Right-wing politicians and their corporate lobbyist backers want to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of an upcoming “Grand Bargain.” Their goal is to cut social spending and investments in middle class America to pay for corporate tax cuts and more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
But it’s impossible to talk about the budget deficit without talking about the military budget. It has the largest share of discretionary spending, and we spend more on our military than almost the rest of the world combined.
Even Senator Tom Coburn — a hard-right Republican from Oklahoma — knows that much of this Pentagon spending is wasteful and completely unrelated to our modern security needs. He released a report a few days ago that laid out some of this wasteful spending. Here are a few highlights, from the Washington Times:
• $300,000 spent by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to fund Brown University’s research into archaeopteryx, the 150-million-year-old early bird, in which the researchers determined the creature likely had black feathers.
• An Office of Naval Research research project that helped spawn Caffeine Zone 2, an iPhone application that tells people how to schedule their coffee breaks.
• $1.5 million to develop a special new roll-up beef jerky, which Mr. Coburn said was funded by taking money out of a weapons program.
• $100,000 for a 2011 workshop on interstellar space travel that included a session entitled “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” The session probed how Christian theology would apply in the event of the discovery of aliens.
We can’t talk about the budget deficit without looking at the wasteful Pentagon budget.