BY BETTE MCDEVITT
Sorry, folks, it’s not you. It’s Lockheed. In the recent 1.3 trillion dollar budget, the defense contractors will share a large hunk of our tax money; $700 billion dollars, the largest increase in 15 years. Rep. Kay Granger, Republican from Texas, chair of the House defense appropriations committee explained why. “Our military is trying to recover from 16 years of war.” No mention of the victims, dead, alive, refugees, wounded, from these ongoing wars. Stay tuned, the participants change; one day, Syria, the next day Yemen, but the constant is the United States.
So we know who the losers are, and thanks to the reporting of the Washington Post writer, Christian Davenport, reprinted in the Post-Gazette, we know who the winners are.
Lockheed’s gain was in aircraft. The Pentagon will get 143 new planes, including 20 of the stealthy F-35. At first, when campaigning, Mr. Trump didn’t like them. “Wasteful spending” he said. Now he likes them. “That beautiful F-35. It’s stealth. You can’t see them. Is that correct? It better be correct.”
The Navy, not to be outdone, will get $3.4 billion for new ships, and to make sure that we are omnipotent on land as well as air and sea, we will get 20 additional missile silos at Ft. Greely, Alaska. And just to be extra safe, two more of Lockheed’s missile defense systems, a bargain at $1 billion.
And what does it cost us. According to the National Priorities Project, of every dollar you pay in income taxes, 23¢ goes to the military – but only 5¢ goes to our troops in the form of pay, housing allowances and other benefits.That doesn’t include the 6¢ that supports our veterans by providing health care, income support and job training, among other benefits. Meanwhile, 11¢ goes to military contractors, including 1.7¢ for the Pentagon’s biggest contractor and maker of the F-35 jet fighter, Lockheed Martin.
It must have been a grand day for Mr. Trump when he signed the final bill, H.R. 1625, with his spineless sycophants fawning over him, while quaking at what he might say. He was, for one who lies and resorts to name calling, placid though terrifying.
Here, to close, are a few of his quotes.
“So we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to do when it comes to our military. Our military will be far superior to any military anywhere in the world. That’s very important for us. You see the players out there. You see what we’re dealing with.”
“We’re spending a lot of money on nuclear — our nuclear systems — to upgrade, and in some cases, brand new, whether it’s submarines — nuclear submarines — and others. So we’ll have, by far, the most powerful nuclear force on Earth, and it will be absolutely in perfect shape and condition. And, hopefully, praise be to God, we don’t ever have to use it. But there will be nobody that’s even close. “
Bette McDevitt is a member of The NewPeople editorial collective, and the Raging Grannies, who are really really mad.
(TMC newspaper VOL. 48 No. 4 May 2018. All rights reserved.)