posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 05:27 PM
A long time ago and far away, America's military forces were under the WAR Department. The naval forces were, logically enough, under the Navy
Department. Then, in 1947, the US reorganized its Armed Forces of the United States (AFUS) and established the Air Force (USAF) as a separate and
equal branch of the Armed Forces. The status of the USMC was also changed, making it independent of the US Navy. We had 4 independent armed forces.
The Coast Guard - USCG - had been under the Treasury Department in peacetime and under the War Department in wartime. The CG is now under the
Department of Homeland Security in peacetime.
Whether for calculated and disingenuous motives or not, the same law changed the name of the War Department to Defense Department. Sheee-it, everybody
is for defense, nobody is for war. Hmm? It may be of interest, at the close of War Two, the US National Debt exceeded the gross domestic product for
one year. About $400 billion. That was for the whole war, from 1940 to 1945. Our GDP was about $350 billion in 1945.
The US had imposed war tax rates in 1941. The top tax bracket rate was 91%. That rate remained in effect until the JFK election, when it was reduced
to 70%. Under Jimmy Carter it was lowered to 50%. Reagan lowered it to 28%. It is now 34%, down from Clinton’s 39.9%. Those high rates were the
father (and mother) of the so-called “tax shelters.” The base corporate tax rate was 24%. Additionally, corporations were subject to an wartime
“excess profits” tax rate of 50% which was calculated on prior earnings.
Entitlements. An “entitlement” is a law making everyone who meets certain criteria eligible to participate. For example, everyone in the US over
65 - soon to be 67 - who worked more than 10 years in covered employment, is eligible for social security payments for the remainder of his or her
life. The monthly amount being dependant on his or her earnings record. An entitlement. Social security, Medicare and Medicaid (for the poor) are
entitlements. About 60% of the US annual budget is in Entitlements. About 15% is debt service payment and he remaining part is called
“discretionary.” The defense budget is in this category. Discretionary. About 25%. [Numbers are my own.]
Presently the entitlements, SS and Medicare, have trust funds which continue to be in surplus. One could therefor make a strong argument that the
nation’s debt is incurred by war or defense spending. Or, by the discretionary sector of the budget, for sure.
Also part of discretionary spending is the Veterans Administration now called the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am a disabled American veteran and
receive my medications from the VA. In 2000, the co-pay was $2. Per month. Per medication. In 2001, after Geo W took office, the co–pay for a 30
days supply of medicine was raised to $7. Beginning in 2005, the co-pay was raised again, to $8. (These amounts do not apply if you are confined to
hospital.) You can see how the Democrats kept the co-pay at $2 and now, the same Geo W who says he “feels the hurt” for GIs in Iraq, has raised
it 4X in just 5 years. Sweet Jesus, the Republicans surely do love the country’s veterans! And they show it!
Conclusion. To reach the total outlay for war or defense, one must add the major part of the 1) annual debt service charge to the total budget outlay
for 2) Veterans, to the 3) current DoD budget, to reach the full cost America spends on war. Under Geo W, we are running the Afghan War and Iraq War
in a novel accounting mode called, “off” budget. That is, the DoD does not forecast what it is likely to need. Rather, 3 or 4 times a years, it
comes to Congress for supplemental funding. Doing it this way forecloses oversight committees examining the budget and questioning DoD officials
because the money is for bills already incurred. Checks already written. Not that this Republican Congress would exercise oversight anyway. Who
said, “Figures don’t lie, but Liars figure?”
[edit on 6/5/2006 by donwhite]