It’s time for fiscal accountability in all parts of government, but particularly with military spending.
In fiscal year 2000, the Pentagon budget was $295 billion, the national debt was $5.62 trillion, and unemployment was 4 percent. In FY 2012, the Pentagon budget was $645 billion, and a deficit of $1.1 trillion contributed to a year-ending national debt of $16 trillion. Unemployment was 7.8 percent. Scary figures.
Set aside for a moment the fiscal cliff that’s abuzz in the media — the disastrous financial effects of the Bush tax cuts, the potential impact of the sequester, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Look closely at our military spending. It has more than doubled in 12 years and has contributed to our national debt and to increased unemployment.
Just as important, the money has been spent wastefully, with $102 billion in waste identified in just FY 2011. 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.
This is not a foreign policy problem, it is an accountability problem. As we approach the so-called fiscal cliff, we should insist that the military budget take its full share of cuts. Military spending is 57 percent of all discretionary spending. Let it absorb at least 57 percent of the total spending cuts.
We should insist that our senators vote to require that the Pentagon pass an audit, for the first time in history, to hold our military accountable for spending.
Ed Flaherty, President
Veterans for Peace Chapter 161