In the 24 years since 1992, back when American citizens were promised a peace dividend, defense budgets have gone down 8 times and up 16 times.
They went down a little . . . but up a lot.
These are, of course, the official defense budgets. A lot of defense spending is buried in other departments — for example, the Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security — or kept from the public entirely as “national security” secrets. Thus we are never allowed to know what the NSA or CIA, or ultra-hush-hush DIA spends. Then there’s the explosion of security agencies and contracting firms working in and around the Department of Homeland Security. It now has 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies allegedly keeping us safe. Who can keep track of all of this?
Actually, the Department of Defense can’t even keep track of its own money. The Pentagon itself has admitted it’s unable to account for $8.5 trillion allocated since 1996!
Having said all of this means the figure which follows is extremely low, a VERY CONSERVATIVE calculation of the degree to which the faith and trust of the American public has been abused.
Holding the official 1992 defense budget as a benchmark — meaning we’re not even talking about a reduction of defense spending, but just holding it steady from the year the Cold War ended — we subtracted when the annual budgetary allocation went down, and added when it went up.
Here’s the result. This does not count off-the-books expenditures, classified allocations, special budgeting for wars. This just takes into consideration the “official operating budget” of the Pentagon. It still adds up to a mind-boggling amount of money. Since being promised a “peace dividend” savings in our spending on war, the Department of Defense has blown an additional (are you ready for this?) . . .
For the zero-challenged, that’s over TWO-POINT-EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS! Placed end-to-end, two-point-eight trillion dollars would stretch to the sun and back more than twice. Stacked, two-point-eight trillion dollars would be 170,000 miles high, 2/3rds of the way to the moon.
This is just how much the defense budgets have increased since 1992, not how much the military spent in total.
And keep in mind, this is only the official defense budget. While the publicly announced budget for 2016 is $561 billion, many military economics experts put the real figure at around a trillion dollars.
While everyday American citizens are working harder for less, paying their fair share of hard-earned money in taxes, the out-of-control military establishment and foreign policy machinery treats them like an ATM machine for their misadventures and grotesque waste.
“Hey buddy, can you spare some change?”