Tuesday, February 2, 2010

D-E-F-E-N-S-E Spells Predictable Assault on Better Budget Priorities

No progressive budget without cutting military spending

Winding up to blog about federal spending, in general, and military spending in particular. Two weeks ago, I was on Michael James' Saturday morning radio show, broadcasting from the Heartland Cafe, for about twenty minutes. It was fun, but not nearly long enough for big fun. Michael and I connected briefly on a couple of things. Most important, as the show wrapped up, I laid out my best "old man" advice for progressives working on specific causes. Paraphrased, it went something like this: "Whether activists are focused on health care, affordable housing, public education or anything else, everyone ought to include military spending on their priority list. It is difficult to make substantial progress on those other issues as long as militarism and military spending shape the budget to the tune of $1 trillion plus annually."

Here are some websites and posts I'm reading and will use as a source for a longer post on military spending:

The Security Spending Primer from the National Priorities Project. The primer was developed based on the 2009/2010 federal budget, so some of it is about a year old. But the principles and perspective are absolutely current and appropriate to any discussion of the US military budget.

A liberal, broad-brush perspective on the need for Congress and the President to exercise greater control over the relentless growth of tax expenditures, written by Len Burman, a former assistant Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. The article ran in today's Washington Post and is available here.

An article in today's Post (about the recent firing of the general in charge of "the Pentagon's most expensive weapons system."The story, "Defense secretary Gates fires general in charge of Joint Strike Fighter program," is here.

A good piece by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation, is here.

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