In Le Monde, 26 April 2008, Chalmers Johnson wrote: The Pentagon Strangles Our Economy: Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke
Among the points made by Johnson:
1. Bush’s Pentagon failed to think about how it was going to finance its imperialist wars, just as Enron failed to think how it was going to finance its schemes.
2. In 2008, the United States is having a problem finding to money to maintain its ‘high’ living standards and its large military.
3. The Bush government puts off these costs for future generations to deal with.
4. In the year 2008, the US is spending ‘insane’ amounts of money on ‘defense’ projects that ‘bear no relation to the national security of the U.S’.
5. The US is keeping income tax very low for the very rich.
6. The US is losing factories and jobs to foreign countries. The US is unwisely trying to compensate for this by spending more on the miliary.
7. The US is failing to invest in ‘social’ infrastructure, such as education, health pollution control and the provision of manufacturing jobs.
8. The US military budget for 2008 is larger than all other nations’ military budgets combined.
9. The supplementary budget to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China.
10. Defense-related spending for 2008 will exceed $1 trillion.
11. Defense spending has more than doubled since the mid-1990s.
12. Some 30-40% of the defense budget is ‘black,’ involving hidden expenditures for classified projects.
13. Members of Congress profit from defense spending and pork-barrel projects in their areas.
14. $23.4bn of Department of Energy money goes on developing and maintaining nuclear warheads.
$25.3bn in the Department of State budget is spent on foreign military assistance (primarily for Israel).
The Department of Veterans Affairs gets at least $75.7bn.
$46.4bn goes to the Department of Homeland Security.
$38.5bn from the Department of the Treasury goes to the Military Retirement Fund.
$7.6bn goes to the military-related activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
There is well over $200bn in interest for past debt-financed defense spending.
This brings U.S. spending for the military to at least $1.1 trillion.
15. In 2007, the U.S. Treasury declared that the national debt was over $9 trillion.
In 1981, the national debt was $1 trillion.
16. The US goes in for military Keynesianism: a permanent war economy.
“By 1990 the value of the weapons, equipment and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in U.S. manufacturing”.
17. In 2007, the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington released a study on the long-term economic result of increased military spending. This study showed that after 6 years the effect of increased military spending turns negative. The study concluded: “most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.”
The historian Thomas E Woods Jr. noted that, during the 1950s and 1960s, between one-third and two-thirds of all U.S. research talent went into the military sector.
18. The US has seen a decline in its manufacturing industry and its basic infrastructure.