‘What we’ve been talking about here is a money party’

Good Huffington Post piece about how the defense industry is closing ranks to lobby against defense cuts. Apparently they’d much rather see cuts to Social Security and Medicare, but hey, who wouldn’t?

Significant budget cuts would undoubtedly require the Pentagon to dramatically reassess how it currently spends its money. But some critics say that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

The Pentagon has embarked on an unsustainable path of increased spending, with less and less to show for it, Wheeler said. And the primary culprit is new, expensive hardware.

“It’s not just that new hardware is more expensive, it’s that the new hardware is so expensive that we cannot afford to replace the inventory,” he said. “When you replace 600 $60 million dollar F-15s with 188 $400 million per-copy F-22s, you both shrink the force and you add to its costs,” he said.

The Pentagon has also dramatically increased its personnel costs — “not just on combat pay and enlistment and retention bonuses,” Wheeler said, but “on all sorts of political constituencies that were knocking on doors on Capitol Hill.”

“What we’ve been talking about here is a money party,” he said.

“Costs are always growing faster than budgets, and that creates a perpetual crisis,” said Chuck Spinney, a former military analyst for the Pentagon who criticized the budget process even when he was there. “And a budget crisis is good for business,” he said. “It creates extortionary pressure.”

But Spinney said legislators should resist any such pressure. For decades now, he pointed out, the Pentagon has been unable to audit its books and fully account for how it spends its money. Without that kind of information, Spinney said, “for Panetta to say this is going to cause a crisis is horse shit.”

4 thoughts on “‘What we’ve been talking about here is a money party’

  1. The empire is coming to an end. The need for over a million US troops to be deployed on over 100 overseas bases no longer exists. Why do we need 13 thousand people to be assigned to our embassy in Iraq? Why do we need 6 permanant military bases in Afghanistan? The party will be over for the military industrial complex as soon as we cut the Pentagon budget by 50%…….from $900 billion per year to $450 billion per year. That should be done immediately to save us the $4 trillion dollars Omaba and his Republican friends claim that we need to cut from spending over the next 10 years .

  2. When Medicare required increases in budget to meet rising costs, the teabaggers and their forerunners in Congress would scream bloody murder and wring their hands and claim it was unsustainable to keep providing health care to senior citizens. When the defense department would come back every year and look for budget increases, those same people never said a word, they just endorsed the blank check and then went to their golf games with the defense industry lobbyists. (“Congressman, could you use a couple dozen ProV1s and a nice fat check for your re-election campaign? I have that right here. Now watch this drive.”)

    Our government is run by bribery. There are members of Congress now charging their constituents to get into townhall meetings.

    They are crooked as the day is long and any member of Congress who meets with a lobbyists ought to be jailed. The only influence on their decisions should be their constituents.

  3. We build a $20 million airplane to deliver a bomb that costs $10,000, and fly it 1,000 miles on fuel that costs $500/gallon. On the other side they use a stolen pick-up truck to deliver a bomb that cost $200, park it by the side of the road and wait for us to come 6,000 miles across the world to get blown up by it.

    The difference in cost? Because they are fighting courageously at home for their own country. Our politicians are cowards who feel so ashamed and guilty about their imperialist war that they will pay billions of dollars to keep the public from rising up in anger over the deaths of our soldiers.

    Who is going to win on these terms?

  4. “for Panetta to say this is going to cause a crisis is horse shit.”

    More to the point, Panetta is a lying sack of horse shit. He was during the Clinton administration – he is now.

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