never be fought.  Whose interests does it really serve?

  •  Soviet Style Collapse (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, allenjo, Matt Z, native, alizard

      This is the Soviet Style Collapse predicted by Dmitry Orlov in Reinventing Collapse.

      The rich got the entire contents of the treasury, they sat on it until times got bad, now GOP governors are handing over public assets for pennies on the dollar, and the last ones left to rob are those who will die without assistance.

      And the Tea Party is still sniveling about taxes. We deserve the civil war we're about to get.

  •  There's an old saying it's "Guns VS Butter" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, Matt Z, native, alizard, Steven D

    Well without "Butter" at home "Guns" aren't worth a Damn and the GOP has chosen "Guns" just like every other fallen Empire in History.Margaret Thatcher someone the Right just loves said "The Soviets put Guns over Butter,but we put almost everything else over Guns" Guess the Right will have to stop loving Margaret if they read this line and Dwight Eisenhower said in a 1953 called the "Chance for Peace" speech "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.".

  •  But, if we cut defense spending, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, Steven D

    it might make "the troops" feel unsupported.

    Duh.

    It might cut into Obama's militarist fanboy cred when posing before a crowd of American Flags.

    Duh from the 11tieth dimension.

    Please get with Big-Boy Pants(tm) Dem core priorities and core politicking truths.

    Please don't feed the security state.

    •  A trillion plus per year? All told? (0+ / 0-)

      Worth every penny when I see Barack Obama strutting around playing War President fit to beat GWB himself.

      That will show the Republicans!

      Heh.  Money well spent.

      Scratch a Security State Dem, out jumps a neocon.  Scratch a neocon, out jumps a fascist.

  •  Quick someone press the ignore button. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    The Republicans would not be happy if this were a major campaign issue with the Tea Party in 2012. Well one can only wish it was.

  •  Cut the military budget 10%. (5+ / 0-)

    Give them 10% less than they ask for, and let the military get rid of the fat and waste themselves.  Stipulate that items necessary for the safety of he troops can not be cut.  It's a Truman style approach, it's too easy, but that's all I can come up with.

    Planning a vacation or convention in Arizona? Come to Palm Springs instead! Same desert weather, none of the bigotry.

    by grey skies turning to blue on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 03:57:55 PM PDT

    •  Great idea BUT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D

      they'll just say EVERYTHING is for the safety of the troops & the wimps in Congress (both parties, but especially Repukes) will go along with it, lest they look like wimps themselves (they're wimps for being afraid to be called wimps, as it turns out)

      A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

      by METAL TREK on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 05:31:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  if the idea is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D

      to get a military social services cut and pay cut for the enlisted, you've got a great idea.

      Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 07:34:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You and I were on the same wavelength... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo, Steven D

    ...today, obviously.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 04:15:45 PM PDT

  •  great diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo, WheninRome, Steven D

    Who amongst the Democrats with access to a microphone will pound this topic? Very few. Too bad.

    You might want to add this disgusting fact to your diary or at least to your files:

    A CBS report in 2002 on "The War on Waste" gave us the following:

    ....its own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.

    "According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," Rumsfeld admitted.

    This issue is a no-brainer to take to the American public for flailing. But, nooooooooooooo,,,,musn't upset the MIC -- the true Third Rail in American politics.

  •  Start with the contractors (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo, native, Steven D

    According to Randi Rhodes (herself an Air Force vet), we could save a lot just by getting rid of the contractors. For example, in previous wars, the troops were fed by other troops. If they went to get breakfast, the guys cooking & serving the breakfast were other troops. In these bullshit wars we have going on, that's all done by contractors. I think she mentioned KBR as one of them. For example, a soldier in Iraq goes for breakfast & gets a bagel and cup of coffee. KBR charges us (taxpayers) $16. A soldier goes in & gets a bowl of cereal, voila, another $16 for KBR, courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. Taxpayer. Another soldier goes in & gets some pancakes with a side of bacon & glass of oj, thank you America, another $16 for KBR. With millions of troops who all have to eat, that adds up. Get rid of the contractors & bring back KP like we did in WW2 & you can save some money right there (per Randi).

    And let's not forget the $6,000 hammers & $10,000 toilet seats AND the piece of shit boondoggle weapons that DON'T FUCKING WORK....like the fighter jet that can't fly in the rain (Bill Maher is always harping on that one).

    What was that quote? A billion here & a billion there & pretty soon we're talking real money.

    A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

    by METAL TREK on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 05:29:36 PM PDT

  •  Below are the millions in contracts just for today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, Steven D

    I am sorry for the long post, but it makes a point.

    I am posting the entire awards just for today.
    But each business day, you will find the same. Billions of billions of dollars in contracts awarded.

    http://www.defense.gov/...

    CONTRACTS for April 12, 2011

    NAVY

                iRobot Corp., Bedford, Mass., is being awarded a $230,051,146 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of man transportable system (MTRS) production systems, depot level repair parts, spare kits, depot repair services, parts supply, training, engineering enhancements, configuration management, and approved accessories.  The MTRS is a small robotic vehicle used by explosive ordnance disposal technicians to conduct remote reconnaissance, render safe, and/or dispose of explosive devices.  Work will be performed in Bedford, Mass, and is expected to be completed by April 2015.  Contract funds in the amount of $305,960 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity (N00174-11-D-0013).

                Sygnos, Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a maximum amount $30,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity job order contract for repair, maintenance, alteration and minor construction of various facilities at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Naval Weapons Station, Fallbrook.  The work to be performed provides for small to medium, multi-trade repair, maintenance, alteration and minor construction of various facilities and structures within the contract scope and specified in the North American Industry Classification System of 236220, “Commercial and Institutional Building Construction.”  Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif. (95 percent), and Fallbrook, Calif. (5 percent), and the term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of April 2016.  Contract funds in the amount of $5,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 15 proposals received.  The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, Resident Officer In Charge of Construction, Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-11-D-0608).

                Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $17,731,000 fixed-price incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5305) for incorporation of pre-production materials and support for SM-6 Block I fiscal 2011 all up rounds production.  Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by June 2013.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

                Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $9,751,647 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-10-C-0020) to exercise an option to procure three low power engine repairs and 11,247 engine flight hours.  Work will be performed in Oakland, Calif. (70 percent), and Indianapolis, Ind. (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2011.  Contract funds in the amount of $9,751,647 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

    ARMY

                General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Poway, Calif., was awarded on April 8 a $173,458,076 fixed-price-incentive-fee contract for the procurement of low rate initial production in support of the Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system.  Work will be performed at Poway, Calif., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2014.  One bid was solicited and one received.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting authority (W58RGZ-11-C-0099).

                Honeywell International, Phoenix, Ariz., was awarded on April 8 a $114,891,669 firm-fixed-price contract for total integrated engine revitalization program year five requirements to provide parts and engineering services for the overhaul of 774 automotive gas turbines, 1500 engines, or equivalents.  Work will be performed at Anniston, Ala.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Greer, S.C.; and Rocky Mount, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011.  Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with one received.  Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting authority (W56HZV-06-C-0173).

                GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on April 8 a $37,173,386 firm-fixed-price contract for a contract revision of the not-to-exceed amount and obligated amount for the production cut-in effort of the Double-V hull into 178 Stryker vehicles.  Work will be performed at London, Ontario, Canada, and Anniston, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 29, 2012.  One bid was solicited and one received.  TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting authority (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

                L-3 Communications Systems West, Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded on April 8 a $34,299,296 firm-fixed-price contract for 1,184 Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver Six Systems.  Work will be performed at Salt Lake City with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2012.  One bid was solicited and one received.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting authority (W58RGZ-07-C-0209).

                ECC International, LLC, Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded on April 8 a $27,613,870 firm-fixed-price contract for design build/site adapt construction of the Military Police and Signal Training School.  Work will be performed at Camp Shaheen, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2012.  Bids were solicited via Web with seven received.  Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting authority (W912DQ-11-C-4009).

                Datron World Communications, Inc., Vista, Calif., was awarded on April 8 a $18,678,801 firm-fixed-price contract for radio systems and spares in support of Foreign Military Sales Case “G5- 8-UEH Al” for Afghanistan.  Work will be performed at Vista, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2012.  One bid was solicited and one received.  CECOM Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., is the contracting authority (W15P7T-09-D-D212).

                GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on April 8 a $12,317,543 firm-fixed-price contract for a contract revision of the not-to-exceed amount and obligated amount for the production cut-in effort of the Double-V hull into 226 Stryker vehicles.  Work will be performed at London, Ontario, Canada, and Anniston, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 29, 2012.  One bid was solicited and one received.  TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting authority (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

                Raydon Corp., Port Orange, Fla., was awarded on April 8 a $11,874,998 firm-fixed-price contract for 30 fire trainers and training.  Work will be performed at Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of April 8, 2012.  Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with one received.  National Guard Bureau, Arlington, Va., is the contracting authority (W9133L-11-F-0097).

                Penick Nordic, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on April 8 a $10,553,482 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a munitions storage complex.  Work will be performed at Swanton, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of April 7, 2012.  Eighty-five bids were solicited with eight received.  National Guard Bureau, USPFO Swanton, Ohio, is the contracting authority (W91364-11-C-0001).

                L-3 Communications Corp., Salt Lake City, Utah, was awarded on April 8 a $8,454,744 firm-fixed-price and cost plus fixed-fee contract for interim contractor support for level two manned-unmanned capability for the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter fleet.  Work will be performed at Salt Lake City with an estimated completion date of March, 31, 2014.  One bid was solicited and one received.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting authority (W58RGZ-11-D-0169).

                Esterline Armtec, Coachella, Calif., was awarded on April 8 a $8,183, 936 firm-fixed-fee contract for 74,800 M206 decoy countermeasure flares, and 121,380 MJU-7A/B infrared countermeasure flares.  Work will be performed at Milan, Tenn., and East Camden, Ark., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2013.  Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with two received.  Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting authority (W52P1J-09-C-0055).

                Kilgore Flares Co., LLC, Toone, Tenn., was awarded on April 8 a $7,532,668 firm fixed-price contract for 61,200 M206 decoy countermeasure flares, and 99,360 MJU-7A/B infrared countermeasure flares.  Work will be performed at Toone, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2013.  Two bids were solicited with one received.  Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with two received.  Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting authority (W52P1J-09-C-0056).

                Greenleaf Construction Co., Inc., Kansas City, Mo., was awarded on April 8 a $6,945,652 firm-fixed-price contract for the repair of damaged river/channel slope sections of Wichita-Valley Center, Kansas, flood control project.  Work will be performed at Wichita, Kansas, with an estimated completion date of April 16, 2013.  Bids were solicited via Web with nine received.  Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa, Okla., is the contracting authority (W912BV-11-C-0009).

                AAI Corp, Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on April 8 a $6,773,664 cost plus fixed-fee
    contract for 1,184 one system remote video terminal systems.  Work will be performed at Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2012.  One bid was solicited and one received.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting authority (W58RGZ-06-C-0190).

    DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

                FujiFilm Medical Systems USA, Inc., Stamford, Conn., was awarded a two-year base, fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $16,800,000 for digital imaging network-picture archive communications system.  There are no other locations of performance.  Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies.  The date of performance completion is April 10, 2013.  The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM2D1-11-D-8307).

                Colt Defense, LLC, West Hartford, Conn., was awarded a firm-fixed-price, five-year contract with a maximum $14,872,500 for automatic weapon receiver.  There are no other locations of performance.  Using service is Army.  The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2017.  The Defense Logistics Agency Land - Warren, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (SPRDL1-11-D-0026).

                Macquarie Aviation North America 2, Inc., Louisville, Ky., was awarded a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $8,245,057 for fuel.  There are no other locations of performance.  Using service is Army.  The date of performance completion is July 31, 2013.  The Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-11-D-4000).

    Rhetoric has to be matched with actions. "Only actions don't lie."

    by allenjo on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 05:35:36 PM PDT

  •  If I had my way when an Officer reached (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    the grade of O-6 they would have to sign an oath that if they were ever to be promoted again, they would not work for a defense contractor.

  •  a few things.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    1. there's Iraq, [we're still pouring money down a hole there] Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, [Never ever ever ever talked about], and Libya.....that makes at least 5 "projects" in which we're presently involved that we know of. I can't really call them wars, because we're not winning, I don't get the feeling there is a sincere objective to win them either, rather it's a device to keep the MIC fat and alive.

    2. There's all sorts of incestuous commingling of interests going on. In the theatres mentioned above, there's always energy costs, those tanks and whatever they're called all run on petrol, and the petrol has to be driven to the location where these vehicles reside, which itself takes petrol and apparently civilian contractors because military procurement is catered now. Back like 5 years ago, Janes was estimating a daily cost of fuel and transport to be about $5B a week [a gallon ended up being about $25-30 just to get where it was going], just fuel. And that didn't account for trucks that got IED'd or or contractors that ran off with the shipments and/or trucks. When you add on all the troop costs, our school building, regular old guns and ammo and cafe Halliburton etc., etc.....the figure approaches one that......well we have no idea. And the fact that all of these expenditures benefit the very few, the same people that lobby here to keep spending money there, while we pay for it and they don't because they are supposed to be creating jobs.

    3. Jobs......unfortunately veterans of our projects, home from these projects have an extremely high unemployment rate [about 20%]. Soooo if we stop the projects, they'll all be on the job hunt and our unemployment stats will skyrocket. Also in perusing Janes [and related sites] some years ago the figures for just Iraq and Afghanistan regarding those two projects estimated about $3T in war costs with a contingency [the Pentagon never met a contingency it didn't like] of about another $1T in healthcare and therapy. That was 5 years ago at $4T. I shudder to think what the last 5 years added to those estimates.

    The cynic in me thinks Obama is floating on a win/win on this one, Repubs love the wars because the contractors pay for their campaigns and Obama looks all tough and he keeps the unemployment stats down so he can run in 2012. Maybe not that cynical.

    There's tons of other related stuff......

  •  I'd like to see (0+ / 0-)

    the 5 oldest of the 11 carrier fleets in service mothballed and a 6th mothballed when the supercarrier under construction is completed.

    I'd like to see 1/2 of US military personel stationed overseas having nothing to do with the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq recalled and bases closed.

    I'd like to see the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq shut down completely and the troops recalled.

    I want to see our military presence in the Middle East drawn down over a few years to zero. We're going to have to do this anyway when they run out of economically producible oil anyway and the Middle East is no longer of any importance to people who don't live there.

    This will require a faster transition to alternative energy (faster than the one in EU, any transition to alternative energy in the US would be faster than what's up now) but massive military cutbacks would give us some money to put into this.

    What's implied in this list of cuts is the US going out of the world police business.

    Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 07:41:18 PM PDT

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