America’s War Economy

If this President has his way, the US will next year be spending more on its military (adjusted for inflation) than at any time since the Second World War.

The official Pentagon budget for 2009 runs to $515bn, or around 4 per cent of America's total economy, and about the same size as the entire output of the Netherlands.

Throw in an expected $150bn of supplementary outlays and you've got defense spending larger than Australia's entire gross domestic product.

Add in various "black items", such as military spending tucked away in other parts of government, and some claim that America's total annual spending on the military now exceeds a trillion dollars – roughly half the entire British economy.

President Eisenhower famously referred to a "military-industrial complex". A better term, however, is perhaps an "Iron Triangle" whose three corners are the Pentagon, arms manufacturers, and – most important – Congress.

Arms manufacturer Lockheed operates in 45 of the 50 states, where its factories provide jobs, and the Congressmen and Senators from those States will do anything to keep them. Far from voting less money for the Pentagon, they often provide more than the President of the day is seeking, to finance extra projects – needed or not – if that will keep the money flowing into their district. And, fearful of appearing soft on defense, few will oppose them. Thus the spending merry-go-round continues.

[Excerpt of an article by Rupert Cornwell, The Independent]

1 comment:

RoseCovered Glasses said...

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

Politicians make no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:



Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see: