We’re not broke: the real ‘entitlements’ include military spending, unnecessary surveillance

April 17, 2012
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According to GOPers, America is so broke that we have to implement austerity measures, the same ones that are literally killing people in Europe. Suicide rates are up due to the severity of the measures. But how broke are we that our government asks us to simply look the other way while people are dying? We can’t just skim through the deficit/budget numbers – the real ‘entitlements’ are afforded recklessly and needlessly to the military, domestic and foreign, as well as surveillance systems for monitoring American citizens. An estimated $1.738 trillion was spent worldwide on militaries last year — an enormous chunk of that is attributed to the United States — almost as much as the entire world’s expenditures combined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, more needed revenue could have been obtained but Senate Republicans on Monday blocked President Barack Obama’s “Buffett Rule” legislation. Instead, these same Republicans find it best to eliminate or slash ‘entitlements’ for the poor, while leaving the rich to get richer without appropriate taxation.

An example of a real entitlement:

Leon E. Panetta said Monday that he regretted that his frequent flights home to California on a military jet have cost taxpayers more than $800,000 since July.

By the way, Leon, JetBlue is dirt cheap.

More examples via military, whose budget is supposed to be used to raising and maintaining an armed forces. To say that the United States leads in military expenditures is an understatement – but after a very slight drop in spending, others have followed the lead:

The slight drop in the United States, the biggest military spender worldwide, helped break a 13-year trend of surging spending on armies around the world, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a new report. Global military spending was basically flat in 2011, growing only 0.3%.

Obviously as a leading Global power, America needs a strong military — but overkill (see what I did there?) is not necessary. U.S. troops are now in 130 different nations.

The America Dream reports:

#1 Today the U.S. military has over 700 bases (some say it is actually over 1000 bases) in 130 different countries around the globe.  It is estimated that it costs about $100 billion a year to maintain these bases.

#2 The U.S. military budget for 2010 was $693 billion.

#3 However, when you throw in all “off budget” items and other categories of “defense” spending not covered in the Pentagon budget you get a grand total of somewhere between $1.01 and $1.35 trillion spent on national defense in 2010.

#4 The truth is that U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

#5 Total U.S. military spending makes up approximately 44 percent of all the military spending on the entire globe.

#6 The Pentagon currently gobbles up 56 percent of all discretionary spending by the federal government.

#7 Together, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost more than $150 billion a year.

#8 Up to this point, it is estimated that the U.S. government has spent over 373 billion dollars on the war in Afghanistan.

#9 Up to this point, it is estimated the the U.S. government has spent over 745 billion dollars on the war in Iraq.

#10 Since 2001, the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan breaks down to $3,644 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

#11 The total price tag for each F-22 fighter jet is approximately $350 million.

#12 The Sustainable Defense Task Force has produced a report which shows that the U.S. could easily slash a trillion dollars from the defense budget over the next ten years.

(my bold)

The New York Police Department, alone houses a stand-alone counter-terrorism and intelligence operation that costs taxpayers more than $100 million a year and employs 1,000 officers – and without any significant oversight. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg refuses to acknowledge the importance of a living wage for New Yorkers. While it’s commendable that the Mayor is keeping New York safe, much of what he’s done was unnecessary and intrusive. 40% of the Muslim community have given tips to the police to cease terrorism, but Bloomberg has utilized tax dollars to spy on their community, showing a lack of trust to the very people that aided in stopping said crimes. Some of that same money was used to spy on Muslim children in elementary schools.

Salon reports:

In such a world, deadly gadgetry is just a grant request away, so why shouldn’t the 14,000 at-risk souls in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, have a closed-circuit-digital-camera-and-monitor system (cost: $180,000, courtesy of the Homeland Security Department) identical to the one up and running in New York’s Times Square?

So much money has gone into armoring and arming local law-enforcement since 9/11 that the federal government could have rebuilt post-Katrina New Orleans five times over and had enough money left in the kitty to provide job training and housing for every one of the record 41,000-plus homeless people in New York City. It could have added in the growing population of 15,000 homeless in Philadelphia, my hometown, and still have had money to spare. Add disintegrating Detroit, Newark, and Camden to the list. Throw in some crumbling bridges and roads, too.

As the middle class disintegrates, Republicans want more cuts. I concur. Let’s cut the bull. By bull I mean, Corporate loopholes, military spending and the unwarranted surveillance of Americans.

The Street reports, “Western wages have plummeted so low that a two-income family is now (on average) 15% poorer than a one-income family of 40 years ago.” (my bold)

To hell with hard working Americans, let’s just call them the recipients of ‘entitlement’ programs, while the military polices the world, whilst America uses costly surveillance on its own citizens.

Image: Moveon.org via Ole Olson on Google+.

 

 

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  • Bluestocking

    Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that it’s going to be very difficult if not impossible to rid ourselves of the Military Industrial Complex because of one simple fact — it enables a number of people to make a lot of money, which means they’ll almost certainly fight tooth and nail to defend it. One of the reasons why the Department of Defense budget is so big — and why they’re paying prices that are at least two or three times higher (if not ten times higher) than the goods are really worth, such as $100 for a single hammer — is because of all the military subcontractors (and subcontractors to subcontractors, and subcontractors to subcontractors to subcontractors, etc.) in the supply chain, each of which expects to carve off a portion of the proceeds for themselves. Unfortunately, if we attempt to eliminate all of them or even some of them, we should expect the owners of those companies to raise a hue-and-cry to the Congresscritters in their districts with the protest that this will “ELIMINATE JOBS!!!” (first and foremost, of course, their own).

    Sadly, there are really only two possible ways in which we might eliminate or at least scale back the Military Industrial Complex (the fact that nature abhors a vacuum means we must choose something to take its place…because if we don’t, the choice will be made for us and it might be one we don’t want). One is to bring back the draft, which would be problematic because it is quite likely that we would simply see a recurrence of the problems which contributed to the elimination of the draft in the first place — namely, children of privilege using deferments and family influence in order to either avoid serving or to obtain a relatively safe post where they do not have to worry about risking life and limb. (No, it has not escaped me that resorting to a volunteer force hasn’t really changed this any.) Bringing back the draft is probably not an effective option unless ironclad rules are put into place which make it extremely difficult for the children of privilege to avoid service or avoid facing the same dangers as everyone else. The other option would be to do what they do in many other countries…require a period of mandatory military (or for conscientious objectors, civil) service of every citizen or permanent resident once he or she reaches the age of 18. In addition to providing the military with more personnel so that civilian contractors are no longer necessary — hence reducing costs — this could potentially provide an additional benefit by fostering a greater sense of maturity, responsibility, and community spirit in young adults. There are those who credit the successes of the 1950′s to the fact that many young people of the “Greatest Generation” either volunteered or were called up to serve in WWII at a relatively young age (and many of whom used the GI Bill in order to pursue college education which they might not have been able to afford on their own).

  • fernturn001

    They’ll eliminate food stamps entirely before they cut one dollar from the $1 trillion dollar per year war porn machine.

    And both Mittens and Dr. Death from Above can’t wait to feed the beast even more of our money.

    It’s too bad there aren’t enough terrorists. If there were it would have taken a lot longer for this terror war nonsense to be waged on US citizens. DHS is paying General Dynamics $10 millioon I think to troll the web for “negative” stories and comments about DHS/NSA/FBI/CIA/DoD/SOCOM/G4S/etc etc…

    Besides…if anyone actually tried to reduce military/homeland absurdity/surveillance state spending they would instantly become an “enemy belligerent” to be stripped of citizenship, tortured and or “nuetralized/liquidated” based on the reccommendation of the secret kill list committee.

    We traded liberty for “security” and we deserve neither. Please save us from the scary brown men Daddy.

  • Jerry Critter

    Yes! Let austerity start with the Defense Department.

  • http://twitter.com/BetNot Bet Not

    Here is your waste and fraud Issa…

  • http://twitter.com/BetNot Bet Not

    Here is your waste and fraud Issa…

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