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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Defense Spending is Back Door Economic Stimulus

http://tpzoo.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/defense-spending-reaganbush-i-vs-clinton-vs-bush-ii/ (comment from Joe in Bangor at end of this blog*)

Defense spending has been declining, until it started accelerating out of control under President Bush 43:
  • $453 billion – the average annual defense budget for the nine years before Clinton took office.
  • $377 billion – the average annual defense budget during Clinton’s time in office, a 16.7% decrease.
  • $496 billion – the average annual defense budget during Bush’s time in office, a whopping 31% increase not even including the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are largely funded through supplementals not included in the official defense budget.
When Medicaid, Social Security, Food Stamps or Medicare are negatively  labeled entitlements, the connotation given to general assistance indicate these expenses aren't good for the economy.  

But, through twisted communications, defense spending subtly passes under the cliche "radar". Defense spending is often allocated, for political purposes, as economic stimulus expenses in strategic Congressional districts or where key Senate votes are located.

Defense contracts were declining during the Clinton Administration, as the blogger link above documents.  Now, Republicans want to grow defense spending, because extending lucrative contracts to rich corporations will bring wealth to business colleagues. Paying for defense expenses seems justified for Republican hawks, while cutting programs that help the middle class are expendable.  This makes no economic sense.

Social Security and Medicare are supposed to be paid for by the beneficiaries during their working years.  Moreover, Medicare should be sustainable through adjusted premium payments by beneficiaries and oversight of utilization.

Medicaid is a humanitarian program for people who experience serious and persistent mental illness or developmental disabilities.  


Food stamps provide many individuals and families with nutritional security as well as provides farmers with a reliable revenue stream.  


Social Security keeps senior citizens out of poverty.  Medicare provides health insurance for people over 65 years old and, by extension, supports jobs for health care workers who care for the elderly.


Defense spending creates generous margins for private contractors who build enormous profits from  manufacturing equipment and replacement parts for extremely expensive military equipment.


In other words, defense spending is a back door economic stimulus.  Call if what it is.


Rather than grow the defense budget, a better use of these expenditures would be investment in America's highways, bridges, high speed rail and more fuel efficient automobiles.  


Americans are being misled by Republicans who want to slash spending for middle class, elderly and poverty programs while calling for more defense spending which will support growth margins for big corporations.


*Comment from Joe in Bangor:This is one of the very best articles you have ever written...actually when you count all the "defense budget items"  it is over a TRILLION A YEAR ..FAR EXCEEDING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE SEPARATELY... JUST GOOGLE IT ...

BEST.

CONGRATS.

jOE


























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