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Thursday, February 17, 2005

It's Not Butter ...It's Parkay Guns, Guns, Guns...

I just read this article by Don Monkerud and I'm angry. He breaks down the Bush Budget in Don't call it defense: America's militaristic budget:
With his budget for 2006, President Bush appears to be fulfilling the priorities of the American electorate by emphasizing the "defense" budget. Upon closer examination, the budget reveals a drift towards the creation of a nation devoted to the military.

News accounts proclaim the military and homeland security "fiscal winners" in the budget, but an even larger portion of tax dollars are being used for military purposes than government statistics and charts indicate.

To promote Bush's "war on terrorism," the budget boosts military operations in the Department of Defense (almost 5 percent), the Department of Homeland Security (7 percent), and the Justice Department (17 percent). The $419.3 billion Department of Defense budget is 41 per cent higher than the pre- Sept. 11, 2001 budget, and a whopping 73 percent above the 2000 budget. In comparison with other countries, these sums are already staggering.

Just how staggering? Our tax dollars are being spent to out spend the rest of the world combined on military spending. Read the whole piece to see the math. But this just jumps out.

Recall that Bush's expected $81 billion "supplement" for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan was added to the military budget, which at $500 billion is, in current dollars, almost 10 percent higher than at the height of the Cold War and 15 percent higher than during the Vietnam War. Other money in the budget devoted to military spending includes the cost for Defense/Civil programs ($44.5 billion); Homeland Security ($33.3 billion); and Veterans Affairs ($68.3 billion). This pushes the total military budget to $646 billion. Add $4 billion in foreign military financing from the Department of State and the total reaches $650 billion.

Other spending is hidden deeply in many departments such as Justice, Energy, and NASA. While it will require experts to reveal these hidden funds, the cost of the bonds to pay off past military spending needs to be included in the total cost of the U.S. military. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Robert Higgs calculates that debt-financed defense spending amounts to almost $139 billion, which brings the total amount that the U.S. spends on military projects in 2006 to $789 billion.

According to this pdf. from The World Bank, this is more than the total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the entire Middle East and North Africa in 2003. Furthermore, if this Budget Block were it's own country, let's call it Pentagonia, it would would rank 10th in world in terms of GDP - just between Canada and Mexico.

Here are the top 20 rankings from the latest GDP figures (2003)I could find
(listed in Million Dollars):
1 United States 10,881,609
2 Japan 4,326,444
3 Germany 2,400,655
4 United Kingdom 1,794,858
5 France 1,747,973 a
6 Italy 1,465,895
7 China 1,409,852
8 Spain 836,100
9 Canada 834,390
10 Mexico 626,080
11 Korea, Rep. 605,331
12 India 598,966
13 Australia 518,382
14 Netherlands 511,556
15 Brazil 492,338
16 Russian Federation 433,491
17 Switzerland 309,465
18 Belgium 302,217
19 Sweden 300,795
20 Austria 251,456

To wrap yourself around these figures let's turn to our new-found friend The Next Left where he notes:

Zeroes are important. A million seconds ago was last week. A billion seconds ago, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. A trillion seconds ago was 30,000 BC, and early humans were using stone tools.

So, at three quarters of a Trillion Dollars we are still in the stone age.

With all this largesse to arms dealers there is bound to be fraud and corruption. Are you suprised? I think war profiteering is a form of treason and should be investigated (hint to Democratic leaders). It is our money after all...