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Welfare or Warfare: Keeping Defense Contractors Rich While America Crumbles

Republicans want to take the country back to the 1950s, and they want to cut taxes for the wealthy claiming it is good for the economy even though the Bush-era tax cuts have not created jobs or stimulated the economy.  Republicans also oppose cutting defense spending that drains the economy and takes valuable resources that could rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create jobs.

In the fifties, the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans was about ninety percent and it was a time of prosperity and building that we haven’t seen since…the fifties. There was a cold war going on and the military had just downsized sending hundreds of thousands of men back to the States who needed jobs and educational opportunities the tax revenue and building programs provided.

Tax revenue paid for roads, bridges, schools, and home ownership programs that citizens are still using and enjoying; until Republicans and Reagan put corporations in charge. Defense spending dollars go to manufacture products that are destroyed. A tank, a bomb, guns, and bullets are made to be destroyed. Smart bombs are about one million dollars each, and they are made to be destroyed while they kill innocent civilians and destroy other country’s infrastructures.

The money from excess or unnecessary defense spending would be nice to fix America’s infrastructure. Rebuilding America would put the country back to work, and suppliers and equipment manufacturers would employ thousands of workers who in turn would pay taxes. America would benefit greatly, and countries we destroy would remain intact without our imperialistic meddling.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost America approximately $3 Trillion so far and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. If history teaches us anything, it is that America will always have a presence in the Middle East just like we do in Germany, Japan, and countries that are our allies.

Military and defense spending is the biggest entitlement program in America, and it is a ridiculous waste of money. The American defense budget is more than the next 26 countries in the world combined, and it includes our allies. It is a travesty that Republicans do not support our troops after their service, but they happily support military contractors for the campaign contributions they receive in return for fat contracts.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, military contractors like Halliburton were given “no bid” contracts to rebuild the infrastructure that we destroyed. A suspicious person may think Bush and Cheney started the Iraq war to make work for Cheney’s company. It is a reasonable assumption because there was never a truthful reason given for going to war.

There is an invalid argument that we need military bases and troops in foreign countries to combat the Soviet threat, and that if we brought our troops home they wouldn’t have jobs. It is a half-baked argument because if we spent the money here at home that we are spending to maintain bases in our allies’ countries, every soldier would have a job and the economy would rebound quickly, and that doesn’t account for the tax revenue or manufacturing jobs that would be created.

Conservatives make it clear they will not cut defense spending or rebuild our crumbling infrastructure because it is not in their make-up. They believe America must have a military presence in every country on Earth even if it means our homeland goes to Hell and our people fall into abject poverty. Their goal is to enrich the wealthy corporations, and prevent prosperity to defeat Obama in 2012. They have broad support from racists and old people who fall for the American Exceptionalism meme.

America is not exceptional in the world’s view or in the physical state of our infrastructure. We have military bases in our allies’ countries and corporations are getting rich supplying men and equipment for wars started without provocation. There needs to be a change in the mindset of our government that puts America and its people first regardless of the corporate world’s desires.

Republicans decry entitlements for old, infirm, and disadvantaged citizens, but hand out entitlements to healthy military personnel to keep them busy instead of bringing them home to rebuild America. Conservatives believe it is more important to spend precious dollars on military hardware that is destroyed than to rebuild America and repair our damaged economy.

In one sense, it is an excellent idea to go back to the 1950s when the wealthy paid their share and the country built roads, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure improvements. However, Republicans only know how to spend money on bombs and bullets so defense contractors are profitable. It is an easy choice for true patriots, but for conservatives, patriot means killing and destroying valuable assets at the expense of Americans and our infrastructure. They have done it since Reagan was president and have never let up; and all the while, America crumbles while conservatives get richer.

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  • let's see now. You increase the defense spending and you lower the taxes. Exactly what got us into the position we are in now. With less revenue coming in, the plan is to cut anything that can be cut that pertains to the people of the United States. But what does that do? That takes purchasing power away from the people who, that's right, support the corporate masters of the Republican Party. With increasing defense spending, and as Sarah Palin and Lindsey Graham wants it, still involved in wars for our freedoms, you now have to support the countries you attack as we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our tax money. But is it our tax money or is it borrowed money? After all we don't have the revenues coming in because we dropped our taxes so where does the money come from?

    and this is just a microcosm of what the Republicans will put us into. As a former girlfriend of mine used to say, "freedom's just another word for having nothing left to lose". this country has repeatedly shown that the people are against war and yet we know that the defense of Israel is probably the highest priority of the Republicans. why I have no idea and quite frankly my dear I don't give a damn. If you're not happy with the direction of this country right now wait two years. What you're going to see is not going to be a pretty sight

    and now with South Korea and North Korea exchanging artillery you will hear repeated calls for us to go to action with a tired worn-out military

  • They strain at the gnat of domestic spending while they swallow the camel of huge defense spending. At the same time, they chant "tax cuts, tax cuts, and more
    tax cuts," as if that was the answer to everything. What's even sadder is that they have lemmings who buy their line about extending tax cuts for the rich while blocking legislation to prevent outsourcing of jobs along with blocking extension of unemployment benefits for the jobless. Those lemmings are the ones who enable them to do their dirt, because they reflexively vote for anyone with an R beside his or her name, no matter what kind of outlandish stupidity they spout. Some of them are already suffering, and they just voted in people who are sure to increase that misery.

  • "...even though the Bush-era tax cuts have not created jobs or stimulated the economy..."

    I don't understand how the left continues to get away with pushing this narrative. There is a legitimate debate to be had over any and all spending, but Bush's tax cuts did end a recession (albeit much less severe than the one we're in now) and did result in job growth and record revenue to the IRS.

    We're not in this recession because of tax cuts. We're here because of a housing and banking collapse and the debt the government (beginning with Bush) has taken on in an attempt to save things.

    As far as the "it's the wars man" argument goes... Yes, the wars cost money. But the cost of both theaters, from the beginning, until now is less than we've spent in the last 2 years on TARP and stimulus. I'm not trying to claim that war hasn't contributed to the debt, just illustrating how dramatically spending has ramped up under the final year of George Bush and into the Obama Administration.

    If you think the solution is to tax the rich, just ask David Patterson how the millionaires tax worked out for New York. President Clinton's surplus is something he should be commended for, but had he not raised taxes, they'd have been even greater and he'd not have left office amidst a recession.

  • That's a cold hard dose of truth speak. A suspicious person might think Bush went to war for money, not to mention revenge.

    I forget who said this, "Beware of the war machine". Well, we looks like we're not going that route...

  • If war is such a money making machine, look at the annual profit margine of the larger defense companies (BAE, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, ITT, Northrup Grumman, etc.). They all hover between 3 and 4%. I'm sorry but that's not an earth shattering amount. Additionally, the amount of waste generated by these defense contractors is ACTUALLY waste generated by the government workers managing thse programs.

    Typically, projects are managed by engineers who have been out of the game for decades, however they wave a mighty pen that writes checks. "Build me a car with a gun on it.", the car is built. "Wait, this car doesn't fly! Make it fly!", the car is retrofited, re-engineered at a cost to the defense contractor. "This flying car is trying to be a plane! Make it a plane!" The contractor then goes back and forth, requesting more money because the government wants/druthers have gone beyond the original contract...and good faith is running out. The plane is created. "Nice plane! What happened to that car we purchased from you nasty contractors?!"

    Sorry, but $$ on the contractor side is tracked to the dollar, and the work is tracked to 0.10 of every hour per person for the duration of the contract. The waste generated is on the government side, and profits made by THOSE RICH/GREEDY CONTRACTORS narrowly beats inflation by tenths of a percent. I'm sorry if you disagree, but I would expect someone to do research before posting speculative fiction.

    As for padding politicians pockets...AT&T, followed by other communications companies, banks, investment firms, oil companies, unions lead the way for lobbyist payouts.

    Finally, EVIL defense contractors are you neighbors, your friends, your family. They are dedicated engineers who take pride in their work and hope that their products (or their little piece of a project) works perfectly as THEY have neighbors, friends, family in the military, who they want to see come home.

    If YOU, the reader, the American, want fewer wars, police actions, skirmishes, etc. Demand more of the politicians you elect. We sure all a righteous bunch, seeing how our clothes are made by children who are indentured slaves, type on computers/phones made with tungsten mined from Africa by children and indentured slaves, and whom enjoy our nestle quick made from chocolate harvested by slaves... None of us are saints, but we we have the ability change ourselves, our government, our economy. Expect more from yourselves and DEMAND more from your politician.

    P.S. Before anyone goes there: no oil company to date has a single contract with any Iraqi business or government entity.

    • Not sure where you are getting your information, but if private defense contractors are claiming 3-4% profit margins, it's because some of their employees are incredibly overpaid. I have several friends posted in AFG on engineering (public defense) positions, who make a reasonable 80-120k/year salary (+ hazard pay). Their base co-workers from private-defense contractors, doing the exact same job, are taking home 350-400k/year salary, which doesn't include the contractor's overhead. They are literally on a 10 year, 4 million plan, with all expenses on said plan paid for. There's a reason we have backscatter imaging in every airport now, and private contractors are involved in more than a third of war-efforts right now. It's because powerful politicians have powerful influences for big spending decisions.

  • Oh, and everyone forgot that Obama just closed the largest foreign defense contract in US history. Additionally, he has more in common with Regan than he does with Carter. Our new healthcare simply makes it illegal for anyone who breathes to NOT have healthcare. And he launched the TARP bailouts that saved those naughty FAT CATS. How on earth is he socialist? He has more in common (through his actions since elected) with the right.

    I think someone said Palin. Well, this country re-elected a President that commited high treason (Ronald Regan) so I'm wondering if ANYONE really knows what party their a part of, and/or if it really even exists.

  • At least we've had some payback on the bailouts. There is no return on overkill and ruined foreign relations. It would be nice to have the estimated 3 trillion dollars spent in Iraq/Afghanistan returned. That, however, was the stated intent of the "New World Order" neocons: create such a huge debt that it would be easy to justify cutting social programs. So far, mission accomplished. There's a special place in hell for the fucking sick warmongers who never served in uniform, but who have profited from war. I'll gladly help them get there.

  • The big three federal expenditures are military, social security & medicare, and interest.

    If we cut out everything else, we couldn't balance the budget (assuming flat revenues).

  • This isn't about Republicans versus Democrats. It's politicians in general, just like SR and StevieB said. People are getting massive payouts. If the articles intention was to point this out, it focused too much on the Republicans and therefore became biased.

    I liked how this was broken down:

    It points out that party affiliation has nothing to do with an increase in income, that all political party members are receiving an overall increase in income, within both the US House and Senate. Politicians are the problem, not a specific party. After seeing the figures on what they make it almost makes you want to join them.

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