[News] 2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 17 10:31:15 EDT 2019
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
by Ajamu Baraka <https://www.counterpunch.org/author/cuxere/> - May 17, 2019
U.S. ships are involved in provocative “freedom of navigation” exercises
in the South China Sea and other ships gather ominously in the
Mediterranean Sea while National Security Advisor John Bolton and
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo along with convicted war criminal
Elliot Abrams conspire to save the people of Venezuela with another
illegal “regime change” intervention. But people are drawn to the latest
adventures of Love and Hip-Hop, the Mueller report, and Game of Thrones.
In fact, while millions can recall with impressive detail the proposals
and strategies of the various players in HBO’s latest saga, they can’t
recall two details about the pending military budget that will likely
pass in Congress with little debate, even though Trump’s budget proposal
represents another obscene increase of public money to the tune of $750
This bipartisan rip-off could not occur without the willing collusion of
the corporate media, which slants coverage to support the interests of
the ruling elite or decides to just ignore an issue like the
ever-expanding military budget.
The effectiveness of this collusion is reflected in the fact that not
only has this massive theft of public money not gotten much coverage in
the mainstream corporate media, but also it only received sporadic
coverage in the alternative media. The liberal-left media is distracted
enough by the theatrics of the Trump show to do the ideological dirty
work of the elites.
Spending on war will consume almost 70% of the budget and be accompanied
by cuts in public spending for education, housing, the environment,
public transportation, jobs trainings, food support programs like food
stamps and Meals on Wheels, as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social
Security. Most of the neoliberal candidates running in the Democratic
Party’s electoral process, however, haven’t spoken a word in opposition
to Trump’s budget.
The public knows that the Democratic Party’s candidates are opposed to
Trump’s wall on the southern border, and they expect to hear them raise
questions about the $8.6 billion of funding the wall. But while some of
the Democrats may oppose the wall, very few have challenged the details
of the budget that the U.S. Peace Council indicates
“$576 billion baseline budget for the Department of Defense; an
additional $174 billion for the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency
Operations (OCO), i.e., the war budget; $93.1 billion for the
Department of Veterans Affairs; $51.7 billion for Homeland Security;
$42.8 billion for State Department; an additional $26.1 billion for
State Department’s Overseas Contingency Operations (regime change
slush fund); $16.5 billion for the Department of Energy’s National
Nuclear Security Administration (nuclear weapons budget); $21
billion for NASA (militarizing outer space?); plus $267.4 billion
for all other government agencies, including funding for FBI and
Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice.”
The Peace Council also highlights the following two issues: First, the
total US military and war budget has jumped from $736.4 billion to
$989.0 billion since 2015. That is a $252.6 billion (about 35%) increase
in five years. Second, the simultaneous cuts in the government’s
non-military spending are reflected in the proposed budget.
Here are some of biggest proposed budget cuts:
*+ $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid*over 10 years, implementing
work requirements as well as eliminating the Medicaid expansion
under the Affordable Care Act. The budget instead adds *$1.2
trillion for a “Market Based Health Care Grant”*— that is, a block
grant to states, instead of paying by need. It’s not clear whether
that would be part of Medicaid.
*+ An $845 billion cut to Medicare*over 10 years. That is about a
*10 percent cut*.
*+ $25 billion in cuts to Social Security*over 10 years, including
cuts to disability insurance.
*+ A $220 billion cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program**(SNAP) over 10 years*, which is commonly referred to as
food stamps, and includes mandatory work requirements. The program
currently serves around 45 million people.
*+ A $21 billion cut to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families*, an
already severely underfunded cash-assistance program for the
*+ $207 billion in cuts to the student loan program, *eliminating
the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and cutting subsidized
+ Overall, there is a *9 percent cut to non-defense programs*, which
would hit *Section 8 housing vouchers, public housing programs, Head
Start, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program*, among others. Here’s a
breakdown from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a
liberal leaning think tank:
The working classes and oppressed peoples of the U.S. and around the
world can no longer afford the unchallenged ideological positions of the
Pentagon budget and the associated expenditures for so-called defense
that are considered sacrosanct in the U.S. They cannot afford that much
of the U.S. public is not concerned with issues of so-called foreign
policy that the military budget is seen as part.
The racist appeals of U.S. national chauvinism in the form of “Make
America Great” and the Democrats’ version of “U.S. Exceptionalism” must
be confronted and exposed as the cross-class, white identity politics
that they are. The fact that supposedly progressive or even “radical”
politics does not address the issue of U.S. expenditures on war and
imperialism is reflective of a politics that is morally and political
bankrupt. But it also does something else. It places those practitioners
firmly in the camp of the enemies of humanity.
The objective fact that large numbers of the public accept that the U.S.
can determine the leadership of another sovereign nation while
simultaneously being outraged by the idea of a foreign power interfering
in U.S. elections demonstrates the mindboggling subjective
contradictions that exist in the U.S. For example – that an Alexandra
Ocasio-Cortez can assert that she will defer to the leadership of her
caucus on the issue of Venezuela or that Barbara Lee can vote to bring
Trump’s budget proposal out of committee or that Biden can proudly
support Trump’s immoral backing of a neo-fascist opposition in Venezuela
/and/they will all get away with those positions – reveals the
incredible challenge that we face in building an alternative radical
movement for peace, social justice and people(s)-centered human rights.
So, we must join with U.S. Peace Council
and the other members of the Anti-war, pro-peace, and anti-imperialist
communities in the U.S. to “resist and oppose this military attack on
our communities, our livelihoods and our lives.” This is an urgent and
militant first step in reversing the cultural support for violence and
the normalization of war that currently exists in the U.S. Now is the
moment to demand that Congress reject and reverse the Trump
Administration’s military budget and the U.S. Government’s militaristic
foreign policy. But now is also the moment to commit to building a
powerful countermovement to take back the power over life and death from
the denizens of violence represented by the rapacious 1%.
/*Ajamu Baraka* is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for
Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party
ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda
Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch magazine. /
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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