Where Does The Money Go?

We all have asked that question when we look at our cash balances and our bills……it would be nice if the toads in Congress would ask the same question about taxpayer funds…..

For instance…..did you know how much the US spends on war?

A “near-constant state of war” is just one of the reasons the US spends more than any other country in the world on its military—by a long shot. If the next seven major military spenders combined their funds, they still wouldn’t measure up, according to a list compiled by 24/7 Wall St., though China is making strides. The 10 countries that spent the most on war in 2017:

  1. USA: $610 billion (3.1% of GDP)
  2. China: $228 billion (1.9%)
  3. Saudi Arabia: $69.4 billion (10%)
  4. Russia: $66.3 billion (4.3%)
  5. India: $63.9 billion (2.5%)
    1. France: $57.8 billion (2.3% of GDP)
    2. United Kingdom: $47.2 billion (1.8%)
    3. Japan: $45.4 billion (0.9%)
    4. Germany: $44.3 billion (1.2%)
    5. South Korea: $39.2 billion (2.6%)

    Click for the full list

That is a lot of cash that could be used elsewhere in this country….like our failing infrastructure, or that cheap health care the Trump promised….but instead there could be a raise coming to defense spending…..

The American defense-industrial base needs Pentagon budgets to grow at least 5 percent per year to remain healthy and stable, the industry’s leading trade group said in a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Aerospace Industries Association blames Budget Control Act cuts and Congress’ repeated deferral to continuing resolutions for a steep drop in the market’s number of prime vendors. It’s unclear exactly how smaller suppliers have been impacted, but “the detrimental impact of budget cuts have been felt throughout the supply chain,” the report reads.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/04/25/defense-industry-needs-5-percent-annual-budget-growth-to-stay-healthy-says-new-aia-report/

That is the answer….bigger and better guns and bombs….then if all this money is supposedly well spent then why cannot the US win the wars it starts?

Almost 17 years after Washington’s war on terror was launched, déjà vu all over again hardly sums up the situation. Still, it’s a place to start. Take a headline from nearly a decade ago – July 2009, to be exact. By then, the American war in Afghanistan (the second Afghan War of our era) was already years old and not exactly going well. “U.S. Marines pour into Helmand,” went that headline, “in biggest offensive against Taliban for five years.” That July, in the first year of the Obama administration, more than 4,000 Marines were being dispatched to the heartlands of Helmand Province to secure Afghanistan’s major opium-poppy-growing region. That was, of course, nearly eight years after the Bush administration had declared the country “liberated” by an American invasion. By the fall of 2014, after five more years of fighting the Taliban and advising Afghan security forces in Helmand – and hundreds of American deaths – those troops were finally withdrawn from “one of the few bright spots in the Afghan war.” However, a corrupt Afghan government and its security forces, filled with “ghost soldiers” and “ghost police” (mostly paid for with U.S. funds), couldn’t even hold onto their paychecks, no less the parts of the province that had been “liberated” from the Taliban and the remarkably irrepressible opium trade that went with it. Slowly, much of the province fell back into Taliban hands as opium farming only spread and flourished.

https://original.antiwar.com/Arnold_Isaacs/2018/05/01/why-cant-the-worlds-best-military-win-its-wars/

If you want answers more than this article then may I suggest a book written by Harlan A. Ullman, “Anatomy Of Failure”…..

Questions with few answers.

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The End Of Pax Americana

These days there are many people that are predicting the end of the “Pax Americana”….but then there are those that have damn idea what I am speaking of (that is until they dash to the Google machine to help them look informed)……so let me help so no one has a stroke trying to get there quickly……

Pax Americana is a term applied to the historical concept of relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and later the Western world resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States beginning around the start of the 20th century. Although the term finds its primary utility in the later half of the 20th century, it has been used in various places and eras, such as the post-Civil War era in North America and globally during the time between the World Wars. Pax Americana is primarily used in its modern connotations to refer to the peace established after the end of World War II in 1945. In this modern sense, it has come to indicate the military and economic position of the United States in relation to other nations.

(freebase)

This phenom has been a good way to control the world and yet our leadership has been slipping……it started a rapid decline in 2001 and Bush’s desire for war and began its rapid descent in 2003 with the invasion and occupation of Iraq….and each president since has done nothing to stop the slide of the “Pax Americana”….not Obama and must certainly not Trump……

What if three very different U.S. presidents were to succeed each other in office, each focused like a laser on undoing what he saw as the gravely damaging policies of his predecessor? And what if, in so doing, the three actually compounded the damage done by the others? And what if, thanks to the handiwork of the all-powerful God of Irony, the three would someday be seen by history as the central collaborators in writing the closing chapter on Pax Americana, the more-than-70-year period that may someday be seen as the pinnacle of U.S. global influence?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/06/27/how-bush-obama-and-trump-ended-pax-americana/

Will the summit with North Korea help to stop the slide….and then the impending war that Iran could become that certainly not be a good thing for “Pax Americana”

We are losing our place among world nations…..will it cease?

That Big Drug Deal

Just what we have been waiting on for a year or more….that big drug deal……this will be our biggest deal yet for affordable medication, right?

Bullah*t!

Trump and Sec of the mundane announced their new “blueprint” for lower drug prices……

Drug policy experts and price advocates on Friday panned a long-overdue speech by Donald Trump on drug prices.

As part of the speech, the US health secretary, Alex Azar, suggested drug companies should be required to disclose pharmaceutical prices in advertisements as an incentive to set lower prices.

Along with the speech, the president released a “blueprint” to lower drug prices. However, many proposals had already been made public in the administration’s budget and most were technical rule changes which can be accomplished without Congress. Drug policy analysts said most the proposals would be unlikely to “materially harm industry”. Following Trump’s speech, health stocks rose.

The administration’s blueprint also proposed lifting the pharmacist “gag” rule, so pharmacists can tell consumers when a drug is cheaper without their health insurance. Such provisions are written into contracts between pharmacists and benefit managers, who act as middlemen between the consumer and the health plan.

(theguardian.com)

Did you read that stocks soared because of this announcement?  If this did not benefit the drug industry massively would their prices have soared?  I think not!

President Trump’s long-awaited plan to bring down drug prices will mostly spare the pharmaceutical industry he previously accused of “getting away with murder” and instead focus on increasing private competition and requiring more openness about costs, per the AP. In Rose Garden remarks at the White House, Trump called his plan the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.” (The plan is here.) But it does not include his campaign pledge to use the massive buying power of the government’s Medicare program to directly negotiate lower prices for seniors. The Washington Post notes that the idea was the one feared most within the industry. The Wall Street Journal reports that drugmakers and pharmacy-benefit managers “suggested privately they were relieved to avoid harder blows from the plan.”

Instead, the administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures intended to improve competition and transparency in the drug-pricing system. Those include a proposal requiring drugmakers to disclose the cost of their medicines in their TV advertisements. Health Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration would immediately examine requiring that information in TV ads. The proposals also include banning the pharmacist “gag rule,” which Trump said prevents druggists from telling customers about lower-cost options so they can save money, and speeding up the approval process for over-the-counter medications so patients can buy more drugs without prescriptions. It’s an approach that avoids a direct confrontation with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, but it could also underwhelm Americans seeking relief from escalating prescription costs.

Just another con job for the ignorant and lazy…..one good question to ask……”How the heck is this going to lower drug prices in this country?”

Officially ditching his campaign promise to challenge the pharmaceutical industry head-on and allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices—a betrayal that may have something to do with the fact that the White House is currently occupied by former Big Pharma executives in key posts—President Donald Trump on Friday formally unveiled a plan ostensibly aimed at cutting medicine costs that analysts and progressive critics are already slamming as wholly inadequate and “pharma-friendly.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/11/trumps-pharma-friendly-drug-plan-denounced-doing-little-or-nothing-lower-prices

This is the same as it ever was…..A Huge Con Job By A Con Artist!

Economic News

It is Saturday and I need to report on stuff that is happening and the MSM seems to avoid their inclusion in the daily news reports.

Remember those tax cuts last year and all the promises for the future?  Well here is some news that the GOP does not want the rest of the population to know…..

One of the many things confirmed by the great tax-bill melodrama of 2017 is that Republicans only pretend to care about “fiscal responsibility” when Democrats are in power and tax cuts aren’t on the line. With the opportunity to slash the corporate rate nearly in half, cries of “I won’t endorse a bill that adds one penny to the deficit!” evaporated, and tacking on $1.5 trillion became no big deal. Tax cuts, we will soon be reminded, don’t grow on trees, and the social safety net must be pared back in exchange. For now, though, Republicans are still in the trickle-down honeymoon phase, seeing in every corporate press release more confirmation that America has been made great again. Which makes it somewhat ironic that the Treasury is now burning through its cash reserves at an even more spectacular rate.

the CBO does not agree with the GOP bullshit……

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the federal government will run out of money even sooner than expected, thanks to the new tax legislation, which is estimated to lead to a fall in revenue of $136 billion in 2018. A default on debts had originally been forecasted for late March or early April. But now, because of the new withholding tables, “withheld receipts are expected to be less than the amounts paid in the comparable period last year.” That, combined with the fact that the Treasury generally issues a high number of tax refunds in February and March, means that the $272 billion in cash the Department had on hand as of Tuesday will quickly dwindle. If the debt ceiling isn’t increased by the first half of March, the C.B.O. cautioned on Wednesday, “the government would be unable to pay its obligations fully,” and would be forced to delay payments, default on its debts, or both.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/02/the-gop-tax-cut-is-draining-the-treasury

Why is it when the GOP does something economic the reserves suffer the worst?  And does no one call them on their bullshit?  Then they are the ones that bitch about the deficit the loudest and instead of responsible spending they want to make up the short fall by screwing the rest of the population?

One more news item and it is one that no one wants to hear…..recession…….

When will the US enter its next recession? Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal are predicting 2020. We’re currently in an economic expansion that started in mid-2009—the second-longest in American history—and 59% of the forecasters surveyed think it is most likely to end in two years due to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. Another 22% predicted 2021; smaller groups predicted 2019, 2022, or an unspecified date beyond that.

Recessions are difficult to predict, but one economist who took part in the survey says signs are emerging that the current expansion is in the late stages of its cycle, and another says “any year from 2019 onward is in play” for a recession. The last recession began in December 2007; alarms were raised in 2011 and 2016, but the US did not enter a recession either time. The longest-ever economic expansion was in the 1990s, lasting 10 years.

Just FYI so that my readers can make any adjustments that they may need…..

Sorry if I peed on your parade….Have a good day and get some rest!  chuq

Closing Thought–09May18

Pres. Trump has jumped on the problem the US us having with opioid abuse….Trump’s big deal is that he thinks people that push opioids should be put to death and abusers should be getting massive jail sentences……this, according to him, will alleviate our opioid problem…..

Seriously?  Is that all it will take?

Criminalization of drug use and possession has had almost no impact on actual levels of drug use. However, the criminalizing of drugs does practically ensure a cycle of criminality and greater prison sentences. As outlined in a January memo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants longer mandatory minimums despite their destructive impact on the United States. At this point, it’s evident that the War on Drugs is a frantic grasp for control in a broken system.

But enacting longer prison sentences does not help reduce the misuse or abuse of drugs. Instead, it worsens it. Thankfully, there are policy alternatives to the status quo. Legalizing drugs would allow us to focus on treating drug addiction and breaking the pattern of being labeled a “criminal.” If there is no victim, there is no crime—and that’s why the War on Drugs is a war on addicts.

http://theantimedia.com/locking-up-addicts-wont-solve-opiate-crisis/

As usual Trump has lots of opinions but little grasp of the causes and the effects……in other words he has NO idea about policy just of the mind that comes with the IQ of under 50.

Reforms Are Needed (Pentagon)

$60 hammers or $300 toilet seats or that $45 wood screw….these are some of the spending irregularities that have been reported over the years…..plus there is always stories of money that has been lost by the Pentagon…..

A new Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released last week, has left Americans stunned at the jaw-dropping lack of accountability and oversight. The glaring report revealed the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion dollars worth of Army general fund transactions and data, according to a report by the Fiscal Times.

The Pentagon, which has been notoriously lax in its accounting practices, has never completed an audit, would reveal how the agency has specifically spent the trillions of dollars allocated for wars, equipment, personnel, housing, healthcare and procurements allotted to them by Congress.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/audit-pentagon-cannot-account-6-5-trillion-dollars-taxpayer-money/219246/

The recent budget gave the Pentagon huge increases and some are saying that Congress needs to step up and make some reforms to the system to make the Pentagon more cash efficient……

In periods of budget increases, reforms and efficiencies tend to fall by the wayside. That should not be the case. The budget increases should be a chance to reflect and to re-assess efficiencies and reforms, especially those that require up-front investments to be executed. The Department of Defense needs to be a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars, regardless of future levels of the defense budget. Good stewardship includes being able to extract the maximum amount of value from every dollar spent, independent of the department’s budget. The Pentagon should take advantage of its increased budget to make sure that there is room to invest in creating efficiencies and reforming outdated systems.

1. The Pentagon should take advantage of its budget increase to enact business reforms that will lead to a more efficient and effective Defense Department.

2. From closing and realigning bases to providing school choice for military dependents, there are many opportunities for the Pentagon to improve its operations.

3. The Department of Defense will need congressional support to enact meaningful business reforms, and should seek Congress’s cooperation now.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/04/18/congress_should_pursue_pentagon_business_reforms_113338.html

 

A War Blank Check

WE Americans have been constantly lied to so that this country can intervene around the world….accomplish regime change almost yearly……

Official Washington and those associated with it have misrepresented the facts numerous times in the service of military actions that might not otherwise have taken place. In the Middle East, these interventions have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Arab civilians, brought chaos to Iraq and Libya, and led to the expulsion of a million Christians from communities where they have lived since biblical times.

The most famous of these episodes, of course, was the U.S. government’s assurance to the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which formed the basis for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The government also insisted Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda, bolstering the call to war. Of course neither was true.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-pretty-little-lies-behind-americas-interventions/

Lies that we citizens allow to go on so that we can keep some sort of mental defense our stupidity.

And now war will be easier….and our troops will die more easily thanx to a couple of cowards in the Congress.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was originally to be used by the president in a limited way….that has long been overstepped……and now the Congress has a new form of the AUMF before it….and this new attempt will do nothing to help the separation of powers……

The potential for the United States to stumble into a new war—or wars—has rarely been greater. Since before he took office, Donald Trump has been rattling his saber, and he is now backed up by a national security advisor who is openly spoiling for a fight. Instability and violence around the world are presenting them with ample opportunities. Last week marked the second time President Trump ordered bombings of Syria without congressional authorization.

Congress is now poised to bring a lit match to this combustible mix. A bill introduced yesterday by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., would give the president a virtual blank check to expand the current war against various terrorist groups to new enemies and new locations of the president’s choosing.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/04/corker-kaine-bill-aumf-forever-war/147516/

This should unacceptable to the American people but as usual they have their heads in the asses and our troops will be thrown at every event that the president feels it necessary…..Congress is relinquishing their power to the president…..

Cowards everyone!