“Christmas present”: U.S. senate votes $631 bn military budget
by Valentin Zorin
The US Senate has unanimously approved a $631 bn defense budget for 2013. The draft budget has evoked no objections from the White House. As he ran for president four years ago, Barack Obama promised to cut defense programs and put an end to the arms race which drained the US economy.
The Obama administration has failed to stabilize the economy.
The country’s state debt is growing at a fast rate. And judging by the newly approved 2013 budget, Washington has no intention of ending the arms race. At present, the US military expenditure exceeds combined military spending of all other countries.
Experts attribute the current difficulties experienced by the US economy to the fact that it cracked under the burden of military spending, which proved too heavy for it, if not outright intolerable. According to the US Treasury Department, the unprecedented $17 trillion debt will increase to $19 trillion in the foreseeable future and exceed 100% of the country’s current GDP. On top of that, Boston University Professor Laurence Kotlikoff has established that the US budget deficit is larger than that officially reported, amounting to a whopping $200 trillion.
Trillions of dollars of state debt that are ruining the American economy did not come out of nowhere. The war in Iraq which was unleashed by the Bush administration cost US taxpayers $3 trillion, another half a trillion dollars have been spent on the military operation in Afghanistan, also started by the Republican government. An end to this spending is nowhere in sight. The Republican majority in the US Congress is pushing for so-called “nuclear modernization” which envisages the creation of 80 new types of nuclear warheads. Even though Congressmen keep mum on the cost of the program, it’s clear that it will require billions of dollars.
It’s the fifth US administration that has set its mind on promoting a missile defense program, despite the failures and costs associated with it. In accordance with the most modest estimates, more than $2 trillion have already been invested in the program and hundreds of billions will still be needed to pursue it.
The hefty sums channeled for financing military programs lead to a further increase in the US state debt. Unlike abortive missile tests, they don’t dissolve in the boundless expanses of outer space but land on specific accounts of specific individuals. These individuals are Pentagon clients and are part of military-industrial concerns, or what President Eisenhower described as the “military-industrial complex”.
The military-industrial complex has turned the arms race into an endless source of profit for weapons manufacturers and dictates policies to those in power. All hopes and election pledges on the part of aspiring politicians drown in this striving for profit which gains the upper hand, defying people’s interests and the requirements of common sense.
Ordinary Americans have to pay for it. According to an official report of the US Census Bureau, 15% of the population live below the poverty line. The position of other people whose lives are far from easy as well is not disclosed.
The generous present – the 2013 military budget – is not for them.