$1 million a minute!

I’m talking about the national debt here …

Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It’s expanding by about $1.4 billion a day — or nearly $1 million a minute. http://tinyurl.com/3x5v59

And just what are we getting for this out of control spending?

It’s not going to fund Homeland Security for one thing. We’re seeing a key component of the Homeland Security budget being sliced by more than 50 per cent in 2009. Said one usual supporter of the Bush administration:

After learning of Bush administration plans to slash counterterrorism funding for police, firefighters and rescue departments across the country by more than half next year, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said the president should not expect his support on major votes in the future. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jQ0Ao4X0-a32dSRsZ9upSawSrPdgD8TA88BO1

More than $23 billion has been doled out the local police fire and sheriff’s agencies since 8/11 to assist them in beefing up counterterrorism efforts. But now the White House has decided that port, transit and other security do not need to be funded at the level the Homeland Security department asked for.

The department wanted to provide $3.2 billion to help states and cities protect against terrorist attacks in 2009, but the White House said it would ask Congress for less than half — $1.4 billion.

This flies in the face of common sense, since gaping holes still exist in port security. For instance, only a small fraction of containerized cargo is inspected for contraband despite the fact that this would be an easy way for terrorists to smuggle guns, bombs or nuclear materials into this country undetected. After Sept 11, 2001 and the Madrid train bombing and the London subway bombing, the lesson learned should have been that port and transit security needed to be given top priority.

So we cannot point the finger counterterrorism spending by the Homeland Security department when we go looking for the cause of this out of control spending.

And we know we’re not overspending on veteran’s care. After a modest increase Bush administration budget proposals call for level-spending for the Veterans Administration through 2012. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/021207T.shtml

After an increase sought for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly – by more than 10 percent in many years – White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.

The proposed cuts are unrealistic in light of recent VA budget trends – its medical care budget has risen every year for two decades and 83 percent in the six years since Bush took office.

So we are facing a rising tide of veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with critical medical needs — and the Bush administration does not plan to fund it at anything like a realistic level. The backlog of vets awaiting care at VA facilities continues to grow. So the spending spree is not because of the needs of returning vets.

But, wait, there is alway room for $800 million contracts to former Pentagon officials, especially one whose main claim to fame was being in charge of military medical care, including Walter Reed Hospital when the revelations of neglect of patients at Walter Reed were reported.  The reaction of this “heck of a job” official named William Winkenwerder was:

“This news caught me — as it did many other people — completely by surprise,”  he said at a Feb. 21 press conference.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/12/04/va_contract/index.html

Of course Mr. Winkenwerder had the advantage of being in charge of the department that wrote the contract before he retired from the Pentagon and took a job at Logistics Health, Inc. (LHI) with responsibilities for “business development”.  So he retires in April, goes to work for LHI on June 1 and on June 13 the Pentagon starts accepting bids for the contract he was in charge of.  Lo! and behold, LHI gets the contract — even though they were not the low bidder.  The contract is on currently “hold” status and under investigation by the Congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO).

But this looks like “business as usual” for the Bush Administration, especially the Pentagon, which has been rife with hefty contracts to cronies and political contributors.  The standard for such contracts seems not to be competence but connections.

This contract is just a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the Iraq war — the real source of the exploding national debt.  A good place to go to find not only the current cost of the Iraq war but also an analysis of what else might have been purchased with the funds squandered on  this war is the National Priorities Project.   http://tinyurl.com/2tlhra

The Cost of Iraq War calculator was set to reach $456 billion September 30, 2007, the end of fiscal year 2007.  As of October 1, 2007, it is ticking at the same rate, though Congress has not yet appropriated money for fiscal year 2008.

The cost has now reached $474 billion.  This is where the money has gone — and where it will continue to be funneled until Congress grows a spine and de-funds the war.

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Explore posts in the same categories: corruption, healthcare, Iraq, national debt, Pentagon contracts, politics, Republicans, Veterans

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2 Comments on “$1 million a minute!”

  1. jamesbdunn Says:

    This country seems to be run by organized crime.

    Ethical Method to Eliminate ALL Political Corruption:
    http://blog.360.yahoo.com/jamesbdunn?p=57

  2. betsyj Says:

    It’s not just the runaway debt. Some very scary things are happening to our economy, and there’s no solution in sight:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/12/09/IN5BTNJ2V.DTL&type=printable

    Also, this:

    http://economyincrisis.org/articles/show/1175


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