On May 30, 2010 at 10:06 a.m.the National Priorities Project /Cost of War counter – designed to count the total money spent for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – reached the $1 trillion mark.

Meanwhile, a report  recently released by the US-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (CACN),  finds that the United States remains the global leader in defense spending.
In a terrific article full of facts and figures by Yana Kunichoff called “Defense Spending the Top Priority, Critics Fear” of May 30th at Truthout, the author cites figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that shows in 2007 the U.S. spent 4.1% of its Gross National Product on defense. http://www.truthout.org/defense-spending-top-priority-critics-fear59967 That compares with under 2% for Germany and about 3% for Greece (largely bankrupt because of weapons spending). Here’s another mind blowing stat:  the USA spends 44% of the GLOBAL TOTAL for weapons spending according to the Stockholm people!  

What is especially troublesome about all of this is that defense/weapons spending during the Obama administration is up 8% over what is was under Bush.  Recall too that Obama has kept on the entire shrub management over at DOD and, indeed, has promoted many of W’s generals (like McCrystal).

From the Truthout article:

The Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2009 “Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country” report  says the U.S. has 1,417,747 troops in more than 138 countries around the world, including the U.S, with 285,773 of them abroad.

…the U.S. budget deficit is $1.27 trillion and accruing interest. According to a graph  in the Washington Post about President Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, $895 billion is expected to be allocated to defense spending and $730 billion to social security.

Recall that President Obama has set up a deficit reduction committee and packed it with people like Alice Rivlin and Anne Fudge who have called for cuts in social security (and for privatizing it).  At the same time, this supposedly Democratic administration is calling for cuts into the signature FDR program, it has cut zilch from DOD spending.  That’s up, as reported, 8% over Bush’s budgets!  

Maybe since Obama was a community organizer in Chicago it’s fitting to end this diary with a quotation from a Chicago school teacher that begins the Truthout article:

“On the front lines in public schools and places like Chicago where I teach, we are seeing devastating budget cuts,” said Jesse Sharkey, a ninth and twelfth grade social studies teacher at Senn High School in Chicago.

“It’s very apparent when you think about the spending priorities in our country that there seems to always be enough money for military adventures overseas but not enough for our classrooms at home.”

It is sad to see the Democratic Party shifting ever farther to the right, away really from the ideals that made it so successful for so many years.  We should be spending more, not less, on schools, teachers, the elderly, housing and health care. If budget hawks want a budgetary target, why not start with the costly and unnecessary military bases the USA still has in Germany and Japan, 65 years after those countries were vanquished?  

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