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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/3/10

Obama's Budget Calls for Billions in New Spending for Drones

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"The more we have used them, the more we have identified their potential in a broader and broader set of circumstances," Gates said.

Spending on the Predator and Reaper drones will jump from $877.5 million in 2010 to $1.4 billion next year.

The budget also says "a major goal of the administration is to provide the troops with the most effective and modern equipment possible."

"To accomplish this, the 2011 Budget continues to develop and procure many advanced weapons systems that support both today's wars and future conflicts," according to the budget. "These include: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new family of ground vehicles, new ships such as the next generation ballistic missile submarine, and the P-8 aircraft."

In a speech at West Point last year announcing his revised strategy for the Afghanistan, Obama said, "we can't simply afford to ignore the price of these wars."

But that's exactly what it appears the Obama administration has done.
Spending on the wars for the next two years is projected to hover around $159 billion, which is only slightly less than what the Bush administration spent during its last years in office. The proposed spending for 2011 is three times more than what Obama projected it to be a year ago and the soaring costs of juggling two wars has a major impact on new deficit numbers.

While Obama said in his State of the Union address last week that creating new jobs for Americans is now his "number one priority for 2010," the massive defense spending his budget proposes will actually do the opposite, according to Dean Baker, co-director for the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

In a report published on Truthout last November, Baker said, "defense spending means that the government is pulling away resources from the uses determined by the market and instead using them to buy weapons and supplies and to pay for soldiers and other military personnel. In standard economic models, defense spending is a direct drain on the economy, reducing efficiency, slowing growth and costing jobs."

"For some reason, no one has chosen to highlight the job loss associated with higher defense spending," Baker wrote at the time. "In fact, the job loss attributable to defense spending has probably never been mentioned in a single news story in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, or any other major media outlet. It is difficult to find a good explanation for this omission."

Baker would be just as disappointed reading the latest round of news reports on defense spending. Not a single mainstream media story discusses how defense spending increases will have on job growth.

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
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