The US Military Is the Biggest “Big Government” Entitlement Program on the Planet

And if we are truly honest with ourselves, we should admit that the wealth we all still share was built in no small part on the back of the military-industrial complex. There is a reason why 4.4 percent of the world’s population so easily consumes a quarter of the world’s resources. But now that model is atrophying.

The US Military Is the Biggest “Big Government” Entitlement Program on the Planet

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 The US Military Is the Biggest Entitlement Program on the Planet(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)   

The US economy is caught in a trap. That trap is the Department of Defense: an increasingly sticky wicket that relies on an annual, trillion-dollar redistribution of government-collected wealth. In fact, it’s the biggest “big government” program on the planet, easily beating out China’s People’s Liberation Army in both size and cost. It is not only the “nation’s largest employer,” with 2.867 million people currently on the payroll, but it also provides government benefits to 2 million retirees and their family members. And it actively picks private sector winners by targeting billions of dollars to an elite group of profit-seeking contractors.

This belligerent cash machine has Uncle Sam caught in a strange cycle of taxpayer-funded dependence that may ultimately be the most expensive — and least productive — jobs program in human history.

The top five overall recipients collectively pulled in $109.5 billion in FY2016, and their cohorts consistently dominate the government’s list of top 100 contractors. They reap this yearly largesse through a Rube-Goldberg-like system of influence peddlers, revolving doors and wasteful taxpayer-funded boondoggles. Finally, it is all justified by a deadly feedback loop of perpetual warfare that is predicated on a predictable supply of blowback.

But this belligerent cash machine doesn’t just produce haphazard interventions and shady partnerships with a motley assortment of strongmen, proxies and frenemies. It also has Uncle Sam caught in a strange cycle of taxpayer-funded dependence that may ultimately be the most expensive — and least productive — jobs program in human history.

That fact came into focus on June 14, 2017. That’s when Donald J. Trump enthusiastically participated in one of the presidency’s most time-honored traditions: he sold weapons to a foreign power.

Click on the title above to read the full article.

By JP Sottile  Truthout | News Analysis  December 10, 2017
Copyright, Truthout   permission


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