Reuters: The Pentagon has “lost” $8.5 trillion of taxpayer money since 1996
An often-repeated mantra in American politics, mostly (but not exclusively) coming from Republicans, is that the U.S. government should stop “wasting” the hard-earned tax dollars of its citizens.
Usually the proposed solution in Washington then involves some cuts to social programs that disproportionately affect the poor and middle classes. Examples of this modus operandi are cuts to food stamp programs as earlier in 2013.
One department to spend it all
But there is one institution that, according to the mainstream consensus in both the GOP and the Democratic Party, can never have enough funding: the Department of Defense.
Despite the fact that the official military spending of the U.S. unmistakably dwarves that of all other potential rival nations, i.e. China and Russia, lobbyists from defense contractors and the politicians who cannot wait to enter the revolving door after retiring from politics would have the American public believe that unless military spending increases, or is at least kept at its current level, the terrorists and communists might invade Kansas next week.
Don’t audit me, bro!
According to an investigative report by Reuters, the Pentagon cannot account for $8.5 trillion in military spending since 1996. That money is gone and supposedly nobody knows where it went.
Just in case you wonder: In 1996, a law was passed by Congress to audit the Pentagon. But the Pentagon never complied.
Just let that sink in. It is not hundreds of thousand of dollars. It’s not millions of dollars. It’s $8.5 trillion!
My hunch is that if one were to look for “wasteful government bureaucracies,” the DoD would be an excellent place to start.
[Video + Article] “Want to Cut Government Waste? Find the $8.5 Trillion the Pentagon Can’t Account For.” (Lauren, Lyster, Daily Ticker, Yahoo Finance, 2013/11/25)
Adolph Reed Junior on the surrender of America’s liberals
If we understand the left to be anchored to our convictions that society can be made better than it actually is, and a commitment to combating economic inequality as a primary one, the left is just gone. – Adolph Reed
There is an interesting recent article (paid subscription at Harper’s magazine) by political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. about the decline of the American Left and the Democratic Party’s embrace of neoliberalism.
Bill Moyers interviewed him on his show and has a video on his website. In the interview, Moyers points out as an example of this trend the Obama administration’s fast-tracking of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
Reed argues that the Democratic Party is too fixated on winning elections and appeasing Wall Street and the Right—the Clinton campaign’s triangulation comes to mind.
Reed sees in American politics today a “bipartisan neoliberalism [. . .] at the center of gravity of the American government.” And as its two core components, he identifies two things: a “free market, utopian ideology [a]nd [. . .] a concrete program for intensified upward redistribution.”
The interview is well worth watching, I think.