Did you know that President Barack Obama’s budget contains a Pentagon budget consuming nearly half of discretionary spending?
The budget does some good things: increasing taxes on corporations and the super wealthy, and reversing a several-year trend of cuts on key programs for the poor.
Yet, the budget continues to hide the true cost of wars and Pentagon largesse. While the president claims a little over $500 billion for the base budget of the Pentagon — a staggering number in its own right — it leaves out billions of dollars connected to war. Including the slush fund called the Overseas Contingency Operations, where the current wars and other items are funded off the books and programs such as nuclear weapons, veterans affairs, retirement accounts and interest on the debt, the cost of current and past wars balloons to more than $1 trillion!
This outrageous and irresponsible spending needs to be curtailed. Why is the U.S. spending more than $20 billion a year on nuclear weapons when the Cold War is long over? Why speed up and increase the number of F-35 planes — the most expensive weapon in the world — when cost overruns and quality continues to plague the program? Why keep over 1,000 expensive foreign bases in places we are not even wanted like Okinawa, Japan?
Now Congress needs to shape the president’s proposal and make it law. Congress needs to stop placating the Pentagon and being influenced by defense contractors and look at ways to significantly reduce the Pentagon budget so we can afford imperative programs such as job creation, education, infrastructure and the environment.