Congress will work on a bill with the largest impact on U.S. taxpayers after its Fourth of July break. The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, will authorize funding of the Pentagon for fiscal 2018. It won’t get the screaming headlines or 24/7 cable news coverage devoted to issues of much lesser weight. The Pentagon’s budget proposal of $639.1 billion is 56 percent of all discretionary spending and is $40 billion more than the fiscal 2017 Pentagon budget. By comparison, in fiscal 2017, the Pentagon budget was 74 times larger than that of the Environmental Protection Agency. The fiscal 2018 proposals would result in a military budget 114 times larger than EPA’s.
Pentagon spending is clearly the elephant in the room. In spite of the elephant metaphor, Pentagon spending is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue. Neither political party has raised any substantive objection to military spending for years. And in spite of Republican dissing of “entitlements,” neither party has done anything to stem the flow of taxpayer money to the “entitled” military-industrial complex.
The Trump administration and both political parties expect nothing more than marginal objections to the military-spending bill. However, it is good to be reminded by Thomas Jefferson “that an informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.” The bill is not a fait accompli. Become informed, look at your pocketbooks and at the dismal prospect of perpetual war, and tell your employees in Congress, ”enough.”
— Ed Flaherty