On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump signaled that he would cancel a $4 billion Boeing contract that would build an entire new fleet of Air Force One planes. However, his statement that he wanted the manufacturer to “make a lot of money, but not that much money” came after an investigation revealed that the Pentagon was fearful that Congress might discover its hidden study that exposed that it was wasting $125 billion.
The Washington Post reports:
Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.
The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.
The total annual budget of the Pentagon is $580 billion. This means that nearly 25% of the annual budget is wasted!
“The cost-cutting study could find a receptive audience with President-elect Donald Trump,” write Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward at the Post. “He has promised a major military buildup and said he would pay for it by ‘eliminating government waste and budget gimmicks.'”
When waste is this obvious, shouldn’t it be addressed, especially if this is what you claim to be against? Time will tell.
At the Guardian, Trevor Timm wrote in an op-ed that the issue of eliminating government waste is Trump’s “go-to cliché whenever someone asked him how he was going to pay for something he proposed…In fact, it’s been the Republican Party’s mantra for years anytime they bring up the debt or the deficit.”
“So Trump and his Republican colleagues want to get rid of ‘waste,’ there’s literally never been a more giant and obvious example,” he added. “Here’s their time to act!”
“It’s unlikely that the Republicans will hold the Pentagon accountable for its free-spending ways even as they try to nickel and dime social programs,” Timm continued. “In the Republicans’ fantasy world, the Pentagon’s enormous budget is never a problem.”
That’s right and part of that is tied right back to a lot of the Military Industrial Complex, which President Eisenhower warned us about.
Remember that some of these defense contractors are currently employing illegal immigrants under the watchful eye of the FBI and Homeland Security to build America’s military might. For more on that, click here, here, here and here.
Timm went on to elaborate, “Defense conglomerates and weapons makers fill the coffers of Republicans (and a lot of Democrats) each year, and spread large construction projects across virtually every state in the country, so lawmakers are loathe to cut funding for jobs in their respective districts. Add to that a hawkish tendency to support multiple wars around the world, and the Pentagon budget becomes virtually untouchable.”
“Next time you hear Republicans complaining about food stamps for poor people, or calling for a reduction of social security benefits, or proposing to privatize Medicare, make sure to throw this report back in their face,” Timm concluded. “Because whatever the waste problems in one government program or another, they pale in comparison to this.”
This is true. The problem with both parties is one of wasteful spending of the people’s money. Either we have the one side wasting it on the police state and warfare state, or we have one party wasting in the welfare state. All are ethical, moral and constitutional problems that need to be addressed. While I can give the benefit of the doubt to the Trump administration when it comes to such waste, I’m skeptical that any significant cuts will be made.