This video from the USA is called Meet the 0.01 Percent: War Profiteers.
By Dina Rasor, Truthout in the USA:
Three Ploys the Department of Defense Uses When Their Budget Is at Risk
Thursday, 19 July 2012 10:42
I have been at this for too long. Since I first started looking at the Department of Defense (DoD) and its budget in 1979, I have seen the Pentagon, its largest contractors and its fellow travelers in the Congress predict economic crash and the end of the world as we know it when faced with large or even small budget cuts. With the possibility of the DoD cutting near $500 billion in ten years with the new budget, and near $500 billion in nine years if Congressional “sequestration” happens by the end of this year, the Pentagon is swooning and predicting doom. However, even with the sequestration cuts, the Pentagon would be going back to 2006 levels, where George Bush and Dick Cheney were fighting two wars and threatening other parts of the world while buying giant overrun weapons like the F-22 and the F-35. After all these years monitoring and exposing fraud and waste in the DoD, I am used to promises of doom whenever the DoD bureaucracy does not get exactly what it wants. However, with the unlikely sequestration cuts looming, the Pentagon and its contractors are acting apocalyptic.
Solutions – Making Government Work
Last year, after the so-called Super Committee created by Congress was unable to come up with a bipartisan compromise on cutting the government and raising revenues, the Congress decided to come up with a poison pill blend of cuts that would force both sides, Democrats and Republicans, to come up with a solution or face unpleasant cuts. Called sequestration, this exercise would have around $500 billion taken from social programs and around $500 billion taken from defense, unless the Congress could be scared into a compromise. Few thought that either side of Congress would let this happen because the cuts would be from favorite programs on each side. Most of Washington really doesn’t think it is going to happen, but the DoD and the contractors are raising a stink and making dire threats if it does materialize.
As soon as Leon Panetta became secretary of defense, he made it clear that he would not accept these levels of cuts in the DoD and go back to dangerous 2006 levels. I wasn’t surprised at this because of all the pressure by the entrenched DoD bureaucracy that will not accept any cuts, but I was surprised when, earlier this year, President Obama startled Panetta and the DoD by claiming that he would not get rid of the defense side of the cuts. Despite the hysteria by the DoD and its contractors, the Congressional Budget Office showed that even this level of cuts is not unreasonable for the DoD to absorb:
Defense spending cuts slated to take effect automatically in January if the two parties cannot agree on a more balanced budget would still leave the Defense Department with more funding than it received six years ago, according to a report Wednesday from the Congressional Budget Office.
It projects that the so-called sequestration of military and other funds, ordered by a law enacted last year, would cut the Pentagon’s requested FY 2013 budget of $526 billion to $469 billion, an amount it said was still “larger than it was in 2006 (in 2013 dollars) and larger than the average base budget during the 1980s.”
Sequestration would cut spending for the Pentagon by about $1 trillion over the next decade. The pending cut has prompted panic from Defense Secretary Panetta, who said it would cause “an unacceptable risk in future combat operations.” Lawmakers such as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-California) have said they want to block any cuts to defense spending – whether through sequestration or through President Barack Obama’s plan to keep the defense budget mostly level over the next ten years.
Gordon Adams, a former Office of Management and Budget associate director for national security and international affairs under President Bill Clinton who is now at the Stimson Center, a nonprofit think tank, said he doubts sequestration will happen at all but that “the fact is Defense would not really suffer under those automatic cuts. 2006 was a very healthy level for defense spending.”
Tell that to the defense drama queens in the Congress and the DoD. On Tuesday this week, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who at one time actually cut some defense spending when he was secretary of defense but also ironically said that deficits don’t matter, came up to Capitol Hill to brief the Republicans on how it would be catastrophic to allow the cuts. Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contactor, has threatened to send out termination notices to its employees right before Election Day to scare the Democrats back into line. On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee, chaired by McKeon, had its defense contractors, including Lockheed, affirm to the committee the deadly consequences of cutting any defense money. There was a lot of partisan bickering with the Democrats claiming that the defense contractor CEOs only cared about their piece of the pie and were not looking out for the long-term view to help the country. You might remember my column on how McKeon’s wife was running for California state legislator and Lockheed and other defense contractors contributed money for her election effort, while, as I was told, never expecting to receive any quid pro quo from Chairman McKeon.
Even though most in Washington think that there will be a compromise before this sequestration will happen, the DoD has fallen back on three ruses that they always use when their budget is threatened; jobs will be lost and greatly affect the economy, our soldiers will not get the best weapons in the world and our enemies will take advantage of our weaknesses and kill us.
The jobs threat is usually the first threat that they use in bad economic times. Lockheed and the DoD have predicted that a million jobs will be killed over the ten years of these cuts and could plunge us back into the recession. I heard this a lot during the Reagan recession when the DoD budget was rocketing up. The DoD threatened this last fall when there was talk of budget cuts and suggested that DoD spending should be increased to stimulate the economy. I wrote a Solutions column in September 2011 on how that was a bad idea, especially since the DoD budget had doubled since the attack on the World Trade Center.
Lockheed and other companies continue to make threats on jobs and affect the election by sending out pink slips right before the election. These companies claim that they have to send out these pink slips right before the election according to the law – a charge that has been called bogus and a scare tactic. This could affect the election because areas with high defense jobs could be thrown to vote for the Republican candidates. This is especially true in Northern Virginia, especially the defense-job-laden Fairfax county, which is seen as crucial to winning the state.
The next threat, that any budget cuts could hurt our troops, is being played out by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) with the help of New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. In the past, the DoD has spent billions on boondoggle weapons while shorting troops on things that they really need, especially during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as I laid out in my book, “Betraying Our Troops.” Troops in Iraq had to bolt on any metal they could find on their Humvees to protect themselves from IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), while some of their senior officers spent the war in Saddam’s luxurious palaces and the Pentagon wasted billions of dollars on harebrained schemes to stop IEDs.
Military Industry Descends on Capitol Hill to Fight for Their Perceived Right to Profit: here.
Unlike Mitt Romney, Most Americans Want to Cut US Military Spending: here.
Mitt Romney Avoided Major Tax Hit By Shifting Stock Of Offshoring Firm: here.
Romney scandal worse than it seems: here.
Foreign income kept flowing into Romney’s accounts well after he left Bain: here.
Dina Rasor and Jason Leopold, Truthout: “How is it possible that, for two decades now, Mitt Romney has successfully avoided revealing any details about his vast wealth, has been able to manipulate and stash wealth overseas with no public accountability, has not been held to account for his complete lack of transparency, has painted himself as a creator of thousands of jobs even though the public record shows business decisions he presided over resulted in the loss of jobs because of mass wealth being scooped out of the assets of these same companies?” Here.
Mr. Romney thinks we should give big oil companies another $3.8 billion a year in tax breaks: here.
Conservative newspaper calls for Romney to release more tax returns: here.
Romney Campaign’s Race-Baiting Strategy Could Have Dire Consequences for America: AlterNet: here.
Mitt Romney, in his first trip abroad as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, is trying to walk back comments he made questioning London’s Olympics preparation — comments that have drawn a sharp response from Prime Minister David Cameron: here.
Tel Aviv professor calls Romney’s remarks at his fundraiser in Israel “anti-Semitic”: here.
McCain defends Palin pick against Cheney, says Cheney was wrong on torture too: here.
Harry Reid: Romney ‘Didn’t Pay Any Taxes For 10 Years’: here.
Half Of American Households Hold 1 Percent Of Wealth: here.