You wonder why our defense budget keeps growing during a pandemic. Why we spend more than the next 10 countries combined. And why we don’t win wars anymore. Then look no further than a Congress that is bought-off. Democrats and Republicans disagree on everything. But they do agree on defense spending. Congress gets outraged about providing programs for the poor and needy in America. There is no issue sending billions to Ukraine. Not even a little. That is our system. But we were warned decades ago. President Eisenhower warned us about the M.I.C. Obviously we have not learned our lesson:
Every year, the defense industry donates millions of dollars to the campaigns of members of Congress, creating pressure on the legislative branch to fund specific weapons systems, maintain an extremely high Pentagon budget, and add ever more military spending. This upwards pressure is a constant, no matter what figure is requested by the president for the Pentagon, even though nearly 50% of the current Pentagon budget already goes to private contractors each year.
Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are especially targeted by defense contractors. These committee members determine the amount of money authorized for the Pentagon when the committee marks up the annual Pentagon policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act.
Because of this critical position, the defense contractors pour money into the reelection campaigns of these members, creating a self-fulfilling feedback loop that many call the “military-industrial-Congressional complex.” This year, the armed services committees voted to increase the Pentagon budget beyond the President’s $813 billion request for the Pentagon for the coming fiscal year, a $31 billion increase from the previous fiscal year, by an additional $37.5 billion in the House and $45 billion in the Senate.