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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/18/13

Monumental Government Waste: The National Security Budget, The Root Cause Of The National Deficit

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Michael Payne
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Here we go again; one more crisis involving a government shutdown and a narrowly escaped debt ceiling catastrophe has been averted or, to be more explicit, the problem has been kicked down the road a few months. But the next big dog fight in Congress over the national deficit of nearly $17 trillion looms on the horizon; and then we'll face the next crisis and the next and it will never stop.

The real solution to this national deficit problem, the clear root cause of this never-ending problem is sitting right before the eyes of these politicians and this president; they are fully aware of this bloated, obscene budget and the detrimental effect that it is having on this country but, yet, they pretend they can't see it, and look for other lesser solutions that won't come even close to solving the crux of the problem.

There is no question that America must maintain a strong military and national defense against any and all potential enemies. The safety and security of the American people is the foremost responsibility of the U.S. government. But in doing so it must not allow the military-security establishment to overspend to the point that it inflicts a great amount of damage upon the financial stability of this nation; we can't afford overkill, we can't afford a military empire but, unfortunately, that's exactly what's been happening and it's time to bring this festering situation under control.

The amount of taxpayer dollars being consumed by the military-security entities totals over $1.2 trillion annually and this completely dwarfs any other areas of governmental spending. This article indicates that the individual elements of this budget total $1.2 trillion; this similar article shows a total of $931 billion because it doesn't include the costs of interest on the debt. Each clearly depicts a situation that is spinning out of control. Forget about the base defense budget of something like $600 billion, that's the barebones, base budget that is only the tip of this giant iceberg.

The U.S. completely dominates the world's military expenditures coming in at 48% of the total while Russia's is at 5% and China's is a whopping 8%. The U.S. has troops garrisoned in the following countries: Germany 46,000,   Italy 11,000,   Japan 53,000, Korea   29,000,   Guam 6,000 and the U.K. 9,000 The balance of the approximate 175,000 U.S. troops overseas are deployed in the balance of the world's 163 countries. Now if anyone wants to argue that this does not represent a world military empire then they are more than welcome to try.

Let's take a look at some of the areas that contribute to the most military spending. The U.S. has 11 carrier strike groups and a total of 68 various kinds of aircraft carriers while America's most prominent "enemies", Russia and China, have 7 and 1 respectively. How's that for an overkill that contributes mega-billions to the national deficit?  

Lockheed Martin's F35 fighter jet being developed for the Defense Department has been in the works for over a decade. The program has been beset by administrative problems, huge cost overruns and serious technical problems. It's generally acknowledged to be one of the biggest boondoggles in American history. Estimates put the current cost of developing, testing and building the F-35 multi-role fighter jet at $396 billion, a forecast that assumes U.S. purchases of 2,443 production jets, on top of 14 test planes.

This is a program that many experts say is a complete failure and should be ended immediately. But this just happens to be a defense project that is simply to big to kill because it involves 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs. In other words, while it's a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars, it can't be terminated because of the people it employs and the profits that Lockheed Martin continues to rake in. This is pure madness but who's going to stop it?

How many more unconscionable, unjustifiable wars such as Vietnam and Iraq must be fought before this madness is ended? Should we once again spend hundreds of billions of dollars in fighting a war against guerillas in Afghanistan by using hundreds of thousands of troops and then leaving with nothing of any kind accomplished, leaving billions of dollars worth of military equipment behind? How many more incursions into Libya, Somalia, Panama, Grenada and numerous other countries must we make? When is enough enough?

America no longer wants to manufacture products such as electronics, appliances, clothing and apparel and other consumer needs so it has subcontracted that job to China and now that nation will greatly benefit by employing millions more workers, earn more profits, boost their economy and accelerate the process by which China will become the next economic superpower, replacing America. No, America wants to, instead, concentrate on producing the weaponry of war that wreaks havoc, devastation and destruction across the world. That's how America fuels its engines of war to produce greater and greater corporate profitability.

If you picked the fastest way for this country to go bankrupt there is no better way to do it than continuing to shovel hundreds of billions and trillions of $ into the furnaces of war that are never shut down. Corporate America feasts on this agenda of perpetual war and empire building; its appetite is insatiable, it thirsts for more and more war.

Now how about the overblown Homeland Security budget that totals about $72 billion annually? Many Americans are beginning to understand that this agency is progressing any number of initiatives that seem to be based on that agency's belief that, as America experiences more and more economic and societal problems, it could see the buildup of serious internal strife that could lead to anarchy or some kind of societal eruption; and so they are making appropriate preparations for just that eventuality.

Based on explicit accounts of DHS actions in purchasing 1.6 billion rounds of high-powered ammunition and its acquisition of an undisclosed number of heavily armored personnel carriers (MRAP's, Marine Mine Resistant Protected) that are being returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and other weaponry, it would appear that the agency is hard at work setting up means of protection against the people of America rather than foreign terrorists.

The indentured politicians that now inhabit the Washington D.C. cesspool, those that report directly to the masters of Corporatism, know; the president knows, and a great many of the American people know that something must be done and done soon to curtail the massive, never-ending expenditures for the military and security establishment in this country or it will break the American National Bank. It's no great secret; it could not be more evident. But no matter, it goes on and on and on with no end in sight.

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