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You just sent thousands of dollars to the U.S. government in an envelope with a tax form inside. Someone in your family may or may not have attended an anti-tax Tea Party rally and you may or may not have heard someone on the news railing about welfare and giveaways. Here's a first fact about your tax money: welfare and giveaways aren't the problem. They make up a fraction of the 3 percent you are paying in taxes for "education, training, employment and social services." Washington is spending most of your tax money, 17 percent, on wars-- even though neither of our recent wartime Presidents Bush and Obama have asked you for a dime to pay for what is now three military campaigns, two of which have been raging for more than half a decade at an outrageous hourly rate.
Just when you thought the conversation over government spending had moved firmly from the executive branch to the legislative, Christopher Hellman, a military spending analyst with progressive think tank the National Priorities Project, comes in with a fresh take on President Obama’s budget proposal.
Colorado Congressman Jared Polis this week offered an amendment to reduce the size of the U.S. military presence in Europe from more than 80,000 troops to 35,000, including an immediate reduction of 7500 troops in the next six months. His amendment, which would have reduced government spending by hundreds of millions of dollars, was defeated by the House.
Overall taxpayer money delivered to the Pentagon and its contractors in 2010 will add up to well more than an all-time record-breaking $1.01 trillion. As has been widely reported, Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked the new fiscal-conservative Republican Congress to consider cutting the Pentagon budget by $80 billion over the next five years, meaning the Defense budget will still rise in that time but not by as much as it would have done. Republicans derided the proposal, arguing that the country was at war and that there was plenty of spending to be cut elsewhere. As the 112th conservative Congress got underway, Colorado GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn, for example, introduced two bills that would strip public broadcasting of roughly $500 million per year. Lamborn's bills won't pass. China meantime is serious about taking over the reins of the world economy. It is spending a fraction of what the U.S. spends on Defense and double what the U.S. spends on the clean energy technologies of the future-- and it is selling those technologies and its expertise in creating them to customers around the world including to the cash-strapped U.S.A.