Ten Reasons Why Congress Should Cut the Pentagon Budget

Sep 21, 2010

See the PDF version.
  1. Military spending accounts for half of the discretionary budget – too big to ignore
  2. Military spending has doubled in the last ten years – worth taking a look at
  3. The Pentagon budget has a history of cost overruns -- $300 billion above what Congress authorized for various weapons systems in the last 5 years
  4. The Pentagon budget has not been accountable to Congress – no audits
  5. Pentagon contracting is out of control – standards, quality control and review for redundancies could yield significant efficiencies and savings. Retired Army Lt. General John Vines – we don’t even know if all this activity is making us safer.
  6. The U.S. military budget accounts for 46.5 percent of global military spending.
  7. U.S. presence in the world includes hundreds of military bases in Europe – particularly in Germany. Are these bases necessary to legitimate U.S. missions?
  8. The military budget is funding weapons systems that the Pentagon does not want or need for current missions.
  9. Military contracts are not a job-creation engine. Military dollars spent in a state yield the least number of jobs, compared to investments in health, education, transportation, and even tax cuts.
  10. 10. Local economies are not dependent on job creation through military contracts with private firms. In 42 states, at least 95 percent of the gross state domestic product does not arise from military contracts with local companies. The exceptions, Alaska, Connecticut, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, and Maryland, receive military contracts that equal between 5 and 6 percent of their State Domestic Products. Even in Virginia, which hosts the Pentagon, 90 percent of the state’s economy relies on non-military goods and services.

Notes:

  1. Military spending accounts for half of the discretionary budget: Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Historical Tables, table 8-9. For 2010, total discretionary budget authority (BA) = $1,247,265 million. Function 050 (military) discretionary BA = $717,125 million, 57%
  2. Military spending has doubled in the last ten years: (OMB) Historical Tables, Table 5-1. Function 050 BA in 2001 = $334,705 million; Function 050 BA in 2010 = $722,138 million.
  3. The Pentagon budget has a history of cost overruns. A March 2008 report of the Government Accountability Office (DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs #08-467SP) found that 95 major systems had exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and were delivered almost two years late on average.
  4. The Pentagon budget has not been audited, and is not auditable. Reuters, | Tue Oct 16, 2007 “Complete Pentagon audit still years away.”
  5. Pentagon contracting is out of control. The Washington Post, “Top Secret America” investigative series. Statement by Ret. Army Lt. General John Vines , page 3.
  6. The U.S. military budget accounts for 46.5% of global military spending.
  7. U.S. presence in the world includes hundreds of military bases in Europe – particularly in Germany. Debt, Deficits & Defense: A Way Forward, page 17.
  8. The military budget is funding weapons systems that the Pentagon does not want or need for current missions. For example, the F-22.
  9. Military contractors are not a job-creation engine. “Why Military Spending Creates Fewer Jobs than Alternatives (Clean Energy, Health Care, Education): “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities,” Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, October 2007
  10. Local economies are not dependent on job creation through military dollars. “Comparison of 2008 State Domestic Product to Value of Military Contracts
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