Passage of Budget Bill Is NOT a Victory for the American People … Only for the Military-Industrial Complex

Preface: D.C. and the mainstream media are trumpeting the passage of a budget bill as a victory for bipartisanship and the American people. But the truth is very different.

Military Spending Is Destroying Our Economy

We’ve repeatedly documented that military waste and fraud are the core problems with the U.S. economy.

For example, we’ve noted that we wouldn’t be in a budget crisis in the first place if we hadn’t spent so much money on unnecessary wars … which are killing our economy.

But it goes far beyond actual fighting.  We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.

For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” and training for a “zombie apocalypse” instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn notes that the Department of Defense can reduce $67.9 billion over 10 years by eliminating the non-defense programs that have found their way into the budget for the Department of Defense.

BusinessWeek and Bloomberg point out that we could slash military spending without harming our national security. Indeed, we could slash boondoggles that even the generals don’t want.

BusinessWeek provides a list of cost-cutting measures which will not undermine national security. American Conservative does the same.

Moreover, we’ve shown that the military wastes and “loses” (cough) trillions of dollars.  See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

Reuters notes:

$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.

The People Want Peace, But D.C. Wants War

For the first time, a majority of Americans think that we should never have started the war in Afghanistan. As the Washington Post reports:

Americans express near-record discontent and regret over the 13-year war in Afghanistan, during which 2,289 U.S. troops have died and more than 19,000 have been wounded, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Fully 66 percent of Americans say the battle, which began with nearly unanimous support, has not been worth fighting


In a separate Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday, 57 percent of Americans said the United States did “the wrong thing” in going to war with Afghanistan, with mixed feelings toward keeping troops in the country past 2014.

The same is true in Iraq.

And the American people don’t want to go to war against Syria, Iran or anywhere else.

But D.C. politicians do a lot of fundraising from defense contractors and make a lot of money from inside trading related to military spending.

And war helps distract people from the economic mess that the politicians are largely responsible for (the old distraction trick.)

And so – as the L.A. Times, Mother Jones and Counterpunch report – Washington has just passed a budget which will strip away the so-called “sequester defense cuts”, and gear up for a new series of wars.

As usual, government policy will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer.

It will keep the bloated defense industry fat and happy … while making everyone else poorer, and gutting the civilian economy.

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  • Tonto

    Make no mistake about it, the country is preparing itself for a war the whole world is similarly preparing itself for. There is no choice about it. Were America to fail to prepare itself for this coming war, the world would disintegrate into utter barbarity, forever, if any human being is left alive to exhibit the hatred that is being generated.

    America is the least homogenous country on the face of the earth. Racial hatred is historically very strong the world over. Distinctions you and I would fail to even comprehend, are enough to cause a war of total genocide between ethnic groups so similar, as to be remarkable for their seeming homogeneity.

    This, is human nature, human nature made ever more dangerous due to the weapons science has provided everyone, the world over. This is human nature, which is as immutable as it is imminently predictable.

    • No, Tonto, only WE are spending like drunken sailors on military, NOT “the whole world”:

      Make no mistake about it, the country is preparing itself for a war the whole world is similarly preparing itself for.

      • Tonto

        No. You are wrong, Danny-boy. The graphic only shows military expenditures. The graphic does not show the YoY increases in expenditures. The U.S. since WWII has always spent more than the rest of the world combined on military expenditures. The U.S. also funds most of the world’s peacekeeping missions too. These expenditures go with the superpower territory.

        Through treaty agreement, the U.S. has pledged to militarily defend more than half the world. This cannot be accomplished on a shoestring budget.

        The rest of the world is increasingly militarizing, and preparing for world war. Make no mistake about it. Japan has recently increased its military spending exponentially. China has had a steadily increasing rate of military expenditure increases going back ten years. Middle Eastern countries are all increasing their expenditures in preparation for war. Indian and Pakistan are both spending, preparing for war. Even Australia is beefing up its military.

        War is coming. Prepare!

        Big Dan, I think you are probably the only drunken sailor in this lot.

        • Greebo

          Until now I was under the impression that Japan was an U.S. ally. Therefore I don’t understand why you are worried about her military.
          And I’ve heard that within NATO the U.S. are constantly complaining that the European allies don’t spend enough on their military. Especially Germany is repeatedly (but so far without success) urged by U.S. officials to raise her military budget to the agreed rate of 2% of the GDP (currently: 1,4%).

          • Tonto

            Think, Greebo. Isn’t there a specific reason Japan is increasing its
            military spending? Well, whether you know it or not, there is. And
            America has a treaty to help defend Japan. So, America could get drawn
            into a bigger war if Japan is attacked, right?

            Look at history. That’s what happened in both the previous two world
            wars. America was drawn into a bigger war by her allies. Our allies
            depend on the Americans to help defend them. America does not stand for
            international tyranny being inflicted upon its allies.

            Did anyone notice today, that given daily events in the Iraq War,
            America is clearly still not out of that war. The Iraq war has morphed into a drone and guerrilla war, car bombs, assassinations and drone strikes. None of these wars are
            ending as planned. Our foes are emboldened because America has not totally laid
            waste to the countries in which these wars are being fought.

            We could see a sudden escalation change things very rapidly in any one of numerous fronts. It’s often appealing to latch onto the peace-freak teat and suck. But it’s a defenseless position when the shooting starts in earnest.

        • Frankly, Tonto, you didn’t dispute my graph. You just “said stuff” with no citations. Maybe you’re thinking of YOURSELF (?) when you suggest people are drunk (?).

          • Tonto

            I disputed the pertinence of your graph, Danny. Your graph says, America spends a lot more on defense than the rest of the world. That has been true since just after the first years of World War II. Nothing has changed in that respect. American military might has helped keep the world out of greater conflicts than have existed anyway.

            What is pertinent in today’s world is that animosities are rising due to the ongoing depression-spawned currency wars, and other countries are INCREASING their military spending, enough so that it’s nothing less than prudent that the U.S. increase its military spending.

            So, Danny, why is it you’re considered big? I have always presumed it is because you’re a big Bozo sort of a fella, maybe shaped like a bowling pin. You must know what they say about tall people being somewhat dim-witted. It that the source of your chosen moniker?

    • jadan

      Thanks for the graph. Worth thousands of words. It demonstrates the abject failure of the US to provide leadership in the world.

      • Tonto

        The graph is woefully deficient. Where are the prison expenditures? Where is Homeland Security and NSA? Where is all the money that is spent on pumping out the economic propaganda? And the FED spend way more than is shown in the entire graph last year. This graph is worthless.

        This is one of the problems with the alternative media. They hand this shit out like it’s supposed to mean something, when in fact it was disinformation subterfuge when it was created by the OMB. The alternative media is the dupe of this sort of common subterfuge.

        Just because you saw it on WB, don’t believe it.

  • Zombies In The Military / Masturbating In Public

  • Robert Barsocchini

    I’m with William Blum: the USA should cut 90% of its imperial attack budget, to make it an actual defense budget.

    The USA spends more on violence than the rest of the world combined. One year of US military spending is equal to more than 30,000 dollars per hour for every hour since the birth of Jesus. For 2014, the US will be spending 1.2 million tax dollars PER MINUTE on violence, which is just a welfare program for the rich through violence contracts and plundering other countries.

    That’s step one. Step two is to break up the states into individual countries.

    How many countries has Switzerland invaded in the last 200 years? Zero. They instead invented the Red Cross.

    The USA has invaded 80. That’s why people attack the USA. The USA fu$%s people.

    Switzerland pissed off Hitler by protecting Jewish money, but Hitler wouldn’t invade Switzerland because they have a strong defense strategy: train and arm all citizens with weapons.

    And their suicide rate is way lower than the USA’s, Britain’s, Japan’s, and many others. Switzerland is around number 37 on the list of countries by suicide rate.

  • Diana

    Not passing a budget for 6 years benefited Americans either.

  • Ian56

    It is VERY easy to cut $1tn+ from annual Federal Spending Updated 12/16

    The easy solution to the Fiscal Cliff is to cut government waste and corporate largesse.

    Neither Party has any plans whatsoever to do that.

    It is VERY easy to see how to cut $1tn+ from ANNUAL Federal spending, just by cutting the WASTE – here’s how.


    $105bn a year currently spent on keeping 7,000 mercenaries in Iraq.

    $170bn a year spendt on building new and supplying existing foreign bases.

    $88bn for the Afghan war – get out now.

    End all the mercenary contracts.

    Cut the over $100bn a year of medicare fraud.

    Drastically cut the price of prescription drugs.

    Fine the big banks $200bn for their various frauds (one off).

    the tax breaks, dodges and subsidies to large Corporations that mean
    they pay next to nothing in Corporation tax – $200bn a year of extra

    Stop the $200bn a year of Corporate Pork.

    Stop the phoney war on drugs, save $200bn a year and cut the levels of crime and corruption and the number of hard drug addicts.

    End all Corporate Welfare.

    End all foreign “aid”.


    Cut $500bn from military spending from the current $1,219bn in 2012.

    By :-

    Cut the $105bn p.a. budget for keeping 7,000 mercenaries in Iraq (Pentagon budget).

    ALL of the current mercenary contracts. They cost about 5 times as much
    as using US troops. They are a political tool and folly in order to
    hide US military involvement and spending.

    the size of the worlds largest embassy in Baghdad – swap for smaller
    premises with someone else in the green zone and rent the rest out.

    back the 138,000 military that are currently stationed in Germany,
    Japan, South Korea, Italy & UK. Let them pay for their own defense.

    Update 12/11 Drastically cut the $170 bn spent every year on building and supplying foreign military bases

    Stop buying reaper and predator drones at $36m a pop – they are counter productive.

    Stop spending money on hellfire missiles that serve only to recruit more
    jihadists and radicalize the local and general Middle East populations
    because of the extremely high number of innocent civilians killed.

    Stop the $1.45 TRILLLION development of the next generation of stealth aircraft.

    The US hasn’t had a plane shot down since the 1st Gulf War.

    STOP the development of the next generation ballistic missile
    submarines. A new contract for the next stage was just signed for $1.8

    Current estimates to just build the boats in 2021 are $56bn. Likely total costs $200bn and up.

    Cut the size of the NSA and DHS, they are not cost effective.

    A new $2bn datacenter is being built in Utah to store EVERY email sent in America.

    The budgets of NSA and DHS have been massively increased over the last few years.

    The new datacenter is estimated to require $40 million worth of electricity every year

    $10’s of billions of taxpayer money are being spent on software each
    year to collect and decrypt financial transactions of EVERY American
    citizen. Even for people that have committed no crime, no criminal
    investigation is underway and no search warrant is required.

    Withdraw immediately from Afghanistan – saving $88bn on current war costs.

    Update 11/25 The latest examples of Pentagon waste.

    Did Jesus die for Klingon’s too?

    Update 12/29 Obama now plans to send troops into as many as 35 African countries in 2013.

    Cut the $100bn+ medicare fraud.

    Cut the price of FDA drugs or go generic earlier.

    Pure pharmaceutical greed – How Big Pharma is ripping off Americans

    the big banks for the mortgage, Libor, money laundering and other
    frauds they have committed that should bring in over $200bn (one off).

    Stop the phoney war on drugs and save $200bn p.a. and have a MASSIVE reduction in crime and corruption.

    12/14 Proving the so called war on drugs is a joke. HSBC has just
    settled for a slap on the wrist fine of $1.9bn (equivalent to 5 weeks of
    revenues) for massive Mexican drug money laundering. No execs are to be
    criminally charged.

    Read more:-

  • Ian56

    Congress is treating the American People as if they were a bunch of jerks, cuts Veterans pensions while keeping $1tn of government waste

    The budget deal cuts the COLA adjustment to Veteran’s pensions by 1% a year.

    This saves a trivial $600m a year from the $3.5tn budget.

    Congress also cut Medicaid funding by $22bn to part pay $60bn of reinstated Corporate pork and waste.

    Examples of things that SHOULD of been cut instead of Veterans pensions and Medicare funding :-

    The offshore tax allowance to the big banks – $9.6bn a year

    Blackwater type mercenaries employed instead of US troops – $10’s of billions a year wasted

    The $50bn+ a year spent on private contractors for intelligence.

    Companies like Booz Allen should not handle sensitive and secret data.

    The NSA Mass Surveillance programs should be completely defunded, they
    are a complete waste of money and haven’t stopped a single terrorist

    Reverse the governments protectionist measures that allow large
    pharmaceutical companies to charge at least double the price in America
    for their drugs compared to other Western countries.

    Half the drugs companies are foreign owned. How does protecting foreign companies help America?

    Savings – $50bn a year from Medicare/Medicaid.

    Stop building new massive military bases in Italy and Africa.

    Bring home the over 100,000 troops that are currently stationed in Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and Italy.

    Let them pay for their own Defense – WE CANNOT AFFORD TO.

    Drastically cut the $170bn a year being spent on building and supplying
    over 900 military bases in over 130 countries around the world.

    The new F-35 stealth plane project which John McCain rightly called a
    pile of junk and upon which Congress plans to spend $12.7bn a year for
    the next 24 years.

    It should be cancelled.

    Cut the $50bn a year of subsidies to big oil.

    Cut the $36bn+ a year of so called “foreign aid”.

    Stop the tax loophole, using reinsurance, that allows hedge fund managers to pay zero taxes for ever.

    Stop the tax loophole that allows multinationals to divert US generated
    profits to offshore tax havens in order to pay almost zero Corporation

    Saving about $200bn a year.

    Stop having Pentagon conferences about Klingons.

    Did you know that the Pentagon spends $24bn a year just on gasoline?

    It is the largest producer of CO2 in the entire world.

    Fine the big banks $200bn for their numerous frauds.

    LIBOR fixing, money laundering, robosigning, other mortgage fraud,
    insider trading, outright theft, lying to Congress etc. etc. etc.

    Get OUT of Iraq.

    I mean really get out, not pay for 7,000 mercenaries to be stationed there.

    Get OUT of Afghanistan.

    The government is negotiating a deal to stay for another TEN years – which will cost hundreds of billions.

    There are numerous other examples of Corporate Pork and government waste detailed in here.

    They add up to well over $1tn a year.

    I am sure there are other examples of Corporate Pork and government waste that I haven’t identified yet.

    Congress should set up a committee to examine every single penny of government spending and cut some more waste.

    Congress should STOP WASTING $1tn+ of OUR MONEY EVERY YEAR and reinstate the Veteran’s pensions and Medicare funding.

    They should STOP treating the AMERICAN PEOPLE as if they were a bunch of jerks.

    The budget deal that SHOULD be on the table to get bottom up spending going again.

    The ecoomy will NEVER recover unless disposable incomes of ordinary people start rising again.

    With current policies disposable incomes are falling off a cliff.

    You have to be well into the top 0.1% with income of well over $1m a
    year to have benefited from government and Federal Reserve policies over
    the last 10 years.

    Contrary to media reports, the employment situation in America is NOT improving

  • Ian56

    The budget deal that SHOULD be on the table to get bottom up spending going again.

    The ecoomy will NEVER recover unless disposable incomes of ordinary people start rising again.

    With current policies disposable incomes are falling off a cliff.

    The disastrous Fiscal Cliff backroom deal cooked up by Obama, Reid, McConnell and Boehner that led to this debt crisis

    The Fiscal Cliff “deal” cooked up behind closed doors by Barack Obama,
    Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner has led directly to this
    latest debt crisis.

    As per this latest crisis it was a last minute deal and supposedly a game of brinkmanship between the two parties.

    This “deal” was an absolute and utter disaster for the economy and the American people.

    It was presented to Congress with insufficient time before the vote for Congressmen to even be able to read it.

    The Fiscal Cliff deal handed the middle class and below a massive $200bn
    a year tax hike, while keeping all of the over $1.3tn a year of
    Corporate Welfare.

    The Fiscal Cliff bill itself was stuffed full of over $60bn in new or extended forms of Corporate Welfare.

    E.G. the extension of the subsidies for offshore loans by the big banks, worth $9.6bn a year.

    It is not surprising that if you raise taxes on the middle class by
    $200bn a year in a struggling economy, the economy will continue to

    Which is what we have seen throughout 2013, with extremely poor jobs creation and a faltering economy.

    Fiscal Cliff Deal. Why Goldman Sachs Won and America Lost.

    Fiscal Cliff deal – a financial analysis. Obama’s Corporate sell out. Tax hikes on the rich are a myth.

    I advocated during the Fiscal Cliff negotiations that all of the over
    $1.3tn of annual Corporate Welfare should be cut and that this money
    should be used to massively cut taxes on middle earners and below, in
    order to generate a massive boost to the economy.

    I advocate an initial CUT of personal taxes of $600bn a year.

    This would be done by :-

    Raising the income tax thresh hold from $8,500 to $45,000 a year, costing $500bn.

    Reversing the payroll tax hike, costing $108bn a year.

    Government policy (by both parties) is massively skewed towards
    multinationals and large Corporations and against small and medium sized
    businesses in all sorts of ways.

    We now have the situation where large Corporations pay almost nothing in
    Corporation taxes, while small and medium sized businesses are paying
    about 30% (after taking their tax breaks from the official 35% rate).

    I advocate that a level playing field be set up.

    All companies, irrespective of size, should pay the same rate of Corporation Tax.

    There should be no special tax breaks or loopholes whatsoever.

    Reducing the Corporation Tax rate from 35% to 25%, while removing all loopholes, would be revenue neutral.

    I then advocate that the first $100,000 of profits be made tax free, as Singapore does.

    This will provide a boost to small and medium businesses, it will cost about $100bn a year.

    Unlike America today, Singapore is wealthy and has a thriving small business environment.

    The question then remains of what to do with the rest of the over $600bn a year just saved.

    It can be used for a mixture of :-

    further tax cuts on the lower paid and small businesses

    deficit reduction

    a relatively small amount could be used for small infrastructure projects – like repairing bridges

    These measures of tax cuts for the lower paid and for small businesses,
    taken together, would get bottom up spending and recruitment going

    It is small and medium sized businesses that are the major job creators in the economy – not large Corporations.

    Large Corporations frequently outsource jobs abroad, so why is the government unfairly subsidizing them?

    It is bottom up spending that will get the economy going again.

    The middle class and the poor spend their money in America.

    Extra money given to the rich frequently goes to offshore investments or
    tax shelters, or is used to buy foreign made luxury goods like yachts,
    cars or upmarket jewelry and clothes.

    The over $1.3tn a year of Corporate Welfare and blatant government waste that should immediately be cut.

    Some other major things also need to be tackled now.

    E.G. to break up the big banks in the financial sector and to break up
    the other cartels that now operate in each major industry.

    Obamacare should also be completely scrapped, it is going to cost
    800,000 American jobs, wreck the economy and wipe out the middle class.

    Obamacare is the worst possible system yet devised for broadening Healthcare coverage.

    There are many much better ways of improving Healthcare.

    America has also recently seen a dramatic reduction in new business
    start ups and the average number of people employed in those start ups.

    In order to create the thriving businesses of the future, this situation needs to be reversed – and fast.

    Part of the reason is the skewed tax structure and government subsidies which give unfair advantage to Large Corporations.

    The other major reason is the massive number of petty rules and
    regulations that make it so difficult and costly for someone to start
    their own business.

    The government added over 40,000 new regulations in 2012.

    The government needs to start CUTTING 40,000 regulations a year and make it much easier for new businesses to start up.

    Current policies are strangling America’s future growth.

    Second Stage

    The second stage of fixing America’s economy and to stop the current
    increasing impoverishment of all but the very rich is to cut a further
    $500bn of annual government waste.

    Unlike stage 1, this would mean significant cuts to the numbers of
    Federal employees and government contractors, so it needs to be done
    after we have started turning America’s economy around and these people
    can get jobs in the now growing private sector.

    Third Stage

    The third stage of fixing America’s financial position is to tackle the
    current enormous unfunded liabilities and the massive growth in future
    welfare payments (and some further reductions in government waste).

    Large numbers of baby boomers are now reaching retirement age which will continue for another 20 years.

    Social Security and Medicare payments are both budgetted by the CBO to increase by $400bn a year by 2020 ($800bn total).

    Current unfunded liabilities are between $80tn and $220tn (depending how far you look into the future).

    This can be fixed.

    Medicare can start to be fixed by reducing the massive overcharging for
    prescription drugs by the large drug companies. $50bn a year can be
    saved now and it will be more in the future.

    It also needs to be fixed by reducing the massive over prescription and fraud – currently another $100bn a year.

    Social Security needs to be fixed by gradually raising the retirement age.

    It is a simple fact of life that people now live longer than they did in the 1930’s.

    The situation of unfunded liabilities has got so out of hand that the
    retirement age will have to be raised to 70+ over the next several

    Other more minor fixes will also be needed.

    How Rome went bust and how the US is following EXACTLY the same path

    Chained CPI

    Barack Obama has proposed that Social Security, Medicare, unemployment,
    disability and other benefits should be linked to chained cpi, which
    will render them worthless in 10 or 20 years time.

    This is exactly the wrong thing to do.

    The Republicans (Paul Ryan plan) have their own policies to try and
    tackle the massively rising cost of benefit payments due to the steep
    increase in the number of people of 65 plus.

    As usual the policies of the current Republican leaders are directly opposite to those required for America’s future prosperity.

    The current policies of both the Republican and Democrat leaderships are
    purely designed to help the top 0.1% at the expense of the rest.

    Even the top 0.1% are going to suffer eventually.

    How are American Corporations going to make any money when everybody except the top 1% is flat broke and in debt?

  • gozounlimited

    It’s A Wonderful Lie — 100 Years of the Federal Reserve Bank