[News] 2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!

Anti-Imperialist News 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 
For example:

    “$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
    nation’s poorest.

    *+ $207 billion in cuts to the student loan program, *eliminating
    the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and cutting subsidized
    student loans.

    + 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 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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