Our bloated military

09/08/2016

In an era of increasing austerity, the one untouchable federal budget expense, besides congressional salaries and benefits, is the United States military budget. Given the homogenization of the two major political parties, it doesn’t matter who holds the purse strings. Discretionary-spending increases for the military are sacrosanct. Elected representatives who want greater fiscal accountability are traitorous weaklings.

The prevailing doctrine is that we need a strong military to maintain security for the homeland. But where is the proof that our military policies have made us safer? What are we paying for? 

The Government Accounting Office regularly reports that trillions of military dollars are unaccounted for. That’s trillions in public money that has simply gone missing. Trillions of dollars that could be diverted for civilian programs that actually benefit Americans, rather than create extremism and environmental destruction in the countries where Americans are deployed. 

Contractor price-gouging made the news for a while, but nothing changed. And given the rubberstamping of military budgets, there is little incentive for the military to cut unsuccessful programs, such as the $1.5 trillion F-35 fighter, a warplane that delivers lower performance than existing 40-year-old fighters, but is too big a project to fail.

Perhaps it’s time to protest our government’s knee-jerk willingness to spend unlimited amounts of money on the military.