Newsflash:
Friday, 07 December 2012 19:54

Toss Wasteful Defense Weapons Programs Off the Cliff

Written by  Rep. Barbara Lee | Huffington Post

Many of us in the Congressional Progressive Caucus recognize that no serious plan to address the deficit can go forward without defense spending reforms on the table. The bloated Pentagon budget has increased a staggering 95 percent dating back to 2000. We continue to spend billions upon billions of dollars on a nuclear arsenal and Cold War-era weapons system designed to fight a phantom Soviet army.

The Cold War is over and the Soviet Union long gone -- nonetheless, today we are spending above Cold War levels in real, inflation-corrected terms. It is time to say enough is enough; we need to rein in Pentagon spending after the last decade of unchecked increases, and spend our security dollars wisely on proven programs that can meet our national security goals.

The Pentagon currently spends as much on the military as the next 12 to 15 countries combined, most of whom are allies. It dwarfs all other federal agencies in money lost to waste, fraud and abuse and is the only agency not subject to an annual audit.

Two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. spends more in inflation-adjusted dollars than at the height of the Cold War. We need to adjust our approach to fit current threats by realigning our force structure.

There are many proposals out from a wide variety of groups from across the political spectrum detailing defense savings on par or beyond the cuts called for under the sequestration portion of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Project for Defense Alternatives, CATO Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Center for American Progress, and Bowles-Simpson Commission have all called for deep cuts in defense spending ranging from $350 to $590 billion beyond the cuts already in place.

While the programs and methods targeted vary, the common theme shared by all is that vast savings can be realized by treating the Pentagon like any other government agency that is subject to oversight and transparency standards. Nearly 60 cents of every federal discretionary dollar now goes toward defense spending, and by the Pentagon's own admission, it cannot properly account for how the money is spent. There is no doubt that these circumstances have contributed to instances of waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon. It is past time to audit the Pentagon just like the 34 other Executive branch agencies. That is why I introduced H.R. 6528, the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2012, and plan on reintroducing it for the 113th Congress.

If we do not take this opportunity to review our defense spending, then we will continue on the status quo that leaves the United States as the default global policeman. Given the relative wealth of our allies, it does not make financial or strategic sense to assume such a massive burden in effectively subsidizing our allies' security.

So as President Obama and leaders in Congress seek to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff", any agreement must address the immense contribution that the Pentagon makes to the debt. Without defense spending reforms on the table to modernize our security budget, there is no pathway back to the budget surplus we enjoyed before the decade of unchecked defense spending took off.


Follow Rep. Barbara Lee on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RepBarbaraLee      
 
Original article on Huffington Post
Read 2602 times Last modified on Friday, 07 December 2012 19:59

PDA In Your State

Progressive Round Table

Please make plans to join us for the July Progressive Round Table. We will focus on Declaring our Independence from Wall Street and Corporate Control. Please join Progressive Democrats of America and many others Wednesday, July 16 from 1 to 3pm in Rayburn 2103. Livestreamed anywhere you are by We Act Radio. Featuring: Andrea Miller - Detroit Water Shutoff Update Rep. Keith Ellison (HR 1579 - Inclusive Prosperity Act) Rep. Jim McGovern (HJ Res20 & 21 - Corporations are NOT People and Money is NOT Speech) Rep. Jim McDermott - HR 4754 - Managed Carbon Price Act of 2014 Rep. Mark Pocan - Trans Pacific Partnership Emily Wurth - Food and Water Watch Public Banking - BankAct - Marc Armstrong Robin Hood Tax Campaign - Kenn Zinn,National Nurses United Jacqui Nantier - We Are Woman - ERA and Voting Rights DC Rally American Sustainable Business Council - Stephen Shaff Labor Campaign for Single Payer - Mark Dudzic Trey Hawkins - Credit Union National Association Witold Skwierczynski - AFGE - Stop the closing of Social Security Offices Please contact Andrea Miller andrea@pdamerica.org for more information about how to get involved with PDA, and / or with PDA's July Round Table meeting. Hope you can join us!

PDA's July Congressional Roundtable


PDA’s July Congressional Roundtable
PDA June Roundtable
PDA June Roundtable
7007 sec.
Views: 164
PDA’s Progressive Roundtable
PDA's Progressive Roundtable
4978 sec.
Views: 196
PDA April Roundtable
PDA April Roundtable
6526 sec.
Views: 141

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

PDA in the Media