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Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:23 AM

The Trickery of the Military Budget


from Consortium News:


The Trickery of the Military Budget
February 2, 2013

A key federal budget trick is using words to confuse citizens, such as labeling U.S. military spending as “defense” though much is for “offense” and sliding costs for wounded soldiers under “veterans affairs” and nuclear bombs under “energy,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

By Paul R. Pillar


As budgetary battles proceed with competing rhetorical salvos about what parts of government spending are unreasonably large, or are most out of control, or are the “real” reason for burgeoning deficits (actually, every part of the budgetary equation, on both the expenditure and the revenue sides, is just as real as every other part), one welcomes the occasional breath of fresh semantic air on the subject.

Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, using data compiled by Winslow Wheeler of the Project on Government Oversight, observesthat the figures usually adduced to present spending on “defense” or “national security” understate by a long shot actual federal spending that is appropriately put under such labels.

The figure most often cited is the “base” budget of the Department of Defense, which was $535 billion for FY2012. But military and defense expenditures go well beyond that, including such things as the development of nuclear weapons, which is done in the Department of Energy, or training of foreign military forces, which come under the international affairs section of the federal budget.

Add in all those other things and the total is more like $930 billion rather than $535 billion. And that’s just current expenditures, not taking into account follow-on effects such as additional interest to be paid on the national debt. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2013/02/02/the-trickery-of-the-military-budget/



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Reply The Trickery of the Military Budget (Original post)
marmar Feb 2013 OP
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #1
Igel Feb 2013 #3
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #4
think Feb 2013 #2

Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:43 AM

1. This might also explain why the DoD can't be audited (until maybe 2017, now).

Too much funny math.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:07 PM

3. That's not it.

All the money flows according to what Congress says.

A lot of this is intentional. Take putting nuclear bombs under "energy." It was a conscious decision to not have the military engage in running nuclear research reactors, refine fuel, and be in charge of producing its own nuclear weapons. The expertise is in the civilian sector, and that's where it's kept for security and safety reasons.

Same for wounded soldiers. It makes no sense to have one set of hospitals, doctors, and bureaucrats for wounded soldiers and another set for them the day after they're discharged.

When you can't be audited (as opposed to "may not be audited"), it's because you simply lack a paper trail.

The Sandy relief effort's likely to have the same problem. When you do things quickly through a lot of agencies, it's hard to make sure all the receipts are on file and all the proper authorizations were signed. Katrina had the same problem for the same reasons.

All those payments to families, to farmers, to laborers on the ground in Afghanistan? Do you really think every payment is properly authorized and all the receipts make it back to base to be forwarded to the Pentagon number crunchers?

How do you document a bribe to a local village elder to get him to allow the unemployed workers in his village to participate in building a road? Except you know if you don't bribe him the unemployed workers are likely to sabotage you, at the elder's suggestion, with the overt excuse being that those jobs "belong" to the village through whose land the road's passing.

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Response to Igel (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:14 PM

4. And how much of that unaudited money vanished into someone's pocket?

And I don't mean the Afghan village elder.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 11:16 AM

2. Smoke & Mirrors. I expect no less from my Govt

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