FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

On Military Spending and Trade, Trump Puts Americans Last

US president Donald Trump signed yet another massive government spending bill — $1.3 trillion — on March 23, after threatening a veto.

Why did he threaten a veto?

Because the bill doesn’t fund his cherished US-Mexico border wall idea, and because it doesn’t address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he’s threatened to end absent a “fix.”

Why did he sign it?

For the military spending. Because, he says, “for the last eight years, deep defense cuts have undermined our national security,” and we just can’t have that.

Deep cuts? In what universe?

In every year since 2010, the US has spent more than half again as much on its military as in 2003 — two years into the Afghanistan war and the year that it invaded Iraq.

Since 2010, the US has never spent as little on the military as it did in 2007, the year before Trump’s predecessor was elected.

The US Department of Defense’s 2017 base budget was a whopping 7/10ths of 1% lower than the 2010 budget, which was smaller than the 2011 and 2012 budgets. Total US military spending in 2017 was only 4% less than in 2010.

Not only is Trump wrong about what actually happened, he’s wrong about what the effect would have been if things had happened that way. There’s nothing wrong with the security of the United States that “deep cuts” in military spending wouldn’t make better.

The US armed forces are far too big, far too powerful, and far too expensive to bear any plausible relation to defense. The primary purpose of US military spending is not to defend the United States, but to continuously transfer as much wealth as possible from the pockets of working taxpayers to the bank accounts of large “defense” contractors.

It’s a giant welfare program. And nearly three decades of continuous war, starting with Desert Storm in 1991 and escalating after 9/11, are the excuse for keeping the welfare checks flowing.

If Trump was serious about national security, he’d veto any budget that didn’t include those non-existent “deep cuts” he’s complaining about. A 75% cut over 10 years would still leave the US the largest military spender on the planet, but likely much less inclined to disastrously intervene in other people’s arguments.

But we already knew Trump wasn’t serious about national security, didn’t we? His tariffs on steel and aluminum prove that. They, too, are welfare programs designed to benefit corporate welfare queens at the expense of American workers and consumers. And they flout the well-known law of history laid down by Otto T. Mallery:

“If soldiers are not to cross international boundaries, goods must do so. Unless the Shackles can be dropped from trade, bombs will be dropped from the sky.”

“America First!” Trump cries, while putting Americans last — and in ever-increasing danger.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
The  FBI: Another Worry in the National Security State
Rob Urie
Establishment Politics are for the Rich
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: That’s Neoliberalism for You
Paul Street
Midnight Ramble: A Fascist Rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Joan Roelofs
The Science of Lethality
Joyce Nelson
Buttigieg and McKinsey
Joseph Natoli
Equally Determined: To Impeach/To Support
Charles Pierson
The National Defense Authorization Act Perpetuates the Destruction of Yemen
REZA FIYOUZAT
An Outrageous Proposal: Peace Boats to Iran
Andrew Levine
A Plague on Both Their Houses, Plus a Dozen Poxes on Trump’s
David Rosen
Mortality Rising: Trump and the Death of the “American Dream”
Lee Hall
Donald Trump Jr., Mongolian Sheep Killer
Dave Lindorff
The Perils of Embedded Journalism: ‘Afghan Papers’ Wouldn’t Be Needed If We Had a Real Independent News Media
Brian Cloughley
Human Rights and Humbug in Washington
Stephen Leas
Hungry for a Livable Planet: Why I Occupied Pelosi’s Office for 13 Days
Saad Hafiz
Pakistan Must Face Its Past
Lawrence Davidson
Deteriorating Climates: Home and Abroad
Cal Winslow
The End of the Era: Nineteen Nineteen
Louis Proyect
If Time Magazine Celebrates Greta Thunberg, Why Should We?
Thomas Drake
Kafka Down Under: the Threat to Whistleblowers and Press Freedom in Australia
Thomas Knapp
JEDI Mind Tricks: Amazon Versus the Pentagon and Trump
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s War on the Poor
Michael Welton
Seeing the World Without Shadows: the Enlightenment Dream
Ron Jacobs
The Wind That Shook the Barley: the Politics of the IRA
Rivera Sun
Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis
Binoy Kampmark
The Bloomberg Factor: Authoritarianism, Money and US Presidential Politics
Nick Pemberton
Ideology Shall Have No Resurrection
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
What Trump and the GOP Learned From Obama
Ramzy Baroud
‘Elected by Donors’: the University of Cape Town Fails Palestine, Embraces Israel
Cesar Chelala
Unsuccessful U.S. Policy on Cuba Should End
Harry Blain
The Conservatism of Impeachment
Jill Richardson
Standardized Tests are Biased and Unhelpful
Norman Solomon
Will the Democratic Presidential Nomination Be Bought?
Howard Lisnoff
The One Thing That US Leaders Seem to Do Well is Lie
Jeff Cohen
Warren vs. Buttigieg Clash Offers Contrast with Sanders’ Consistency
Mel Gurtov
The Afghanistan Pentagon Papers
Gaither Stewart
Landslide … to Totalitarianism
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
How Blaming Nader in 2000 Paved the Way for Today’s Neo-Fascism
Steve Early
In Re-Run Election: LA Times Journalist Wins Presidency of NewsGuild 
Sarah Anderson
A Holiday Comeback for Toys ‘R’ Us?
Sherry Brennan
Cutting Food Aid Promotes Hunger Not Work
David Swanson
If You’re Not Busy Plotting Nonviolent Revolution for Peace and Climate, You’re Busy Dying
Nicky Reid
Sorry Lefties, Your Impeachment is Bullshit
John Kendall Hawkins
The Terror Report You Weren’t Meant to See
Susan Block
Krampus Trumpus Rumpus
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail