Military Waste Breeds Poverty
Last week saw the introduction of a new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that no member of Congress ought to oppose… unless they’re firmly resting in the palm of corrupt military contractors.
The War Is Making You Poor Act, H.R. 5353, brings together weariness with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with anti-tax sentiment and the hunger for fiscal responsibility.
Rhetorically, the legislation makes clear the link between out of control military waste and the impoverishment of the average American. However, the bill doesn’t demand an end to the wars. It demands an end to military pork barrel spending free-for-all that has been conducted with the wars as a thin justification.
The concept is simple: Require the military budget to pay for the wars. That’s what the military budget is for, after all - all $549 billion dollars of it. As Alan Grayson, the author of the bill points out, that’s far above what all other nations on earth pay for their militaries - combined.
From the start, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been paid for with supplemental requests - as if they’re temporary sources of expenditures. The most recent supplemental was 159 billion dollars. H.R. 5353 would rescind that 159 billion dollars, requiring the Pentagon budget to be cleared of the extraordinary waste that currently characterizes it - airplanes and ships that the Pentagon itself says it doesn’t need or want, for example.
The legislation would then require that 159 billion dollars to be returned to the people. 90 percent of it would be used to eliminate federal income tax on the first $35,000 of every American’s income ($70,000 for a married couple). The remaining amount would reduce 16 billion dollars from the federal budget deficit.
H.R. 5353 is a bipartisan bill, with support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. So far, though, both Democratic Party and Republican Party leaders don’t seem keen on passing the bill. There’s a lot of pork barrel influence they stand to lose.