Obama Put Wall Street on notice but what about military industries?
Joe Volk, FCNL
As I heard him last night, when President Obama addressed a Joint Session of Congress, he spoke truth to power on Wall Street. Basically he said, "Thanks to your greed, narcissism, lack of foresight, short term priorities, and a disregard for the long term, America is not number one anymore; you will change your ways or be replaced." Good for our president.
Now, will President Obama exercise the same courage and conviction to speak truth to power in the military industries? Wall Street has run the American economy into the ditch and taken the global economy along with it like a trailer in tow. U.S. military industries have taken the federal budget into a ditch and taken human needs and critical infrastructure programs like a trailer in tow. We need a president who can exercise "tough love" with war profiteers who have been pilfering American tax dollars for exorbitant profits for decades.
To his three major challenges that he named last night - Sustainable energy, health care reform, and education- President Obama will need to add a fourth: demilitarizing the federal budget and reducing military spending from the current $800 billion a year to $250 billion by 2012. First he needs an audit of all military (so-called "050") spending, and he'll have a tough time getting that, because the Pentagon designed its books so that they cannot be audited.
So, here's my recommendation to President Obama: shine the light on all U.S. military spending by promising to make all Department of Defense spending auditable and transparent by 2010. Once the American people see where all their tax dollars go in wasteful military spending, he'll have the popular support he needs to move those dollars to job creation through initiatives for sustainable energy, health care reform, and education. The war profiteers count on hiding in the shadows of accounts that cannot be audited. Civilian control of the military is an essential element of a democracy, and unless we know where the money goes, we civilians have little control.