The Nearly $700 Billion Payout No One Talked Much About

Decrier of American expansionist foreign policy Chalmers Johnson gripes at Antiwar.com (scroll down a bit) about how no one paid much mind to the casual passage by the House this week of a $612 billion defense authorization:

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, right in the middle of the fight over billions of taxpayer dollars slated to bail out Wall Street, the House of Representatives passed a $612 billion defense authorization bill for 2009 without a murmur of public protest or any meaningful press comment at all. (The New York Times gave the matter only three short paragraphs buried in a story about another appropriations measure.)

........

Our annual spending on "national security" – meaning the defense budget plus all military expenditures hidden in the budgets for the departments of Energy, State, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, the CIA, and numerous other places in the executive branch – already exceeds a trillion dollars, an amount larger than that of all other national defense budgets combined. Not only was there no significant media coverage of this latest appropriation, there have been no signs of even the slightest urge to inquire into the relationship between our bloated military, our staggering weapons expenditures, our extravagantly expensive failed wars abroad, and the financial catastrophe on Wall Street. The only congressional "commentary" on the size of our military outlay was the usual pompous drivel about how a failure to vote for the defense authorization bill would betray our troops. The aged Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, implored his Republican colleagues to vote for the bill "out of respect for military personnel."

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  • ||

    $612 defense authorization

    What are they doing -- buying a toilet seat?

  • Nigel Watt||

    Everybody whining about a bailout makes great cover for spending more money.

  • ||

    As disgusting as this is, at least the military is something that should be funded by the federal government. Other than private individuals' stock portfolios.

  • Dormouse||

    What are they doing -- buying a toilet seat?

    Sneer all you want, but the fact is we're in a war, and our soldiers deserve the best defecatory experience money can buy.

  • Kolohe||

    Fun Fact:
    The appropriation bill this year was called the "Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009"

    Because nothing says 'Victory!' like the name Duncan Hunter.

    Also, passed in the House 392 - 39, passed in the Senate 88 - 8.

    Interesting mix on the senate nays:
    Allard (R-CO)
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Coburn (R-OK)
    DeMint (R-SC)
    Feingold (D-WI)
    Graham (R-SC)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Vitter (R-LA)

    Here's the house vote. (and it wasn't even a normal vote; it was a 'suspend the rules and get it done even quicker').

  • ||

    Well, this American empire is undermining it's own defense. We can't bomb our creditors, so this is really wasted money. I for one, count the days till the empire rolls up like a cheap rug. Then we can get our democracy back. All we need for national defense is the 2nd amendment.

    For example, we bombed Iraq back to the stone age, starved and bombed them for another 12 yrs. Then, we bombed the crap out of them again, yet, we can't tame the people. If anyone invaded us, we'd do just as well, with zero military support. Of course, WE might be fighting OUR military here at home.

  • Nigel Watt||

    The Republican house nays are unsurprising but interesting. (Except Campbell - can't find much on him.) Duncan was against it from the beginning, and along with Flake is part of the Liberty Caucus.

  • David W.||

    First of all, Chalmers Johnson rulez.

    Second, like the other big payment, this one should be paid for by a capital gains tax. It is the investor class that the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were performed for, and people should pay in proportion to the extent of their enfranchisement in this class.

    If we can't support the troops over there with a cap gains tax, then we should Bring them Home.

  • Kolohe||

    Also, in related news, the national debt hit the $1e10 mark yesterday.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Defense spending is a "bailout", eh?

    Nowhere near as big a "bailout" as social security and medicare.

  • SIV||

    Senate passes the bad Wall Street and Foreign investments bailout.No more Pittman-Robinson taxes on children's wooden arrows.

  • Nigel Watt||

    10^13, Kolohe.

  • Kolohe||

    Nigel-
    uh, I was using the british definition of exponential notation?

    or how bout this:
    (figure in thousands)?

  • BDB||

    Did Harry Reid make any nasty, partisan speeches?

    Oh wait. It's Harry Reid. Nevermind.

  • ||

    t is the investor class that the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were performed for

    What? how do you figure?

    Afghanistan? Really?

    you're a special somebody, HFCS.

  • ||

    I see Dave W. is off his meds again.

  • dave W.||

    Sure pipeline territory and force projection. I was all for finding Bin Laden. Everything after he left was a rich man's war.

  • SIV||

    Limbaugh played some clip today in which Joe Biden said HFCS is more of a threat than a terrorist attack. To be fair, I have not been the victim of a terrorist attack but I did try to drink a 20oz bottle of "Vault" soda one time.I was really thirsty and still had to throw it away.

  • BDB||

    Afghanistan has oil? Whaa?

  • BDB||

    Surge>Vault

  • ||

    Sure pipeline territory and force projection.

    Afghanistan doesn't have oil, you nit. Additionally, how is "force projection" a benefit made solely for the "investor class"?

    Third, you ARE part of the investor class, HFCS.

  • BDB||

    Even if we're talking about pipelines, said pipeline would have to go through, uh, Pakistan. Not exactly a "secure" country, is it?

  • ||

    Wow, that's one year. They're going to spend that much next year and the year after, more than likely.

    That $700b is a one time event, and we'll get some part of that back.

    Jeebus, $612 billion?

  • ||

    Also, you could pick a lot better places over there for force projection than a place surrounded by mountains and stuck in the Stone Ages.

  • Kolohe||

    Even if we're talking about pipelines, said pipeline would have to go through, uh, Pakistan. Not exactly a "secure" country, is it?

    It's fueled (get it?) a plethora of conspiracy theory nonsense (including IIRC loose change), but there was a proposal by UNOCAL in the late 90's to do just that - build a pipeline from the Karachi coastal area to the central asian fields of Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, etc, through afganistan.

  • BDB||

    Man, when I think "secure" and "friendly", I know I think "Russia".

  • SIV||

    Mountain Dew>Surge>Vault

  • SIV||

    That $700b is a one time event, and we'll get some part of that back.

    Dumbest thing you have said in a while joe.

  • BDB||

    No, Surge was the best ever.

    Too bad they didn't keep making it. It could have been Surge--The Official Soft Drink of the Iraq War.

  • BDB||

    My Congresscritter is black, and the CBC hates this bill, so at least my rep will still vote against it.

  • sage||

    Well at least they did not try to hide it in an emergency appropriations bill. Or did they?

  • Don the libertarian Democrat||

    What's to talk about? They were going to pass this bill whatever we thought.

  • ||

    SIV,

    Not only did the government get its money back, but it actually turned a profit, in the Chrysler bailout, the Mexican Peso bailout, and the New Deal mortgage-purchase program.

    Before you check your unerring gut and share your feelings about how stupid my comments are, why don't you try, just try, to have some vague knowledge of the relevant facts before you post? A passing familiarity with some relevant facts from the historical and public record on which to base an informed opinion. Just, give it shot, you might like it.

  • Heinrick||

    "Afghanistan has oil? Whaa?"

    The pipeline is for natural gas not oil.

  • SIV||

    joe

    regardless of the "profitability" those deals were wrong too, and I'm a Mopar man.

    700bn is just the start, go long high end curencey printing presses, FRN paper and ink.

  • ||

    scott | October 1, 2008, 9:15pm | #

    Well, this American empire is undermining it's own defense. We can't bomb our creditors, so this is really wasted money



    I dunno, a few precision strikes might change a few attitudes.

  • ||

    And Joe, even when you make a valid point, your fuck-wad condescension just takes all the air out of it. I'd rather read HFCS's posts, at least they're entertaining in a moonbat sort of way.

  • David W.||

    Additionally, how is "force projection" a benefit made solely for the "investor class"?

    It disproportionately benefits the investor class because it is a powerful factor in determining trade relations. It is a way of making international trade not happen according to a free market, but rather a market that economically benefits some players at the economic expense of others.

    Third, you ARE part of the investor class, HFCS.

    sure, we all are here to some extent. Some more than others. The greater your extent the more you pay. That is why the military budget (to the extent we have one) should be paid for by capital gains and wealth taxes, whil Social Security (to the extent we have it) should be a payroll tax.

  • ||

    regardless of the "profitability" those deals were wrong too, and I'm a Mopar man.

    Fine, then say that. Don't call me idiot for making a statement that doesn't feel right to you when you don't know what you're talking about.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "My Congresscritter is black, and the CBC hates this bill"

    The CBC was falling all over itself to defend Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a few years ago and denied there were any financial problems there.
    Those GSE are ground zero for the cause of this financial crisis.

  • armchairpunter||

    If I scrimp and save, I might just be able to afford a home with my own money, assuming the government doesn't inflate prices by dumping easy money into the home market.

    I will never be able to afford an aircraft carrier, a missile defense system or a fleet of tanks and, even if I could, I can think of a number of folks (even die-hard 2nd amendment types) who would prefer I not have these items in my personal arsenal.

    It's fair to criticize the scope and wisdom of our military spending, but at least it falls reasonably within the realm of things on which the federal government can legitimately spend our money.

  • ||

    "Not only did the government get its money back, but it actually turned a profit, in the Chrysler bailout, the Mexican Peso bailout, and the New Deal mortgage-purchase program."

    Just out of curiosity, how does the government determine that it made a profit on anything, when (to my knowledge) it doesn't even follow GAAP? Does it have some transparent transfer pricing mechanism that allows it to determine which projects were profitable and which were not?

    Or is it someone else making these calculations? (If so, do they include in the revenues things like "smiling face on Lee Iacocca"?)

    Seriously. I'm happy to look at a reference, I'm just a leetle skeptical.

  • bubba||

    My Congresscritter is black

    RACIST!

    lol

    As noted, Defense is a primary function of the US government.

    And frankly, I'm less concerned about the $700B, than about the fact nothing is being done to prevent this kind of crap from happening again.

  • David W.||

    And frankly, I'm less concerned about the $700B, than about the fact nothing is being done to prevent this kind of crap from happening again.

    That is why the bailout should have terms and conditions attached to it -- conditions that are highly distasteful to the people being helped -- conditions like funding the thing through new capital gains taxes.

    I mean, the debate here is silly: on the one hand you have joe on the Hillary / Obama / Barney Frank tip saying, "just give them the money." On the other hand, you have the holier than thou typical HitNRunner idlely wishing this bailout would not happened, but strangely uninterested in setting the terms of surrender. It really makes you wonder about the wisdom of the former hand and the sincerity of the latter hand.

  • ||

    Not only did the government get its money back, but it actually turned a profit, in the Chrysler bailout, the Mexican Peso bailout, and the New Deal mortgage-purchase program.

    That is the kind of flat-out factual assertion that calls for a link, joe. The burden's on you, as the asserter of fact, to do the research, not on us.

    Why do I suspect that any claim of "profit" in these deals will rely on very fuzzy second-order benefits?

  • The Taxing And Spending Clause||

    It's fair to criticize the scope and wisdom of our military spending, but at least it falls reasonably within the realm of things on which the federal government can legitimately spend our money.

    "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;" (emphasis added)

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "general Welfare"

    Which would not include anything that is classified as a "bailout" because that doesn't do anything for "general" welfare - it only enhances the welfare of the specific individuals and institutons being bailed out.

  • ||

    Yeah, what RCD said.

    Ideally, I'd also like to see some analysis of to what extent the alleged profits in each case were attributable to sound decision-making, and to what extent they were gambles that happened to pay off.

  • Better get a bucket||

    Wafer thin...

  • Anti-joe||

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