The Big-Spending Republicans and the Military Industrial Complex: Part I

“Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter.”  Dick Cheney

Often, I am criticized for making negative remarks about another person’s politics, one’s preference for political candidates, and the tandem threat of the GOP and Fox News (fair and balanced, of course), but not necessarily in that order.  It is a fair criticism, too, for I have been relentless in attempting to skewer the Republicans for all their blatant stealing by picking the pockets of innocent American taxpayers.  Republicans stealing?  Well, I never.  But let me explain.  When a president like (take Reagan, puh-lease) stumps hard in his 8 years in the White House to beef up our military so the United States (under God, of course) could bring Russia (he called them the Evil Empire) to their knees, what does that tell you?  At the time I thought the world must think us to be quite loony, not to mention Biblically-corrupted nut cases.  During those 8 years in the White House Reagan attacked and sent troops into Grenada.  Stayed only a couple of weeks then decided Grenada was safe again from Communism, and the U.S. troops departed.  My, my, and didn’t Reagan have some of our Tom Cat jet fighters strafe Libya, too?  The Pentagon had to pinch themselves at Reagan’s ability to inspire military buildup and borrowing the funds to do such a good job during peacetime.  It was a Hollywood masterpiece.  Reagan was convincing.  But what did we get for our military money spent during Reagan’s 8-years in the White House? 

First, in Reagan’s goading Congress successfully during peacetime to borrow and spend an astonishing $3 Trillion that America did not have in our Treasury, just WTF did it accomplish?  Well, that little presidential wink-and-nod play cost taxpayers the $3 Trillion PLUS interest compounded on that very amount since Reagan left office, and, well that is 24 years of compounded interest. Duuuude!  At 3% compounded for 24 years?  Please don’t tell me the damage that piece of “conservative” slight of hand work did to our Treasury.  So what did we get for our money?  Better still what did Cheney mean when he said, “Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter?!!!”  And what part did that little borrowing and spending spree that elated the Military Industrial Complex play in Ben Bernanke’s Frankenstein printing more U.S. Dollars as America scrambles to pay its debts NOW?  AND don’t forget the gargantuan interest on the National Debt!  But, no, just take the $3 Trillion by itself; what did it cost us common folk American taxpayers in the long and short run, financially?  How much does it cost us to pay the Chinese EVERY YEAR just to pay the interest on just the $3 Trillion Reagan borrowed and spent to bring Russia to its knees?  And what does it really say about the Great Communicator now that years later our own National Debt is at $15 Trillion and Russia is in the black, flaunting a $2 Trillion surplus to the world and the dumb ass Yanks that tried to bring Mother Russia to her knees?  Thank you very much, Gipper.  Russia must have been doing just fine all those years they spent on their knees, what?  And we know that Halliburton was doing fine, too, but that’s another story, isn’t it?

The interest we pay China does not benefit one single American!  It does not pay a PENNY for healthcare, no SCHIPS (affordable healthcare for children of low-income families), or one dime to fund Social Security, Medicare, or college Pell Grants or Education funding of any kind, for that matter.  NOTHING.  The interest we have to scramble to pay due to reckless borrowing and spending on an imaginary foe, The Evil Empire of Russia, if you please, has shown us smooth-out how the Gipper sold America down the river!  And the interest we now pay has contributed greatly to the killing of our Dollar and the demise of America’s financial survival.  And the thunderclouds of INFLATION looming on the horizon. Each and every year, that interest the U.S. must pay China (thank you Dick Cheney for your sage comments on how Reagan taught us deficits don’t matter) plus other vast amounts of borrowing and spending has brought us to the edge of the financial cliff.  Sweet.  The only thing at this point that is keeping America alive is the money it can borrow and continue to borrow from the Chinese (China now owns $1.2 Trillion of U.S. Debt).  Or the Japanese (Japan holds $1.01 Trillion of U.S. National Debt).  The American people don’t even own a paltry $1 Trillion of U.S. Debt (makes you go slack-jawed, don’t it?), but others like the U.K., Brazil, own triple-digit Billions of dollars of U.S. Debt.  We taxpayers pay big interest to all the foreign countries that lend us money to operate as a sovereign nation, and we get NOTHING for it!  Cheney was right:  Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter, but he was not talking about us, the common American taxpayer.  He was talking about the good old boys, the Military Industrial Complex like his own Halliburton that gets to sell Uncle Sam $500 hammers on NO-BID contracts.  And if that don’t burn a taxpayer’s ass or two we must all be brain-dead.  But I think it’s plain that Cheney wasn’t talking about us, the American taxpayer.

Imagine what we could have done with the interest if we did not have to pay it to the likes of China with no benefit to America or Americans.  Just imagine.  To borrow and spend in peacetime to defeat the Evil Empire sounds fanatically Biblical.  And stupid.  Russia is alive and well, thank you very much Mr. Reagan, and has a $2 Trillion dollar surplus in their Treasury when America has a deplorable $15 Trillion dollar debt (and counting).  The Evil Empire is in the black and has a SURPLUS, O Great Communicator, and we American hamburger-flippers here in America are still manufacturing products like fries and Big Macs here at McDonald’s.

But if such high-level stealing is true, then who is the thief?  A GOP president labeled the thief in question quite well.  Ike said to beware of the Military Industrial Complex.  Broken down, Ike said there were corporations who were willing to spend billions of dollars to get lucrative NO-BID government contracts.  So who did these arms and hardware companies steal from?  Why us, the American people, who else?  Taxes flow into the U.S. Treasury.  Congress and the president recommend and approve military budgets.  U.S. Treasury dollars flow out to the Pentagon and Military Industrial Complex corporations who charge Uncle Sam $500 for a single hammer!  Is it rocket science to predict that the Pentagon and Halliburton are living beyond our means?  Or that a friend in the White House and Congress can pull it off?  No matter how much it all stinks?

So how do they manage to pull it off?  Is the American taxpayer in such a deep coma that he doesn’t notice?  How does this love affair between government and the Military Industrial Complex manage to deceive the American taxpayer?  It still befuddles my world when that question is asked because it appears that Congress is more than willing to award contracts at bizarre high prices to these Military Industrial Complex corporations.  And what is Congress’ reward for doing so?  Well very large sums of campaign contributions to insure their reelection, maybe?  You think?

So that isn’t exactly stealing is it?  Duh…YES.  Think it might be a bit subversive and dishonest to allow certain favored corporations the right to sell Uncle Sam jet fighters, tanks, or firearms without the litmus test of competition bidders to keep the whole thing honest?  You know, like in allowing other companies to make a competitive bid on the military hardware we are paying for with our tax dollars?  How do we know if the bid is a good one?  How do we know that the company with the no-bid contract is not gouging us, the taxpayer who must pay Uncle Sam’s bills?  Well, the no-bid price of $500 for a single hammer is a pretty good indicator, right?  And after all whose tax dollar is it?

The GAO has tried to collar these government-spending thieves before for all things our government arbitrarily says it needs to function.  Some of the GAO findings reveal that in many instances exorbitant prices are paid out to these NO-BID government contractors selling products and services to the U.S. Government:  $500 hammers and $600 toilet seats.  And in my view, when you can buy a hammer, a good hammer, at The Home Depot for $19.95 there must be a thief in the equation.  When your government, if it were to decide to exercise its very oath to serve in the best interests of you and me, I think they might become conscientious buyers, e.g., and emulate Wal-Mart who shops the best price for its bottom line and its stockholders.  Our government is a runaway train full of drunken thieves who are laughing their way down the track of our own destruction.  By stealing and pocketing tax dollars that belong to the people who paid their taxes in good faith that our representatives would exercise prudence and fiduciary control over our tax dollars.  And to serve us, the people, not the corporations who bribe them with huge sums of money tagged as campaign contributions.  Have they no shame?  Can Dick Cheney really believe that “Deficits don’t matter.” without feeling a twinge of guilt?  Will Satan have a change of heart and begin to do charity work for the Salvation Army? 

So why do I pick on Republicans when the Democrats have their own way of abusing the American taxpayer?  I will get to them next in Part II, but let me say that under 8 years of Reagan and 8 years of Bush II (who borrowed and spent even more than Reagan:  a cool $4 Trillion), I become very sad to think that our country has been stolen away by bandits apparently in bed with government, the very lethal union of thieves that Ike warned us about.  Stay tuned.