Bulging Military Budget

The equating of expected cuts to UCSB’s budget with the proposed $54 billion military spending hike is right on. Our military, which Trump calls “depleted,” accounts for 23 percent of all federal outlays. When one adds homeland security, veterans services, nuclear weapons, our wars, we reach $900 billion annually. We account for 34 percent of the world’s military spending — more than the next seven countries combined.

So , what do we get for this spending? We don’t know. Despite a 1992 law requiring annual audits of all federal agencies, the Department of Defense alone has not complied. It is said to be unauditable. Last December the Washington Post disclosed that the Pentagon buried an internal study showing $125 billion in bureaucratic waste. That exceeds the combined budgets for Education, Health and Human Services, HUD, and the EPA.

Who profits? Mostly corporations like Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics — which get 80-90 percent of their revenues from government contracts. What taxes do they pay? Well, in 2013 Boeing paid none.

What of the $1 trillion nuclear weapons project? Last week the U.S. led a boycott against the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty, a treaty supported by 123 countries. Might this relate to the 2015 mobilization of 718 lobbyists, to the tune of $67 million, to pressure Congress for increased weapons spending? One wonders if Eisenhower, when he warned of the industrial-military complex, imagined how extreme things might become.

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