Imagine for a moment that I told you Congress was suddenly teetering at the edge of passing a $95-billion bill to give many more Americans reasonable health care. No, it really doesn’t sound likely, does it? Okay, then, how about Congress teetering at the edge of passing just such a bill to further arm Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan with American weaponry of all sorts? Oh wait, it may be to arm those countries further, but it’s also to fund the giant all-American arms-makers, those key components of the military-industrial-congressional complex, since money for weaponry meant for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan will actually go directly to them, as TomDispatch regular and Pentagon expert William Hartung explains today.
Oh, and just imagine for a moment that, should those arms companies get such near-record funding anytime soon, some of that money — count on it — will be poured into endless cost overruns and distinctly dysfunctional weapons systems. You want an example? Take Boeing, which should be considered the poster child for such a reality right now. If you’ve been watching the nightly news, I’m sure you’ve noticed those Boeing 737 Max 9 commercial jets that were discovered to be missing door bolts after a door plug from one of them fell 16,000 feet into an Oregon backyard.
What’s been far less noticed is that Boeing has an unnervingly similar record when it comes to building military aircraft. Take, for instance, the new Boeing aerial refueling tanker, meant to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of such planes. It simply doesn’t work. At the cost of a genuine fortune, it’s years behind schedule, plagued by major deficiencies, way over cost, and still not fully ready for use. Similarly, in early December, after a crash near Japan killed eight airmen, the Pentagon grounded its full fleet of Boeing CV-22 Ospreys (which have experienced 10 fatal crashes that have killed 57 people over the last 23 years). And that’s just to list the problems of two Boeing aircraft.
With that in mind, let Hartung explore an all-American world in which taxpayer dollars continue to pour into the military-industrial complex and how efficiently that “arsenal of democracy” responds by delivering ever less to Americans. He offers, in fact, a shocking vision of where our tax dollars are really going and why that’s bad for us. Tom
Biden Touts the Alleged Benefits of the “Arsenal of Democracy”
Joe Biden wants you to believe that spending money on weapons is good for the economy. That tired old myth -- regularly repeated by the political leaders of both parties -- could help create an even more militarized economy that could threaten our peace and prosperity for decades to come. Any short-term gains from pumping in more arms spending will be more than offset by the long-term damage caused by crowding out new industries and innovations, while vacuuming up funds needed to address other urgent national priorities.
The Biden administration’s sales pitch for the purported benefits of military outlays began in earnest last October, when the president gave a rare Oval Office address to promote a $106-billion emergency allocation that included tens of billions of dollars of weaponry for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. MAGA Republicans in Congress had been blocking the funding from going forward and the White House was searching for a new argument to win them over. The president and his advisers settled on an answer that could just as easily have come out of the mouth of Donald Trump: jobs, jobs, jobs. As Joe Biden put it:Read More