Help Wanted: Legal counsel. A chance to volunteer. DownsizeDC.org, Inc. needs specialist advice, and seeks a second opinion, in the area of unrelated business taxable income. Be assured, the questions are focused, and this is a one-time need. If you're interested, please explain how you can help in an email to HelpWanted at DownsizeDC dot org
Quote of the Day: "Indeed, trimming back The Pentagon budget should form a natural basis of partnership between limited-government tea partiers and left-wing Democrats." - Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial
The debt ceiling debate is the hot political news, and we will have more to say about it in the coming weeks.
But you may not have heard that last week, the House passed a pork-filled $649 billion "Defense" spending bill.
I put "Defense" in quotes because much of that budget is NOT about national defense. While I know that there are many honorable people serving our country in the military, months of research have convinced me that the world's largest procurement system, The Pentagon, is really about graft and a commitment to perpetual war.
The evidence is too overwhelming to cite comprehensively in this brief message. But I'm not alone in my opinion.
* Many, most famously Dwight Eisenhower, have referred to the Military-Industrial Complex.
* Political scientist Fred Cook labeled this modern paradigm the Warfare State -- a precise term, clinically described in this brief abstract.
* Recently, Pentagon reformers, including veterans, several of whom worked in the belly of the beast for decades, came together to publish a candid and unflattering guide on how The Pentagon actually works
One reason I oppose raising the debt ceiling is that this will force Congress to make serious, deep cuts to bloated, unnecessary programs. The Pentagon is the poster child for such programs.
And we shouldn't permit members of Congress to make The Pentagon a sacred cow, when so many cuts are needed.
You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .
When I saw that the House passed a $649 billion Defense spending bill, I became EVEN MORE convinced that Congress should REFUSE to raise the debt ceiling.
This bill costs some $6,000 per family, and it doesn't even include all Defense-related funding. Estimates have the entire so-called "national security" spending at $1-1.2 trillion, which ups the "per family" cost to $10-12 thousand dollars! http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175361/tomgram3A_chris_hellman,_$1.2_trillion_for_national_security/
Americans pay more than FIVE TIMES what our NATO counterparts or the Russians pay for defense, and more than 10 times what the Chinese have to pay. See Figure 3 in this CATO Institute paper: http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/37785170
What are we getting for our money?
* Wealthy countries in Europe and the Pacific Rim spend much less on defense, because we provide defense for them
* Which means WE are subsidizing THEIR lavish social welfare systems while ours are going bankrupt
Meanwhile, the War on Terror led to...
* Invasions and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan that may cost us $4.4 trillion by the time they're through http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/58002.html
* More foreign civilian casualties from U.S. bombings in several countries, leading to...
* The creation of more anti-American terrorists from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia
All of this happened despite the fact that our most SUCCESSFUL anti-Al Qaeda operations were the result of relatively low-cost intelligence and special force operations. It's almost as if we'd prefer to spend the money on bombs, rather than results.
We're engaged in at least six combat zones. Meanwhile...
* Citizens in most other countries pay MUCH less for defense
* They're NOT seeing their children and spouses off to war
* And they do NOT live in perpetual fear of terrorism
And we'll never know the true cost of Pentagon spending, because we don't know how the money would otherwise have been spent...
* What if the money spent on weapons and waste had been invested in the economy, developing new products and innovations that enhance our quality of life?
* What if a less-aggressive foreign policy led to Americans being liked and respected across the world, instead of hated?
I don't want the nation to go further into debt to pay for this Warfare State. Michael Tanner points out that if the debt limit stays where it is, we can... http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=13339
* pay the troops
* send out Social Security checks and Medicare payments
* service the debt
But, there will have to be a 44% cut in federal spending. That would bring federal spending back to 2002 levels. I WELCOME that opportunity to cut federal spending, including The Pentagon's spending...
* End the wars and bring the troops home from some 100 foreign countries
* Let wealthy nations like Japan and Germany provide for their own defense
* Target unnecessary programs and wasteful spending for elimination (there's plenty to choose from)
I believe Americans would be MORE SECURE and more prosperous with a smaller, leaner military committed to national defense rather than to policing the world.
Do NOT raise the debt ceiling. Instead, reduce the size of government. That includes The Pentagon. ESPECIALLY The Pentagon.
Did you know how much you're paying for "Defense," in comparison to people in the rest of the world? Do you think your friends would want to know this information? Then I encourage you to forward this email to them.
For those who object to some aspect of today's message...
When it comes to defense, lives are at stake -- including the lives of those in the various services. We have reached a point where we can ask, about The Pentagon, "Are they building weapons for combat or profit?" Before you object too strenuously, we encourage you to read the links provided in today's Dispatch. You'll get quite an education.