Skip to content

Military Welfare

Donald Trump’s proposed budget will increase military spending by $54 billion, while slashing the State Department (and almost certainly lots of other things).

But we already spend an insane amount of money on the military:

Even without the Trump bump, that’s four times more than the #2 country. In fact, the entire world (not counting the US) spends a grand total of around $950 billion. Trump’s proposed increase alone is almost equal to Russia’s entire military budget.

But what’s really ironic about this is that Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to significantly reduce our military commitments to other countries (including to NATO), so military spending should be going down.

Not only that, but a hunk of our current military spending is for tanks, aircraft, and ships that the Pentagon says it doesn’t even need. Why? Because it makes money for companies, who turn around and donate lots of money to Congressional campaigns.

Perhaps that is the answer to this riddle — the increased military spending is merely corporate welfare. After all, George W Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney was the former CEO of Halliburton, and starting the war in Iraq resulted in around $40 billion in contracts for his former company.

Trump says it is all about making us safer, but does anyone really believe that spending such huge amounts of money on weapons (including nuclear weapons) is going to make us safer?

Besides, I don’t think Trump cares whether we are actually safer. If he did, he wouldn’t destroy the State Department.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    One REpublican said Trump’s budget was “dead on arrival” in Congress. Our biggest military expenditure should be on getting rid of Trump so we can stop the domestic white terrorism that he and President Bannon sponsor.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 4:39 am | Permalink
  2. Yudith wrote:

    This reminds me of the guy with the biggest penis in the world. He is Colombian, if I remember well. He keeps it in a sock attached to his leg so he can walk. Doctors offered him a penis reduction that would allow him to have an erection and still have a bigger penis than everyone he knows. He refused, saying it’s a pride thing. That huge penis is a good allegory of the Defense budget.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink
  3. john wrote:

    Please do not confuse increasing the money bonfire with increasing the capability.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  4. Wildwood wrote:

    Like I said in a previous post, I think he’s buying himself a military. They already love him, now they might just do anything he tells them to, lawful or not. The money going to the “war lords” is a bonus as well. And I repeat, we need to find a way to audit military spending. They should not be allowed to go unchecked.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink
  5. redjon wrote:

    Between increased “defense” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) spending and the $1 trillion Mr. Trump wants to spend on infrastructure and the deep tax cuts he promises to corporations and individuals, it’s a very happy thing indeed that deficits seem no longer to be perceived to be a problem. Magical thinking, anyone?

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree with Wildwood on the point of needing congressional oversight for waste fraud and abuse of military budget dollars. There is a a lot of waste. There is also waste in every gov’t agency. I’d wager a bet that we could cut a trillion dollars from all the agencies and not miss a thing. For instance we have the depts of interior, agriculture, bureau of land management, energy and EPA. There is so much overlap it’s incredible. I also read last year (but can’t remember where now) that the Pentagon ordered a study by an independent entity to audit all their processes to see where they could save. The audit team completed their study and told them they waste about 125 billion in Redondant processes and other areas. The Pentagon promptly buried the report, but it leaked out. Crickets from congress and Obama. Shame on them.

    On a second issue, we either need to reallocate those wasted dollars or add more. Trump is correct about What happened in the last few years that our military is depleted. That is part of the reason I retired last year. The budgets were so slashed that we trained with plastic bullets shooting at paper targets from 25 meters. The optimal trading is live ammo at life size targets that pop up in ranges of 50-300 meters. But that’s if you want Soldiers who can actually hit a target.

    So there is truth in our military being depleted, and also that there is a lot of waste. No president or congress has ever really tried to fix it. Not Dems, not Republicans. Blaming Trump may make you feel better, but it won’t fix the problem he inherited. Maybe we should ask him to apply his business sense and root out all the waste in government.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  7. notycoon22 wrote:

    I’m pretty much with PSgt on DoD spending. Congress does have the authority to provide review of any administration expenditures through expectations (or, one might say, demanding) of audits. Several years ago, it was determined that an audit of the DoD had never fully been done and was impossible to do at that time. The Project on Government Oversight supports that conclusion.

    I didn’t know of the plastic bullet use. Curious. Seems like live ammunition and real targets wouldn’t be such a big expense. Then again. The spending cycle isn’t really tied to personnel who go in on the ground, it’s tied to the techno folks and giant weapons projects for the Navy and Air Force. And now we’re going to rebuild the nuclear arsenal, too.

    As to the overlap of the various agencies, I’d have to disagree. I spent my Federal career in Interior and Agriculture. Agriculture is primarily tied to – well – agriculture (except for the Forest Service which probably should be in Interior). Interior agencies work under quite different organic acts and missions. EPA also quite different. As an aside, starting in the early 2000s, a strong effort was made to convert Federal agencies to an accrual system of accounting which provided a far stronger controls relative to spending. Those systems have continued to be enhanced over the years through automation. (In all honesty, I found some of the system “enhancements” to actually get in the way of carrying out our mission. JMO).


    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  8. ThatGuy wrote:

    I don’t think that Trump inheriting a runaway military budget with misguided spending is carte blanche to let him redouble efforts to give it even more money without any thought to how its spent. Having said that, I’d gladly see $54b to the Pentagon with the understanding that the reports of waste are heeded and acted upon.

    The far more egregious bit of this latest idiocy is the aim of gutting our country’s ability to conduct diplomacy. Surely, waste exists at the State Department and foreign aid (cough, Israel and Egypt, cough) deserves scrutiny, but the levels of cuts they’re talking about will effectively create a global leadership vacuum, and I can think of two geopolitical adversaries who are more than happy to pick up the slack.

    Oh, yeah, gutting the EPA is a terrible idea too. But at this point I think we should all just pack it in and buy stock in bottle water. Unless, of course, you like mine runoff when you’re cooling down after a run or just trying to live.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    Waste in government: Carter had a plan to give people jobs. The nurse who took my 17 1/2 hour job made it last 35 hours a week. He’d spend hours just talking on the phone. Now my feeling about waste in government is that people have jobs instead of sitting around getting depressed or as the inner city youths do: play cops and robbers with real guns and real bullets.
    UK is very much a welfare state where people are on the dole all the time. Just too tiny a nation to give jobs to.
    Look what happened during the great depression and the infrastructure jobs people went to on trains from NYC to the west. Or military training where people learn trades. People also learn self worth, reason for being. My tax dollars at work. I have yet to meet a person who chose to be born.
    This is the difference in being a flaming liberal and trying to make a profit out of everything. Not filling those 2000 jobs will save the government money and have more people on unemployment. I’d rather see people “working” and paying taxes.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 4:37 am | Permalink
  10. Yudith wrote:

    I agree about the people working and paying taxes being better for the government but I don’t agree that the government shall be the first “job” donor. There is an alternative that cost less and is much more efficient. It’s ecolo and fair trade jobs. Environmentally sensible companies do not use as much automation, because they believe in saving ressources, including energy. Fair trade organizations hire people because their goal is to make people, including their workers, happy, and not to make profit. That includes your son’s baseball club, your local church food drive and these organizations that have been picketing town halls lately. So, use the picketing to obtain more money for public services and NGOs. Use NGOs to put people to work and give them what they need more efficiently than the government does. Meanwhile, give a good chunk of money to finance organizations that get cut, like Planned Parenthood (more Planned Parenthood=less abortions, wink, wink) and youth reach organization (the ones that put those pesky homeless bums out of the street and out of your hair). Use more picketing to obtain better EPA regulations, then the companies that thrive on environmentally-responsible measures will hire tons of people and save your drinking water (and your health) in the process. Good picketing!

    Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink
  11. Just me wrote:

    A squadron of fighter jets is useless against one man or woman wrapped in a suicide vest walking into a crowded mall. Strategies are in need of review. Intelligence and possible infiltration are more vital than ever.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink
  12. ebdoug wrote:

    Yudith, I love your ideas. I live my life like that. I bought my car December 30th, 2005, new. I hit 30,000 miles on it last August. The Internet and Amazon have made this possible. I bought a brand new wringer washer in 2011, they are no longer importing them. I have been hanging clothes to dry since I moved out of my house when I was 19, I raised four children (one my stepsister). I’m 72 now. Where I am now there is a dishwasher. Each morning I spend five minutes soaking my hands in warm water while I clean the dishes and put them in the dishwasher to dry by the next morning.

    Each gallon of gas creates four gallons of arctic melt. So many ways around not using the middle of the earth to add heat to the atmosphere.

    And, yes, back to your idea. Less robots, more people to do the work and be employed.

    I was very angry when Verizon stopped letting people work at home. Think of all the fuel saved by working at home.

    Cotton shop wipes are a renewable item to replace paper towels, tissues, and paper napkins (I do use a lot of bleach).

    A month ago I gave up kitty litter for my ten cats. They have their own shop wipes separate from the family. I added a load of wash each morning. The wipes are dry by the next morning.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink