It’s hard to overstate the cost — in dollars and security — of our many wars. What do the candidates say? Despite hopes to the contrary, the Pentagon’s new, $740 billion-plus budget will waste scarce tax dollars while making America less safe. With the presidential primaries accelerating, it’s time for the candidates to address this urgent issue.
The southern border region is a place of hope and opportunity, where more than 15 million people live in peace and harmony with our southern neighbors, and work hard to provide for our families, just like countless communities across the country. But our states have been subjected to decades of deadly border policies that have torn apart the very fabric of our communities. As leaders of environmental and human rights groups based in the southern border states, we are calling on Congress to reject the profit-driven, dangerous push for endless border militarization.
Use-It Or Lose-It: DoD Dropped $4.6 Million On Crab And Lobster, And $9,000 On A Chair In Last-Minute Spending Spree
The federal government found a way to spend $97 billion in a single month last year, of which more than $61 billion can be attributed to the Pentagon. It’s not a new phenomenon. In the last month of every fiscal year, federal agencies work to spend all that’s left in their annual budgets. If they don’t, the agencies worry they’ll be appropriated a smaller share by Congress next year, hence the "use-it or lose-it" spending sprees. Rather than spend money on frivolous items, federal agencies like the Defense Department should admit their offices can be run on less, according to Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of OpenTheBooks.
THE HEALTH CARE DEBATES that occurred in Washington over the past year were largely irrelevant to what’s happening in the health care marketplace. Republicans couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act but they made some changes that weakened it. Those changes will increase insurance premiums in the individual market but they do nothing to address the most significant trends that are evolving across the system. To understand the important trends, one must look elsewhere. In March, three researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health published a study in JAMA analyzing the well-known reality that the United States spends dramatically more on health care than other wealthy countries. They compared the US, where health care consumes 17.8 per cent of gross domestic product, to 10 comparable nations where the mean expenditure is 11.5 percent.
By William D. Hartung for Toms Dispatch - Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department's already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.” If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget -- hundreds of billions of dollars -- really goes. Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about. The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised. Too often the result isweapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford. If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start. The numbers are staggering. In fiscal year 2016, the Pentagon issued $304 billionin contract awards to corporations -- nearly half of the department’s $600 billion-plus budget for that year. And keep in mind that not all contractors are created equal.
By Claudia Assis for Maeket Watch - Raytheon referred questions around costs to the U.S. Navy’s unmanned aviation and strike weapons program, which did not immediately return a request for comment. The missiles used on Thursday likely cost the U.S. military around $1 million, but the latest versions of the missile that would replace those could be more costly, depending on size of the order and other factors, said Loren Thompson, a consultant and chief operating officer of nonprofit Lexington Institute. President Donald Trump indicated the possibility of a policy shift on Syria during a press conference on Wednesday, after a chemical attack left dozens of Syrian citizens dead. Where may Mr. Trump be heading? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.
By Bruce K. Gagnon for Organizing Notes. The Aegis 9 were arrested at 10:00 am this morning in a snow storm at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine during a 'christening' of another destroyer outfitted with so-called 'missile defense' systems. The group blocked the ceremony entry gate and were charged with Trespass on BIW property - which ironically is ultimately paid for by taxpayer dollars. BIW is owned by General Dynamics. These warships are currently being deployed by the Pentagon to help encircle Russia and China as the US moves to put in place global first-strike attack capability. Amazingly BIW decided to still hold the event out-of-doors even though there was a wet driving snow coming down. Reports from the inside of the shipyard were that many of the chairs at the ceremony were empty - except for the snow on them. The protest called for the conversion of BIW to build commuter rail systems, solar, wind turbines and tidal power systems.
By Joseph Gerson for Global Campaign On Military Spending - Trump and Congressional Republicans are preparing to eliminate any restraints in the Pentagon’s budget, while also reducing spending for essential social services, from housing and medical care to environmental protection to education. Projected cuts in social services could be as hight as $10.5 trillion over the coming decade. Even without the proposed increases in military spending, the Pentagon’s budget equals the combined total of the world’s next eight largest military spenders. Add to this the “Overseas Contingency Operation” funding for the military interventions from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen, Department of Energy spending for nuclear weapons, and the black budget for “intelligence”
By Alex Emmons for The Intercept - THE U.S. GOVERNMENT already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia. On Monday, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it’s more than 80 percent of Russia’s entire military budget in 2015. If Congress were to follow Trump’s blueprint, the U.S. military budget could account for nearly 40 percent of global military spending next year. The U.S. would be outspending Russia by a margin of greater than 9 to 1. At a meeting of U.S. governors on Monday, Trump described his forthcoming budget proposal as “a public safety and national security budget.”
By Ken Otterbourg for Yes! Magazine - His frustration could have ended there, but it didn’t. Through a friend, he heard about a process called participatory budgeting, which Greensboro’s city government was using for the first time this year. It allowed city residents, rather than elected representatives, to directly decide how to spend a portion of city funds. The result: The Greensboro Transit Authority is installing software that will allow passengers to track bus movements and better plan their days. “I was really happy,” said Black, who this year is starting a master’s program in information technology at North Carolina A&T State University.
By Dave Johnson for Campaign for America's Future - When you hear people saying that “even the IMF” is recommending economic actions that might help regular people, that’s a sign that something big is going down. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is known as a neoliberal organization that pushes privatization of public goods, austerity, cutbacks in public services, free trade, deregulation and other economic policies that generally favor elites over democracy. But earlier this month the IMF looked at what is happening to the world economy as a result of neoliberal economic policie and said, “Oh my God, what have we done?”
By Staff of United for Peace and Justice - People across the globe are organizing local actions to decry current priorities that spend $1.75 trillion/year on arms when our planet is in crisis. On April 5, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute will release its annual report on world military expenditures. April 15 is U.S. Tax Day. This year, April 5 – 18, have been designated as Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS), days to campaign against military spending and to promote spending on to life-affirming, sustainable social programs.