Defense Contractors Win – America You Lose (Again)

On December 12 the Liar in Chief, AKA Donald Trump, signed a $700 billion dollar military spending bill. And do not even bother asking if Walden voted for it. Of course he did. But remember we have a lot of military plants in the 2nd district of Oregon don’t we? No??? But they do have them in the wealthy districts that routinely donate to Walden. As if that would influence his vote. I call this a military spending bill rather than a “defense” bill because that is exactly what it is. A reward to the military contractors that contribute to the members of Congress and Senators, to keep them in office. This amount is $110 billion more than approved under Obama. It is so huge that even the armed services are going wait. What the hell are we going to do with all this stuff. The Navy is getting 13 new ships and 2 more carriers. They asked for 8 new ships. The Navy is getting 24 Super Hornet Fighters (at a cost of $71 million per). They asked for 14. They are getting 90 Joint Strike Fighters (at a cost of $95 million per). They asked for 70. And here is a little tidbit about Lockheed Martin’s impressive record on this program: The price tag for the F-35 program at $400 billion for 2,457 planes, is twice the initial estimate, three years behind schedule and some $200 billion over its original budget. Gosh darn good job. Lockheed’s CEO Marillyn Hewson, made $19.4 million last year. She has a base pay of $1.6 million, but by meeting annual and long-term goals, such as screwing over the American tax payers with a 100% cost over-run on the F-35 program, earned an additional $17.8 million. The Army gets 7,500 more troops, the Marines 1,000. the Air Force 4,100 and the Navy 4,000. Of course the most likely recruits are all currently hiding from ICE officers so it might be difficult hitting these numbers. (humor intended).

There is absolutely no reason for this level of spending beyond CEO pay and campaign donations. As I say on the campaign stump, China has “1” carrier and Russia has almost “1”, as it is reported to be in need of repair more than it actually works. And we will now have 13 carriers. Russia spends $70 billion annually and plans to reduce that figure. China spend $220 billion annually. Collectively we spend more than the next 11 countries combined.

Congress has no idea how to contain these expenditures within allowable spending levels without looking for reductions elsewhere. That large crack you just heard is the Medicare floor breaking. AARP are you awake? Ryan and McConnell have already floated the idea of cuts to Medicare in 2018 just to see how loudly the public reacts. And during all this discussion, Hawaii somehow sets off their missile warning system that requires two things to happen: 1) the military informs them of an impending strike and 2) the state agency responds by sounding the alarm. It is not like somebody accidentally sat on the alarm button or worse yet…..what does this button do???

As Dwight Eisenhower reminded us in 1961…..beware the military industrial complex…..they are a threat to democracy


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