The conventional wisdom is that the United States government is hopelessly divided — Republicans and Democrats can't reach a consensus on anything. That's not true. Year after year, whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge, virtually everyone comes together in support of massive increases in defense spending. This year is no exception.
Sad that we aren’t spending the money on the health and welfare of Americans. The term “welfare state” used properly to describe care of citizens should be a priority in the US. I’m talking good healthcare for all, access to healthy food, decent housing, feeling comfortable and safe where you live, good jobs, decent childcare, you know what most Americans say they want. Instead it’s a bunch of primarily old white men in Congress allocating taxpayer funds for war toys.
I appreciate your work! I would add that by federal statute the Pentagon is required to pass an audit every 10 years- IT HAS FAILED pass, and the findings keep getting buried! The one “look” at this absurd expenditure is swept under the rug. Compare a enlisted persons pay (armed forces make up less than 5% of spending) and the admin costs and none working equipment buying-we, American taxpayers are being fleeced
Eisenhower warned us about this — but because both sides are in on it, this seldom gets talked about [to the general public] on MSM.
God forbid that they would even think about keeping the public informed about how much waste we suffer without any voter input. But the military industrial complex keeps rolling along.
If this is only area where bipartisanship is happening, maybe we need to open a national dialogue and make sure everyone knows that.
Somehow, this must not continue.
Thank you, Judd, for doing the math on this and letting us know. It's outrageous! What can be done to bring sanity into the process?
How and why do we continue to waste money on defense when there are so many more pressing issues at hand? Republicans hate America and only care about guns and religion. They can never be allowed to regain power or they will destroy democracy for good
Thanks, Judd. This should be required reading for all Americans. I wouldn't get so twisted up if our "Defense" budget was spent on truly defensive things: climate change, environmental mitigation, mental health programs, preventive health care, etc.
We just had a fire in my town in Colorado, on Saturday, and the slurry planes had to fly in from Texas, hours away, before the fire could be fought effectively. Why were the planes in Texas? Because there were awful wildfires there recently and all the West's available firefighting planes were there. And many of the slurry planes are 50 years old! WTF? Building a modern, well-maintained fleet of planes that could be put in service defending our actual countryside - and our people and property - would cost a fraction of what it costs to build those idiotic F35 planes.
Defense shouldn't rely so heavily on being top gun. Better defense is creating more durable and efficient infrastructure, sustainable and ethically produced or procured energy, food, and water, having a well educated populous with adequate shelter, a robust health system, and many good friends and allies. The combined military of the US and its allies is not enough to deter a thug like Putin from going ballistic, we need to be more creative in dealing with aggression. You don't need a sledge hammer to drive a finish nail. We need to be listening to our most well informed minds to address the problems we have created - climate change, poverty, pollution, ..., not giving power to greed. We need to sell the idea that well-being and peace of mind is more valuable than a Kardashian lifestyle.
Seems as if Defense is the one area the pulse of The People has no bearing on. None. Not since WWII. Congress will chum together into the wee hours with lobbyists & The Pentagon to hash out defense spending and it’s always more more more while Americans go hungrier, without healthcare and more die alone because “safety nets” are “too expensive” to be concerned with. Oversight? Is there any? And how would we know? Besides the old Cold War model of democracy is so outdated. Battles may wage on the ground but wars will be won in the sky or online. These old coots in the Senate (I am 65 btw) are too rich & lazy to even think about a new Defense model much less implement one. They’d have to hoist themselves out of Northrup Grumman’s lap first.
I try very hard to be the opposite of cynical, but the timing of this all but assures the arguments against the defense budget will be overwhelmed by the current fears over Putin, and the timing also fuels support for the so-called billionaires’ tax as an offsetting measure.
And we keep hearing about "those 40 year old planes" when associating the war in Ukraine. Maybe we don't send them because they don't work. And per plane cost is astronomical.
Watched Top Gun last night. Glory Hallelujah.
Those big military contractors line a lot of pockets in Congress. I doubt anything will change on Defense spending. Perhaps a chart on their donations to politicians, Judd? Both sides of the aisle would be most interesting.
All of this money spent on a department for which a complete audit cannot be completed. If this was a company, its management would be fired and the company would no doubt go out of business. Before the defense department gets any more money, a complete independent financial and program audit should be performed. This audit could provide information on how the funds allocated would be used in a more effective manner. It could also review the revolving door system that no doubt leads to cost overruns, etc. It is very frustrating to see the defense budget continue to expand with no accountability. Such a system is open to fraud and waste. A truly disgusting waste of taxpayers' money.
This essay is right on the money, Judd. Why is peace so repugnant to the US? My father was in the defense industry, and I have struggled with this question all of my life. “Masters of War”, the Dylan track, could almost be our national anthem. If we were built to live forever, we would cave psychologically from the nastiness of our pessimism about the human condition.
We, as a country, are truly insane.
I used to do instructional design in the DC area. The amount of money DOD spends on consultants, (think big accounting and consultancy firms) reports, contractors is unreal! Swimming in cash as it were.
"there is an entire Congressional caucus dedicated to advocating for more spending on aircraft that, 20 years into its development, still doesn't work consistently"...this sums EVERYthing up nicely.
Your reporting is simply amazing. In one article, so many things I haven’t seen before. Thanks.