President Joe Biden signed a record breaking military budget earlier this week. analysis published Thursday predicted that if recent contracting trends continue, the Pentagon will funnel $407 billion worth of public funds to private weapons makers this fiscal year — more than the federal government spent when sending $1,400 relief checks to most Americans in 2021.
Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, found that “from fiscal year (FY) 2002 to FY2021, 55% of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors.”
“If the privatization of funds rate over the last 20 years holds,” Semler noted, “it means [the] military industry will get about $407 billion from Biden’s first military budget — $16 billion more than the $391 billion those $1,400 stimulus checks cost the government earlier this year.”
Because ~55% of military spending goes to contractors, arms companies will likely get more money from Biden’s Pentagon budget than the public got through his $1,400 stimulus checks: https://t.co/Tbh8X4gOIn pic.twitter.com/u7u8kLh6LL
— Stephen Semler (@stephensemler) December 30, 2021
The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2022 passed with broad bipartisan support earlier in the month. HouseThe margin was 363-70 and the in the Senate, where the vote result was 88-11. Biden signed Monday’s bill into law by signing it into law. approvedA record-breaking $778 billion for the military budget.
Even though U.S. troops are not present withdrewRepublicans and Democrats have a flood of weapons industry cash from Afghanistan in August refusedTo support popular amendmentsTo reduce Pentagon spending.
In fact, legislators in the HouseThe SenateAdditional $25 billion — which happens to be the amount of funding that progressive advocacy group Public Citizen saysIt is essential to ramp up vaccine manufacturing to inoculate the world against Covid-19 — on top of the already gargantuanBudget for the military: $753 billion requestedBiden, back in May.
Semler’s calculations are based on the Pentagon’s $740 billion “base” budget — that is, the money allocated strictly to the Defense Department and not the additional $38 billion worth of “nuclear funding from the Energy Department or funding from elsewhere, even though that stuff is rightly considered military spending, too,” he pointed out.
“Military spending involves a massive redistribution of wealth from the public to private sector,” wrote Semler. “There are over 700 lobbyists representing for-profit military contractors in D.C., and this redistribution of wealth is why they’re there.”
In a Jacobin essay published Thursday, Semler argued that Biden is doubling down on the “New Cold War” framework embraced by former President Donald Trump, whose administration claimed that the best way for the U.S. to prevent an armed confrontation with China and Russia “is to be prepared to win one.”
According to Semler
The difference between Trump’s arms race and Biden’s was supposed to be that the latter would bring a commensurate rise in social outlays. Biden campaigned on spending $7 trillion over a decade—or $700 billion per year, on average—for civil infrastructure, transportation, climate, healthcare, education, and other social programs.
Once in office, Biden’s plan was to beat the drum on China, triggering a rally ’round the flag effect that would convince Congress—conservatives included—to budget for both military and economic competition. According to a Democratic congressional aide Vox in the first months of the Biden presidency, “[t]China is the best way to implement a progressive agenda. [as a] threat.”
“The Biden administration has done its best to put that theory into action,” Semler argued. “But Biden’s Cold Warrior experiment has failed.”
Who doesn’t need expanded healthcare, climate action and affordable housing??
— CODEPINK (@codepink) December 30, 2021
“While military spending is shooting up as expected — Biden’s budget allocates nearly $40 billion more than the Trump administration, $170 billion more than Obama’s last budget, and 5% more than he campaigned on — less than 8% of the funding Biden sought for his domestic agenda has come through,” he continued.
“Adjusted on a per-year average,” Semler added, “Biden has only delivered $55 billion of the $700 billion he promised for human and physical infrastructure for fiscal year 2022.”