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Pentagon
(U.S. Air Force)
Since 1998, and especially since 2001, the Pentagon gravy train has been roaring along like a runaway down a steep grade. Inflation-adjusted spending has been greater than it was during the peak of the Cold War. The so-called "peace dividend" has been swallowed by defense spending that is higher than that of the next 20 or so nations combined. As a consequence, however, of the budget deal cut last August, some $50 billion will be sequestered, that is, removed from the Pentagon's budget in January. That will mean significant layoffs in the military-industrial complex, and because of lead time, those could come as soon as October. But the Pentagon has announced no plans thus far for where those cuts might occur. This has produced a kind of limbo.

But the military-industrialists are not sitting around waiting for the ax to fall:

The Aerospace Industries Association is leading the industry’s inside-outside game, blanketing Capitol Hill and congressional districts trying to make the case that lawmakers need to kill the defense spending cuts before catastrophic damage to the economy, jobs and the country’s national defense occur. [...]

AIA’s seven-figure campaign, dubbed “Second to None,” includes rallies in lawmakers’ districts, paying for studies on the economic impact of sequestration and pushing the issue through social media and catchy cartoons.

Defense contractors like Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon spent more than $9.6 million on lobbying during the first three months of 2011. AIA alone spent $1.4 million last year and more than $620,000 on lobbying during the first three months of 2012.

The lobbying effort is going beyond the usual nexus of allies in both parties, according to Politico's Anna Palmer and Austin Wright. For instance, AIA has connected with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. IAM has worked diligently arguing against sequestration on Capitol Hill. In a joint mid-June op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, AIA CEO Marion Blakey and IAM President Tom Buffenbarger wrote:
According to DOD, sequestration will shut down virtually every major modernization program—from stealth fighters to intelligence satellites to ships the Navy has been waiting on for years. These cuts will leave our aerial and naval fleet smaller and older than any we've fielded since World War II, and our military dependent on aircraft designed and in some cases built three, four, even five decades ago. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the cuts would generate "unacceptable risk" to our combat troops; his deputy called it "assisted suicide" for our military.

Equally troubling, according to a study by noted economist Stephen Fuller of George Mason University, sequestration would destroy more than 350,000 aerospace jobs, with an additional loss of 654,000 jobs that our industry supports in communities and towns across the nation. Cuts to NASA and FAA budgets would further accelerate this industrial decline.

National security and jobs make for a potent lobbying combination anytime, but never more so than in an election year. Even before Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation of the military-industrial complex, that powerful force has driven policy and budget. The truth is that the Pentagon budget needs more than a modest trim. The question is how to go about it in a smart, gradual but steady way. The abrupt impact of sequestration is certainly not that.

But the answer of the deficit peacocks on Capitol Hill, as exemplified by the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 that the House passed in May, is to slash non-defense spending. Their desire to do that was exactly what led to the deal last August because most Democrats weren't willing to cut as deeply into domestic programs as Republicans were. It's hard to imagine any realistic scenario for resolving this situation before November. Afterward, who knows. One thing's for certain, Medicaid and funding for regulatory oversight and a host of other such programs have no lobbyists as powerful as the miltiary-industrialists on their side.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As a firm believer that nobody cares what we say.. (7+ / 0-)

    ...on Daily Kos, nobody in the outside world that is, I did shudder a but at this:

    The truth is that the Pentagon budget needs more than a modest trim. The question is how to go about it in a smart, gradual but steady way. The abrupt impact of sequestration is certainly not that.

    That justifiably tiny voice in my head says that this could easily be seen as progressive wobbbling on defense sequestration, and that it's bad for us to be seen as wobbling.  Defense sequestration is our only tool, and it's one I would use regardless of the consequences.  Why would I worry about some fictitious threat to our troops in the field, when my adversaries don't worry about completely real threats to vulnerable people in the United States?

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:38:06 AM PDT

    •  Some of us have been arguing since... (11+ / 0-)

      ...August 2011 that sequestration (and the whole super committee concept that ultimately gave it to us) was a terrible idea. But we were told by backers of the August deal that sequestration would never happen, that no way would that committee fail to come up with an agreement which avoided such a prospect.

      So now those of us who said it was a lousy idea should shift direction because it's our only tool? If there is no agreement between now and January, it won't just be defense that sequestration defenestrates. Domestic programs, safety net programs, will be getting the heave-ho, too. Where is their lobby?

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 11:25:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  America's True Welfare Queens (21+ / 0-)

    Contractor - Defense Contracts (2010)

    1     Lockheed Martin Corp.     $10,888,633,000
    2     Northrop Grumman Corp.  $8,212,891,000
    3     Boeing Co.   $5,051,984,000
    4     General Dynamics Corp. $4,576,415,00
    5     Raytheon Co. $4,095,309
    6     KBR Inc $3,546,554,000
    7     L-3 Communications Corp. $3,332,433,000
    8     Science Applications International Corp. $3,280,980,000
    9     DynCorp International Inc. $2,398,874,000
    10     Hewlett-Packard Co. $2,344,325,000
    11     Booz Allen Hamilton $2,344,325,000
    12     CACI International Inc. $2,059,613,000
    13     Harris Corp.  $1,993,623,000
    14     Computer Sciences Corp. $1,828,670,000
    15     ITT Corp.     $1,808,674,000
    16     Fluor Corp. $1,742,216,000
    17     BAE Systems Inc. $1,381,184,000
    18     Dell Inc. $1,263,236,000
    18     ManTech International Corp. $1,167,928,000
    20     United Technologies Corp. $1,121,492,000

    I didn't vote for military Empire, did you?

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:41:42 AM PDT

    •  Speaking of "Queens"... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      Time to talk about the other capital investment company that starts with a "B":

      BLUM Capital.

      Blum's wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has received scrutiny due to her husband's government contracts and extensive business dealings with China and her past votes on trade issues with the country. Blum has denied any wrongdoing, however.[3] Critics have argued that business contracts with the US government awarded to a company (Perini) controlled by Blum may raise a potential conflict-of-interest issue with the voting and policy activities of his wife.[4] URS Corp, which Blum had a substantial stake in, bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002; EG&G subsequently won a $600m defense contract.[1]

      In 2009 it was reported that Blum's wife Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a government agency that had recently awarded her husband's real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, what the Washington Times called "a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms."[5]

      Am I or is anyone here going to be surprised when Feinstein joins the other war-profiteers in the senate, protesting the automatic defense spending cuts that may be coming?

      If it comes to that, I can more or less guarantee you some democrats in the senate will be using the exact same talking points as the repugs; moaning about how "U.S. security at home and around the world will suffer".

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 08:19:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Either Lockheed or McDonnel is already saying they (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, JeffW, bluezen

    would cut tens of thousands of jobs before the election if sequestration goes forward.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:48:06 AM PDT

  •  Was speaking with a few officers over the weekend (14+ / 0-)

    and the common belief is that we will have a military with outdated equipment because Congress won't make the tough decisions to stop funding things we don't need anymore. To save money, they will instead cut troops. So we will have a hollow force - tons of stuff and no one who knows how to use it. Congress needs to find some common sense and quit making decisions for their State's bottom dollar and start making some decisions for the Nation's bottom dollar.

    •  Yes. Pork barrel spending, not national defense. (4+ / 0-)

      Congress will oppose cuts the Pentagon wants to make if they impact defense contractors or bases in their districts. Instead, there will be cuts to research and modernization.

      In Des Moines, there is a National Guard F-16 squadron. The Pentagon wants to eliminate the F-16s and switch to a much smaller drone group. It would eliminate about 400 jobs. Of course the Governor and all members of the Iowa Congressional delegation objected.  

    •  Tons of obsolete cold war weapons systems. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, angelajean
      So we will have a hollow force - tons of stuff and no one who knows how to use it.
      •  Lessening likelihood of using weapons ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero

        ... because they don't work as well, and
        ... because they don't meet the needs of today's military, and
        ... because they don't fit the strategy of 21st century war, and

        ... because military spending is like cocaine for the careers of elected officials.

        Let us count the ways. But mostly, military spending has - literally - defined a great many Congressional districts. It has elected and re-elected a truly boggling number of Representatives over the decades. And so it will continue until the need for innovation, budget pressures and a realistic view of America's role in the world compel changes ... and military spending may go on its present course and speed even then.

        In fact, it seems to.

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:37:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Or cut troops' benefits (0+ / 0-)

      Pay, retiree medical, etc.  They will cut anything but the $$$ to their corporate overlords.  Those campaign coffers don't fill themselves you know.

      I will speak out whenever and wherever I see racism. Silence is not an option! Please support NFTT 2012

      by Actbriniel on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 04:48:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So why not lobby to raise taxes on rich? (9+ / 0-)

    I love how GOP only cares about military jobs - but vote to cut 100,000 USPS jobs, blocks jobs for tens of thousands of teachers and first responders because "we can't afford it" - but MIC jobs - well those are absolute necessity.  

    Pres Obama can veto anything regarding this sequester unless it has 2/3rds majorities in House and Senate.  I don't think there is any way the House could get 2/3rds that would waive military spending sequester because of the CPC.  

    •  This seems like leverage for demcrats. If they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexasTom, chipoliwog

      are willing to filibuster and enough pressure is put on blue dog senators not to defect, the GOP could be painted as the ones willing to gut defense instead of raising taxes on the rich. It should be played to the max.

    •  This should be seen as an opportunity... (0+ / 0-)

      ...because there's a real chance here of getting the defense lobby to start pushing Republicans to support tax increases in order to avoid sequestration.

      But keep in mind that there will also be a lot of pressure on Democratic lawmakers -- the big Aerospace/defense firms are very heavily unionized, and those unions certainly have a strong interest in keeping those cuts from happening, as well.  

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 08:23:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Whoa: Obama vetoing military spending might ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... pull some Congressional districts and states that are now in reach of Democrats back out of reach. (I do not have specific districts and states in mind, but the south would be a good area to consider.)

      If I were a Republican strategist, I'd have that card - forcing a presidential veto the GOP probably couldn't overturn - in my hip pocket. Securing the House and winning the Senate - and the possibility of putting an Obama second term in serious jeopardy - would be well worth the short term hassle. Besides, if my GOP strategy worked, Republican majorities could pretty quickly stop those draconian cuts in late-January 2013. Cuts - literally - would not get off the ground.

      I'm not arguing Obama duck the issue if it comes to him, but there is considerable risk. And remember, too, that Republicans are not the only political animals who run on military spending-as-jobs-and-a-robust-economy-back-home. That's what helped perpetuate a very large number of long-running Southern Democrats in the 40's to 60's.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:47:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lockheed Martin already announcing layoffs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    White Buffalo, Eric Nelson

    I know it's a ploy just fleshing out the theme here

    http://www.politico.com/...

    Lockheed Martin eyes layoffs this fall

    Lockheed Martin is contemplating a pre-election move that could shake up the political landscape.

    Right before Election Day, the company is likely to notify the “vast majority” of its 123,000 workers that they’re at risk of being laid off, said Greg Walters, the company’s vice president of legislative affairs.

     Walters’s comments are some of the most specific threats yet from an industry that’s trying to head off the $500 billion in automatic cuts in defense spending set to begin taking effect Jan. 2. Called sequestration, the cuts are being phased in over 10 years, with about $55 billion slated for 2013.

    Unless Congress reaches a deal to stave off the cuts, “we will find it necessary to issue these [layoff] notices probably to the vast majority of our employee base,” Walters told POLITICO.

    Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

    by JML9999 on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:08:19 PM PDT

    •  The version of this that I heard... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JML9999

      ...is that Lockheed Martin was going to explicitly warn it's workers that they are in danger of being laid off if the Republicans don't win on November 6.

      If so, that should really stir up a major political firestorm, since I can't imagine LM's unions being anything other than major pissed about such a blatantly political ploy disguised as a layoff notification.

      It's also dishonest, since the only barrier to beating back the sequestration is the Republican unwillingness to raise taxes to pay for preserving that defense spending.  But I'm sure that LM's unions will be more than happy to make that particular point.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 08:25:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, we'll see how much... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the economy in this country depends on the industrial side of the MIC.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:13:38 PM PDT

  •  here's my quibble and concern (0+ / 0-)

    I don't believe that sequestration will hurt weapons makers, but fear that they will instead turn to Soldiers, Sailors, et al, that they will turn to retirement benefits, that they will turn to pay, that they will turn to other benefits to make up most of that sequestration, but they wont turn to that extra sub the navy doesnt even want or other weapons systems.

  •  I like Ike (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, Eric Nelson
    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
    wikipedia
  •  Austerity is not what we need. They can pass (0+ / 0-)

    a law eliminating all the cuts, including the ones to the social safety net.

  •  nt (0+ / 0-)
    But the military-industrialists are not sitting around waiting for the ax to fall:

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:22:04 PM PDT

  •  corporate welfare . . . in all its gold-plated (0+ / 0-)

    glory.

    now it's time to play "threaten congress critters w/loss of their seats (read: money) if they don't go along w/what the defense mafia wants"

    and we have the balls to criticize other countries for their corruption . . .

  •  ...like a runaway down a steep grade... (0+ / 0-)
    Pentagon gravy train has been roaring along like a runaway down a steep grade
    runaway? ... Steep Grade???

    How about "Face planting in the Grand Canyon"

    That Giant Sucking Sound Is Wall Street Billionaires Drinking Your Blood.

    by olo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:29:02 PM PDT

  •  Dear military-industrialists: (0+ / 0-)

    Please lobby the republicans to raise taxes on the rich.

    Thanks,

    Not the rich

  •  Or, you know (0+ / 0-)
    According to DOD, sequestration will shut down virtually every major modernization program—from stealth fighters to intelligence satellites to ships the Navy has been waiting on for years.
    we could stop burning $1,000,000,000 bills in Afghanistan.
  •  And the downside for me is - exactly What ???????? (0+ / 0-)
    According to DOD, sequestration will shut down virtually every major modernization program—from stealth fighters to intelligence satellites to ships the Navy has been waiting on for years. These cuts will leave our aerial and naval fleet smaller and older than any we've fielded since World War II, and our military dependent on aircraft designed and in some cases built three, four, even five decades ago.
    Good !

    Let it be...
    Let it be...
    Let it be...
    oh,,, oh,,, oh,,,
    Let it be...

    That Giant Sucking Sound Is Wall Street Billionaires Drinking Your Blood.

    by olo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:45:15 PM PDT

  •  A reminder of how wise Eisenhower was... (4+ / 0-)

    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 in not spending money alone.

    It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

    The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

    It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

    It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

    It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

    We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.

    We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

    This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

    This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

    D. Eisenhower

  •  Outstanding as always. Thanks n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson
  •  Jobs? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexasTom

    I'm just wondering, but if we were to close down the Pentagon and the companies that support them, wouldn't we also be putting people, and I mean union people out of work?

    Doesn't sound like a good idea in a recession.

    My nephew lost his engineering job when Obama shut down the F-22 fighter jet. Hasn't found an engineering job since. In fact, he's mowing lawns now.

    Here's a gun. Now point it towards your foot, and pull the trigger.

    •  Of course... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      howd, Actbriniel

      ...the time to trim up the defense budget (or any other discretionary government spending) is when the economy is strong, not when it's weak.

      It's also sad to note that the Republican chorus of "government doesn't create jobs" seems to suddenly change when it comes to defense spending.  

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 08:29:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Government Created Jobs??? (0+ / 0-)

      Isn't that Socialism?  Isn't that suppose to be evil?

      Of course you are right that cutting government spending during a recession isn't a good idea.  And of course it wasn't a good idea these past years when school budgets were cut and union teachers lost their jobs.  Or when police budgets were cut and union policemen lost their jobs.  Or when ....

      Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

      by howd on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:43:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Making bombs is a waste, not a job. (0+ / 0-)

      It cost you and your braindead ditto head taxpayers a million $/year to field one combat soldier.
      That soldier's family is very likely on Food Stamps because the soldier is paid squat. When the soldier is discharged suffering from some PSHITD syndrome - you get to pay from your pony savingss.

      That million $ is not being paid to about 10 teachers, Rangers, Smoke jumpers & other useful workers that your heroes like Romney & Gov. Walker have tossed into a shitcan.

      That Giant Sucking Sound Is Wall Street Billionaires Drinking Your Blood.

      by olo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 10:34:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That $50 billion in defense spending will continue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chipoliwog, Actbriniel

    Off-budget.
    How’s that for predicting the obvious?

  •  It's just free speech. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howd, olo, Actbriniel

    Of course Northrup Grumman has the right to spend $20 million dollars to keep billions worth of contracts. I mean if you don't like it, why don't you go out and spend $20 million campaigning against it?

    God bless America.

    Now im gonna go eat a steak and have sex with my wife.

    Rumsfeld!!!

    •  Yeah If Corporations are Real People ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      olo

      ... who are just exercising their 1st Amendment rights, why aren't they treated like real people and fenced off in some "free speech" zone.

      Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

      by howd on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:46:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What we are planning for (0+ / 0-)

    So in my current job I do resource stuff and I can tell you that we are absolutely planning for sequestration.

    First off, anyone who thinks this will impact "troops" is sorta wrong.  Most "troops" are under contracts that are very expensive to terminate and wont generate the savings needed for 3-5 years.  What will happen is that recruiting and training will grind to a sudden halt.  Both are very expensive and can be restarted relatively quickly and cheaply.  

    Next, we will stop moving people.  A military move cost roughly $50,000.  In 2010 the Navy saved a bunch of money by simply delaying some moves and canceling others.  

    A big chunk of money will be saved by cutting the CIVILIAN workforce by 20%.  We have given our leaders two choices - first hired last fired or performance review.  Our goal is to have our bottom 20% identified by 1 October but the cut will happen no matter what.  

    Many of the contracts we would normally issue or renew in October for the entire year are being limited to 180 days.  We are getting our entire budget for planning purposes but being told we can only obligate 1/2 in October.  Once sequester becomes reality in January we will have 2 months to figure out what we cant live without and get the money for the rest of the year for them.  Everything else gets cut.  What we are planning on is losing 25% - half of the contracts will get funded for the whole year, half for 6 months.

    Big ticket items are a bit harder because it is often more expensive to drag them out/reduce the total than to cut it completely.  Sometimes the second order impacts are more expensive than keeping the item in place.  As an example, toward the end of the life for the old 2 1/2 ton truck, each one cost approximately $73,000 a year to maintain.  Units that replaced them realized huge savings even though replacements were expensive.  Having said that, the F-35 and Littoral Combat Ship will likely get sacrificed.

    Its easy to look at military spending and think its an easy target but dont forget that it is federal spending just like AFDC, Medicare and Social Security (at least the $$$ spent in the US).  One of the things I do is place Reserve and National Guard people on active duty for short periods of time.  In April I gave 10 folks who were unemployed good jobs with full medical benefits for 180 days.  The $390K that cost the taxpayers is estimated to have a $1 million economic impact to the local economy.  The second order impacts are even more - kids got preventive care, teeth got cleaned, retirement points were earned, etc.  

    I hope sequester does not happen.  But I hope the reason that it doesnt happen is that Democrats force tax increases on the wealthy.  DoD is already planning for deep cuts.  Deep but doable.  Deep but fair.  Deep but over a long enough time scale to maintain an effective force.  We will survive deeper cuts but it wont be pretty and there will be a period of extreme risk.  Lets hope Leader Reed can force a sane budget.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 08:50:04 PM PDT

    •  Ok yea as far as it goes and you were doing well (0+ / 0-)

      until You just made this part up:

      Its easy to look at military spending and think its an easy target but dont forget that it is federal spending just like AFDC, Medicare and Social Security (at least the $$$ spent in the US).
      These are not "just like" each other.
      They are four quite distinctive programs with different everything - including revenue sources... the attempt at a disclaimer in parenthesis is ineffective.

      Exasperating!

      That Giant Sucking Sound Is Wall Street Billionaires Drinking Your Blood.

      by olo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 11:01:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hard to illustrate (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe federal highway spending would have been a better example but remember that pay and allowances is one of the single largest portions of the DoD budget.  Its not just jobs but jobs that pay well and have excellent benefits.  It is certainly not the most efficient way to employ people and there is tons of waste and corporate welfare, but the positive impact on the economy is large and cuts will have the same negative impact that cuts to federal spending in other areas will.

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:53:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ah, mention of Defense Contractors (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    This old man

    Brings to mind their agent in the Senate, Joe Lieberman. I cannot stress how glad I am that he's retiring. Even outside of defense issues, this man single-handily killed public option in the Senate!

    Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

    by MrAnon on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 08:57:04 PM PDT

  •  What Damage? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    This old man

    At my 5X levels (where we only spend as much as the next five largest militaries--combined--which is about $400 billion a year and is enough for us to take on the next five largest countries in the world, which we're never going to do) we could cut and cut and cut at $50 a year for ten years and we'd still be spending too much.

  •  According to the Center on Budget & Policy.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..Priorities the republicans/MIC are exaggerating, and not by a little bit:
    A More Realistic Look at Sequestration - June 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    In a recent release, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) estimates that the automatic cuts (“sequestration”) in defense funding scheduled for next January could shrink that funding by 14.7 percent in 2013.  That figure, however, is based on several very questionable assumptions that essentially amount to a worst-case scenario.

    We agree with BPC on the dollar size of the scheduled defense cut:  almost $55 billion.  But, based on the law and what we regard as more reasonable assumptions, our estimate of the percentage cut is much smaller than BPC’s:  9.5 percent.  (Both percentage figures assume that the President exercises his discretion to exempt military personnel funding from cuts; without this exemption, we estimate a 7.5 percent defense cut.)

    Congress can simply raise war funding this fall above the President’s proposed level..
    Congress has this option because the Budget Control Act’s funding caps do not apply to war funding.  We think Congress is more likely to take this option than to enact legislation exempting war funding from sequestration and thereby making the rest of defense take a bigger hit.

    To be sure, cutting $55 billion from defense programs will hurt.  So will the required $16 billion cut in certain entitlement programs such as Medicare.  And so will the required $39 billion cut in non-defense discretionary programs — an area of the budget already hit in the past few years — which would constitute an 8.4 percent reduction in affected programs.

     A balanced deficit-reduction package would be far superior to sequestration, which is not a sound way to govern.

    But, when it comes to sequestration, we should take a realistic look at what it means, not one based on worst-case scenarios that won’t likely come to pass.
    So the loudest most powerful, richest lobbyists are crying out with more political then real reason, yet the millions of people who WILL be hurt won't be heard.

    What a mess to come. Hold strong Dems and zero negotiating with the republicans is my vote.
    Don't give an inch, the republicans always cry foul the loudest -give them nothing

     

  •  If not defense, what then? (0+ / 0-)

    OK, so we just eliminate defense spending.

    What do we spend all the money on? Food stamps for everyone?

    What?

    •  Food stamps for everyone? Good idea. (0+ / 0-)

      That Giant Sucking Sound Is Wall Street Billionaires Drinking Your Blood.

      by olo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 10:29:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Helloooooooo? Unreal (0+ / 0-)

      The two unfunded wars were just that: UNfunded. there was no money in the treasury just sitting there idle to pay for these wars. the cost was added to our massive bill, i.e. the deficit. and BTW the legacy cost (due to severe head injuries of many of our military personnel will be massive)

      Second, the notion we have some sort of surplus of money, sitting around with nothing to spend it on is ludicrous-- laughable.

      ever hear of the ASCE? the American Society of Civil Engineers?

      every few years, they study and rank our nation's infrastructure on an A to F scale (F being FAIL). right now we are at a "D"... nearly at total FAIL. sound good to you?

      The ASCE recommends we spend over $1 Trillion dollars on new infrastructure and infrastructure repair.

      one upside: hundreds of thousands of new jobs would be created.

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:29:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I"m gonna have to say this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole

    screw their jobs. What do most of these "defense" jobs produce? Let's keep building cold war relics that we're never going to use. Let's keep spending money on bombing children overseas. Let's pay people to dig holes and fill them back up (better than military spending as nobody gets hurt). The "defense" budget needs to be cut by 50%

    http://punkitechs.blogspot.com/ (Punk, Technology, politics-my blog)

    by greenpunx on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 11:52:34 PM PDT

  •  What ever happened to the (0+ / 0-)

     60 billion dollars the War Contract Commission said was stolen and/or wasted?  How much of those funds have been recovered?  Has any progress been made in recovering the 18 billion dollars of Iraqi money that was un frozen from their U.S. holdings when the war started, then sent to Iraq in the form of U.S, dollars on pallets and then disappeared?    

    •  Welfare for the Iraq Government (0+ / 0-)

      here's where the $6.6 Billion went:

      "The mystery of $6 billion that seemed to go missing in the early days of the Iraq war has been resolved, according to a new report," CNN national security producer Charles Keyes reported Wednesday. "New evidence shows most of that money, $6.6 billion, did not go astray in that chaotic period, but ended up where it was supposed to be, under the control of the Iraqi government, according to a report from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction or SIGIR."
      LOL... OK, and what did this money, OUR money, get used for by the Iraqi government??

      Not for the production of electricity.

      I was recently on a train.. sitting next to a federal worker involved in work going on in Basra-- we struck up a conversation. he stated Iraq still does not have 24/7 electricity.

      http://news.yahoo.com/...

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:38:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Military Is a Cancer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole

    All that money we spend on the military (and spies) is a cancer on our economy. It's not just "unproductive", it's counterproductive. The military produces products that are either sinks for $BILLIONS that are never used (nukes), or else if they're used they destroy everyhing. Or lesser versions: when they're used they merely destroy some things.

    The military creates very little that creates anything else. The nationbuilding that it does should be done by others, either an Engineers Corps and Peace Corps run by the State Department abroad and the Interior Department at home, or private contractors paid and under strict contract and US law governance. Instead even that worthwhile fraction of the military expenses runs amok, unaccountable, corrupt, producing mostly propaganda that fails to take the edge off the murdering juggernaut that owns it.

    The people the military "work with" are victims, targets, terrorized populations. The military people themselves are very low productivity, except occasionally in high "kill ratios" that just destroy economics and lives. The materials the military works with is mostly wasted, except occasionally some roads left behind and some secondhand/surplus crap that doesn't fit but which is what passes for "trickle down" economics at home and abroad. Even the vaunted tech investments are mostly a waste, diverting time and talent from truly productive inventions that would make many people's lives easier, instead of ruining or taking lives on a larger scale or in new places. As a "jobs program" it builds skills largely worthless elsewhere, pays very poorly, and presents some of the most lethal and demoralizing working conditions any American will face.

    If we spent $1.2 TRILLION of the $1.5T we give the military annually instead on research and education, we'd be a far safer and stronger country. NASA currently gets $20B a year, but could get $220B a year. Plus fifty million Americans could get $20,000 scholarships every year; since there are only 20 million college students now that would pay public schools to increase their enrolment by double, including new grad students, paying about the median American income for each student. The deficit (apart from Bush bailouts) is about $1.17T; investing that debt in education and research would make the country stronger for our money.

    Instead of desperately weaker. Our military (and intel) budgets have ruined us. They've robbed us for generations. They've been spent against us, and against far more than our enemies. These military expenses and adventures have created most of our enemies, from Iran to the Qaeda to the foreign Drug War foes like those we've set up to control Mexico through Peru. And since everyone knows it (except maybe our strictest rightwing authoritarians, who are an even worse national burden) our murderous, wasteful military has destroyed American confidence in ourself, in defending ourself.

    Sequestering $50B is only the very first right step. They're supposed to sequester $500B. They should sequester $1000B and more, every year. And spend it on actually defending our country, investing in our people. The military is our greatest enemy, and it's killing us.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 04:47:41 AM PDT

    •  We're Number One! We're Number One! (0+ / 0-)

      we're number one in production and sales of weapons around the world.

      Sweeeeeeeet, eh?

      Fast and Furious? another example of our addiction to weapons production.

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:21:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the last week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole

    I have been struck by the number of times the liberal position articulated here is at complete odds with the unions.

    First I read a very good diary about the decline of coal (sorry UMW) and now I read about the need to cut defense spending (sorry IAM).

    And liberals wonder why they don't carry the union vote more than they do.

    I would cut defense spending, and the decline in coal is a good thing.

    But we shouldn't pretend we really give much of a damn about what the unions are saying.

    Therein, I suggest, lies a significant problem.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:28:22 AM PDT

    •  Beengo! (0+ / 0-)
      And liberals wonder why they don't carry the union vote more than they do.
      Rahmbo (while working for Obama): "F*** the unions!"

      Hellooooooo?

      welcome to the "new" democratic party, not the same party we had in the 1960's-70's-80's... not the same party that handed down 60 federal indictments against crony, corrupt Reagan admininstration members.

      You can thank Bill Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Terry McAuliffe, etc., for moving the party wayyyy to the right prior to the 1996 election.

      Labor and minorities, the traditional base of the democratic party were thrown under the bus.

      It's been downhill ever since this happened. Clinton, Rubin, Summers, etc., are directly responsible for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which set the stage for the second great depression we're in the middle of now.

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:16:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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