The US piggy bank is empty

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The low-key announcements of several military retrenchment measures suggest to me that the US plutocracy is sufficiently frightened by the negative economic diagnosis to abandon its recreational drug of choice: military spending. Here are the clues:

1. Today brought news of the abandonment of a costly “missile shield” to be deployed in Europe. Not only does this remove an irritant in diplomatic relations with Russia and Europe, but it portends big cutbacks in the development and deployment budgets for all Star Wars missile defense programs.

2. America has suddenly developed a lively interest in free and fair elections in Afghanistan. This is consistent with the need to de-legitimize our puppet government in order to prepare for exiting this costly and futile “war.”

3. Iraq withdrawal plans appear to be picking up speed, with no signs that an upsurge of violence in Iraq will lead to second thoughts.

4. A few bloated defense procurement programs have actually been cancelled, including F22 production and an alternate engine for the F35.

The plutocrats are very afraid that they will not be able to make the bellicose American public go cold turkey when huge defense cuts come. But defense is the only place left to cut, and they know that a hard economic rain is going to fall when the current Fed cash-for-everything bubble pops.

The British and Soviet empires did not give up their military toys until their economies collapsed. We are following a similar course. We should have done so much sooner.

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  1. abandoned – it’s been re-tasked — to create more instability vis a vis Iran.

    • Edger on September 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Pentagon Study Proposes Overhaul of Defense Base Act to Cover Care for Injured Contractors

    September 15, 2009

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress could save as much as $250 million a year through a sweeping overhaul of the controversial U.S. system to care for civilian contractors injured in war zones, according to a new Pentagon study.

    In the most extensive review ever of the taxpayer-financed system, the Pentagon suggested that the government could issue its own insurance to cover the skyrocketing costs of medical care and disability pay for injured civilians.

    Currently, the U.S. pays more than $400 million annually to AIG and a handful of other carriers to purchase special workers’ compensation insurance policies required for overseas civilian contractors by a law known as the Defense Base Act, the study found.

    By cutting out insurance company profits as high as 35 percent, the government could self-insure the contractors for less money, according to a copy of the study obtained by ProPublica. The study is due to be released Friday.

    The Pentagon’s suggestion would require a massive legislative revision of the government’s 60-year-old system to care for injured civilians, which has been criticized as expensive and ineffective for modern war zones where civilian contractors account for half the work force.

    Despite the possible savings, it remains unclear whether anyone in Congress will champion such a bill. And the Pentagon hedged its bets by saying that it would pursue reforms to the current system of private insurance while “considering” the pursuit of legislative authority to change to a system of self insurance.

    Such a proposal could also improve the delivery of care to injured contractors, the report found. Civilian contractors have faced protracted battles with insurance carriers to obtain medical treatment and disability pay, according to an investigation by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC News.

    Although, I suppose the Pentagon could just as well decide that they’d save even more money by simply not providing any medical care at all to civilians, an idea which would seem to be more in line with current thinking in Washington.

    • Inky99 on September 17, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    This is a great essay, but I just don’t see it in the political or even the public zeitgeist that military budget cuts are anywhere on the horizon.

    Whenever the talk is of defecits, government spending, the collapsing dollar, etc., nobody EVER, with the exception of a few Austrian-school economists who aren’t even from this country, seems to even consider the massive billions that we spend on war toys and imperialism.

    But I sure hope somebody figures it out.

    My fear is that America’s military won’t go down without a big nasty fight.  

    • banger on September 18, 2009 at 5:46 am

    It is hard to imagine that the military-industrial complex will have to pare down. But we can’t look at this in isolation. It seems to me that the most interesting struggle in the middle part of this decade has been between the international financiers and the American militarists. War and instability are bad for the international economy–some war is good but the sort of nonsense the American military had been up to threatened to sour the international markets–and I think it did. Besides, the U.S. military did very poorly in Iraq and Afghanistan (bribing Sunni leaders with American and Saudi money is not a military strategy). The financial community must find new enforcers that can do the job efficiently. I think they have found it in the rapidly expanding netherworld of private armies, mercenaries and the black ops/organized crime. The only reason the U.S. military has for being is that they provide jobs for people–they have a poor record of fighting.

    The oligarchy is now international not national so they don’t care so much about American hegemony and American jobs and prosperity. I suspect we in this country are about to experience increasing privations if we are lucky and social chaos if we are not. But this won’t seriously effect the oligarchy unless it happens too suddenly.

    Also, the “missle shield” was always aimed at Russia not Iran. Part of the reason for this change is that it looks like this administration wants to stop trying to confront the Russian oligarchy and live with them instead.

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