Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Some times Congress makes things more difficult than it should be. Check out this article from Christopher Hellman at Huffingtonpost.

Hellman's article details how our base defense budget of $558 billion is not even close to what we actually spend on national security related items. What we actually spend is well over $1.2 trillion ... and counting.

Included in Hellman's numbers are our costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, veteran benefits, homeland security, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), military aid to foreign countries, and an entire group of categories that most Americans are too busy to think about or follow on a regular basis. Worse, billions of our national security expenditures - perhaps $200 billion - is simply overlap and waste.

Considering the $1.1 trillion in tax breaks (write-offs) we give to ordinary Americans, the $100 billion we give to corporations to locate off shore for tax (avoidance) purposes, the $88.7 billion in tax breaks that are dedicated for America's wealthiest class, the unnecessary hundreds of billions given away by the Bush tax cuts, and the trillions in profit subsidies we've handed over to Wall Street (with no tax claw backs), it appears that Congress simply isn't trying hard enough.

Put another way, when Congress says it's trying to cut the fat from the budget it needs to look beyond the chump change it will save by simply cutting public employee benefits and pay. We need to start rescinding tax cuts that don't work, eliminate write-offs that undermine the integrity of the market, abolish subsidies that distort incentives, and do away with other tax breaks that favor the wrong people in America.

Oh, and there's much to be saved by paring down the budget expenditures of our national security state too.

This isn't rocket science. Seriously.

- Mark

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