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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 1, 2010

OBAMA PLANS RECORD POST-WWII MILITARY BUDGET. . .GATES PROMISES CONTRACTORS IT WILL KEEP GROWING

Gov Exec - The Obama administration's request for $538 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal 2010 and its stated intention to maintain a high level of funding in the coming years put the president on track to spend more on defense, in real dollars, than any other president has in one term of office since World War II. And that's not counting the additional $130 billion the administration is requesting to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, with even more war spending slated for future years

Politico - Defense Secretary Robert Gates hosted a meeting with the nation's top defense company executives, stressing the need for a closer partnership with them and pledging to work with the White House to secure steady growth in the Pentagon's budgets over time, according to his spokesman.

David Sirota, Salon - The 2010 Pentagon budget means "every man, woman and child in the United States will spend more than $2,700 on (defense) programs and agencies next year," reports the Cato Institute. "By way of comparison, the average Japanese spends less than $330; the average German about $520; China's per capita spending is less than $100."

"(The Pentagon budget) dwarfs the combined defense budgets of U.S. allies and potential U.S. enemies alike," reports Hearst Newspapers. * "President (Obama) is on track to spend more on defense, in real dollars, than any other president has in one term of office since World War II," reports National Journal's Government Executive magazine.

In 2000, the Pentagon admitted it has lost -- yes, lost -- $2.3 trillion. In 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a subsequent Department of Defense study said it was only $1 trillion. To put such numbers in perspective, contemplate what those sums could finance. $1 trillion, for instance, could pay the total cost of universal healthcare for the long haul. $2.3 trillion would cover universal healthcare plus the bank bailout plus the stimulus package.

And who pushes this madness? Among others, the thoughtless tank, Brookings Institute, where O';Hannon is a senior Pentagon pimp.

Michael O'Hanlon, Washington Post - After three months of very impressive decisions regarding national security, President Obama made perhaps his first significant mistake. It concerns the defense budget, where his plans are insufficient to support the national security establishment over the next five years. . .

The administration is hardly slashing funds for defense; it is simply adopting a policy of zero real growth in the "base budget" (the part that does not include war costs, which are too unpredictable to include in this analysis). Specifically, the base budget is to grow 2 percent a year over the next five years. But with the inflation rate expected to average over 1.5 percent, the net effect is essentially no real growth. Cumulatively, that would leave us about $150 billion short of actual funding requirements through 2014.


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