The United States could see that half of the income tax dollars it sends to the Internal Revenue Service each year is being spent on war, weapons, and preparation. This would make it less popular to support such programs. Unfortunately, no federal agency communicates with taxpayers about how the Congress spends its money.
Massachusetts State Rep. Carol Doherty, and State Senator Jo Comerford introduced a bill to the state legislature. Taxpayers’ Right to Know ActThe bill is supported by Massachusetts Peace Action (and allies). The bill requires the state treasurer of Massachusetts to inform taxpayers in Massachusetts about how the federal government and state spend income tax dollars. This is a first step towards federal legislation that brings transparency to the Congressional Discretionary Budget.
Given the obstruction to open and honest reporting by the federal government, organizers hope to push for such bills in other states. These are small but important first steps in focusing attention on income taxes being used to finance corporate drivers of dangerous and costly nuclear weapons purchases, especially in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine War Profiteering
The purchase of arms and military services with taxpayer money has been and will continue to be a common practice. highly profitable endeavor for defense contractors. Such profiteering is possible only in a war, like in Ukraine.
Recently, President Joe Biden sent his message to Congress budget proposalFor 2023. It included $818 billion for Pentagon expenditures and military spendings. This is more income taxes than half of Americans pay each year and more than $31 billion more than the already large Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2022. It is also higher than the defense budgets for the eight. next biggest military spendersAll of them together, including Russia China and India.
The proposed increase for 2023 was cloaked in the flag of support for Ukrainians, but make no mistake, most of this bloated budget was in the pipeline years back, prior Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The inauguration of the new heliport was held in late April. president announcedA plan to spend $33 billion more weapons and military supplies for Ukraine. Congress passed a $40 billion increase in appropriations on May 19, with unanimous Democratic approval. Although it included humanitarian aid, the main purpose of this appropriation was to fund $20 billion in weapons, weapons support, and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles.
This budget is closer than the true war budget. It has built-in assumptions of material losses and the need for replacement. These expenditures could be even more lucrative that the base Pentagon budget. The justification for shipments of weapons to Ukraine will be given. further purchases to maintain the U.S.’s stockpile, according to The New York Times:
Noting that the more than 5,000 Javelins sent to Ukraine amounted to a third of the administration’s stockpile of anti-tank missiles, Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri asked the pentagon officials … if they were prepared to quickly replace the anti-tank missiles. “It is not only possible; we will do that” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.
Because of the nature and cost of most contracts, the guarantee of Pentagon purchases, and the protection against offshore competition such as those in China, India, and Mexico, the purchase of weapons and supplies for preparation for war or maintenance of forces on the field is a uniquely profitable and profitable business. During “peacetime,” missiles, artillery shells, airplanes and armored vehicles need to be replaced at a relatively slow rate. This restricts the weapons market. That is part of the reason for pressure from the industry for “new” weapons to increase their markets.
Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes commented on the benefits of the Ukraine crisis to their business by stating that beating the drums of war will increase the bottom line.
We would expect … a benefit to the [Raytheon missiles and defense business] top line” and to the wider business, as defense budgets and replenishment orders increase over the coming years, chief executive Greg Hayes told analysts on the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.
Too often during Pentagon budget debates, foreign policy “concerns” obscure the driving imperative coming from the weapons industries. As The NationIt was pointed out that the invasion of Iraq began at the beginning of this year.
Even before US troops arrived in Baghdad, looting broke out — in Washington. While Republicans in Congress and their allies in the media yammered about the need to silence dissent and “support the troops,” corporations with close ties to the Bush Administration were quietly arranging to ink lucrative contracts that would put them in charge of reconstructing Iraq. Bechtel’s contract, worth up to $680 million, to rebuild Iraqi roads, schools, sewers and hospitals drew a lot of media attention, but it was chump change compared with the deal greased through by Vice President [Dick] Cheney’s old oil-services firm, Halliburton.
Historians of World War II, often fail to emphasize the role of the major Japanese and German major manufacturing industries in driving their country’s war efforts. These businesses were guaranteed continued weapons sales to their governments and military forces as long as the war lasted.
U.S. naval historians agree that the Japanese Kamikaze attacks were a wasteful operation. The pilot and plane were both lost and neither could continue their sorties. They were actually not wasteful for corporations such as Mitsubishi, since each fighter lost meant a new sale for the Japanese government.
The Pentagon Budget is only peripherally used to protect the Ukrainians
Congress voted earlier this year $768 billion as the 2022 Defense authorization. These extravagant budgets have been passed for many years. Thus, the 2021 Congressional Discretionary Budget (also known as the Budget for the Unprecedented) was voted in 2020 long before the Ukraine conflict.
Among the most expensive items — more than $34 billion — are the upgrades of all three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad: land-based intercontinental ballistic missile systems, nuclear-armed submarines and long-range bombers. These expenditures are covered by nuclear saber rattling from Russia and North Korea. These upgraded weapons systems won’t be operable for many years. They can’t be used to protect the Ukrainians from their neighbours, Afghans from Taliban, or South Koreans against the North Korean government.
The presence of thousands of U.S. nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert hasn’t prevented the North Korean regime from moving ahead with their nuclear programs; Britain’s nuclear weapons did not prevent the Argentinian government from occupying the Falkland Islands; Russia’s nuclear weapons didn’t deter Chechen rebels from attacking Russia. Neither India nor Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals have deterred each other’s militants from attacking one another across the contested Srinagar boundary in Kashmir. Despite claims to contrary, nuclear weapons are not capable of protecting the people of Ukraine. They would be decimated by a nuclear exchange.
These weapons can’t be used in any war, and if they were, it would be disastrous for the U.S. citizens. So, why are our tax dollars being spent on nuclear weapons upgrades? The answer has nothing to do with foreign policy — the red herring used to justify the expenditures. These purchases are better understood as the business plan of the nuclear weapons and military-industrial-congressional complex, guaranteeing high profitability. Our congressional budget is now completely controlled by a small group of U.S. corporations, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans over 60 years ago.
More than half the Pentagon appropriation is used for defense purposes. large defense contractorsLeaders are Lockheed Martin (Boeing), Raytheon General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. They reaped $198 Billion in taxpayer funds alone last year. 2020 will see the top 100 contractorsIntake $551 billion.
The profits of these corporationsThey are guaranteed by expensive contracts; legislation prohibiting foreign firms from awarding such contracts; national security criteria used in order to prevent auditing and close fiscal supervision.
At the same time Congress voted some $782 billion for Pentagon accounts, they couldn’t find the $5-$10 billion needed to insure that vaccination against COVID-19 is available to all Americans.
The Pentagon’s $782 budget is bloated. It includes funds for the purchase of new nuclear-armed submarines. However, the U.S. has enough submarines. 14 lethal Ohio Class submarinesEach of these weapons can launch 192 nuclear warheads. Two of these new weapons systems are unnecessary and provocative. would save more than $10 billion. This would provide the funds necessary to cover all Americans against COVID and to finance vaccines for people in developing countries.
The pie chart below shows the division of the Congressional Discretionary Budget for 2021 — pre-Ukraine — among competing agencies and programs including the Defense Department, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, food stamps, agricultural subsidies, the Department of Energy (nuclear weapons) and the National Science Foundation. The discretionary budget does include Social Security and Medicare, which are mandatory funds. These are trust funds — citizens pay in and hopefully are paid back. These funds cannot be used for any other purposes by Congress. Here are some of the categories from the annual congressional budget (from the income taxes).
This pie chart from the National Priorities Project shows the allocation of our Congressional Discretionary Budget among diverse categories for the 2021 fiscal year, voted on in 2020, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is underrated because many military-related programs, including nuclear weapons and foreign military assistance, are listed under domestic program.
The most important fact is that over half of all income taxes paid to the U.S. government go to Pentagon accounts. These expenditures are often not reported to the public. Despite the government’s aggressive approach to collecting income taxes, no agency of government reports back to taxpayers how their tax dollars were spent. Americans mistakenly believe that the defense budget covers military personnel and veterans who have been wounded in war or other actions. In fact, Veterans Affairs and veterans’ hospitals are part of the civilian or “domestic” budget, often squeezed by pressures of the military-industrial-congressional complex to increase funding for the Pentagon.
Pentagon Spending Versus Preventing Disease
It’s very difficult to grasp the impact of a $782 billion Pentagon budget. It is possible to compare it with other appropriations. The COVID pandemic has ravaged the world’s nations and our nation for two years. More than 1,000,000 Americans have been affected by the virus. How could this have happened in the technologically advanced, wealthy United States, world leader in biomedical research, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals?
One reason is the failure of government and health officials to invest in health care and public systems that are robust and effective. However, this is not the only reason. failure to investThese sectors have been affected by the redirection of tax dollars from the Congressional Discretionary Budget into Pentagon accounts. The Federally funded research at the National Institutes of Health is crucial for the development of therapeutics, vaccines, or diagnostics. This is dependent entirely on annual congressional appropriations.
The NIH budget is about $45 billion is responsible for developing prevention and cures of all the diseases that afflict us — cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and many others. Let’s consider only the health burden and social impacts on our population of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. This devastating and debilitating disease affects more Americans than 3,000,000, with the numbers steadily rising. Alzheimer’s patients accounted for some 20 percent of Medicare and Medicaid’s budgets, more than $250 billion a year. Unfortunately, the NIH investment in finding underlying mechanisms, more reliable diagnosis and better therapies was for 2020. $2.8 billionEach year.
This is clearly a poor investment given the human suffering and devastating economic and social impacts. For a social cost of $250 billion, perhaps 10 percent of the $250 billion in medical costs — $25 billion — would approach a sound and humane NIH research budget. Though Congress couldn’t find it in the budget to appropriate such funds. Instead, they sent $33 billion to Ukraine in primarily military aid.
Millions of Americans suffer from these diseases. If we knew more about them and invested more, we could save lives. The $45 billion in NIH investments is far less than the $782 billion defense budget. The new bombers, submarines and missiles don’t house us, don’t clothe us, don’t get us to work, don’t cure or prevent disease, and don’t protect our environment or climate.
Unfortunately, these Pentagon spendings will not increase national security at home or abroad. They will actually increase the likelihood of a catastrophic nuclear weapons exchange. They do not meet the needs of the people but the business plan for the military-industrial complex. President Eisenhower warned us to avoid them when he resigned. Scholar Seymour Melman detailed the details in The Permanent War Economy.