Our representatives in Washington, D.C., are in a tussle over how to address the nation’s debt, with some, mostly Republicans, insisting that the solution lies in cutting “entitlement” programs. I agree, though it’s certainly not Social Security that should be cut. Entitlement in the case of Social Security means “earned.” The entitlement program that needs cutting and controls is our military spending.The Pentagon budget itself, which by no means includes all of military-related spending, is over $600 billion per year, consuming 57 percent of all US government discretionary spending. U.S. military spending has doubled in the last decade, and is larger that the combined military budgets of the next 19 largest-spending countries. In FY 2011, $102 billion of Pentagon spending was found to be wasted. Just that waste is larger than the combined budgets of the Departments of State, Interior, Commerce, Justice and Energy. And, according to the Pentagon itself, in the last decade the Pentagon awarded $1.1 trillion in contracts to contractors who have engaged in fraud. The Pentagon has never passed an audit, in contrast to every other federal agency. The CEOs of the largest five defense contractors average more than $21 million in annual compensation.
Cutting and controlling our military spending is one of the keys to getting out of our fiscal hole. (A miniscule portion of the savings should be devoted to a Department of Peace). If we do not control our military spending, we will be entitled to debt, unemployment and war.