Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Shock and Audit" MJ Report on Defense Budget

The Defense Dept. never ceases to amaze. After roughly 7 hours of tense discussion on defense budgetary priorities (tense b/c I had the gall to question whether the actual goal of defense spending was to preserve human life, in which case it has on most counts been a miserable failure) I come across this Mother Jones gem. Even after an afternoon spent delving into future budget predictions that basically have us burning excess defense articles for fuel after the entire country goes bankrupt and we've descended into anarchy, this stuff is still shocking.

Like that the cost overruns in our defense budget exceed China's total defense budget by a factor of three - that's right, all the myriad discrepancies between what Lockheed tells us that plane will cost and what it actually ends up charging us all amounts to three times China's total defense budget!! And yes, nice try, but that is an accurate figure - China analysts believe this to be a reliable indicator of their activity - not that I could say the same for our auditors, since the "black budget" and the VA budget and lots of other little budgetary pieces never make it into our official defense budget anyway. Our defense spending, on the other hand, comes in at around $850 billion. That's about the size of four medium-sized country GDPs (like Israel+Norway+Denmark+Chile).

And, official projections for the F-35 (those are the projections that usually understate actual costs by about 20% or so) put those program costs at over $1 trillion - about the size of the national deficit. So, I hope we can dismantle some of these planes and distill some of their constituent elements for basics like food and fuel . . . . cause if we keep letting pathological organizations and defense contractors make all the budget decisions we're halfway to hell in an aircraft carrier.

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