US SPENDS 400 BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR ON MILITARY AND 8.2 MILLION DAILY TOWARDS ISRAELI MILITARY AID, WHILE 49 MILLION AMERICANS LIVE IN POVERTY
by Syarif Hidayat
Wake up Americans! You ought to be Outraged. If not, get outraged now! Did you know that USA give approx $8.2 million daily towards Israeli military aid? The United States government spends 400 billion dollars a year on “defense” and spent over $310 billion extra so far on the Iraqi war, while 14.5 percent of U.S. households—nearly 49 million Americans (33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children)—struggle to put food on the table.
Americans live in one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Yet 14.5 percent of U.S. households—nearly 49 million Americans, including 15.9 million children—struggle to put food on the table.
Feeding America, the US national network of food banks, released its annual report on local food insecurity Thursday, showing that there are dozens of counties throughout the US where a third of children do not get enough to eat.
Forty-nine million people, or 16 percent of the population, lived in food insecure households in 2012, the latest year for which figures are available. This is up from 11.1 percent in 2007. The level of food insecurity among children is even worse, affecting a staggering 16 million children, or 21.6 percent, according to Press TV report quoting Feeding America report on American poverty.
“Food insecurity is higher than at any time since the Great Depression,” said Ross Fraser, director of media relations for Feeding America, the national network of charitable food banks. “One in six Americans live at risk of hunger, as do one in five children,” he added.
Broken down by state and county, the situation is far worse in many parts of the country. For instance, in Mississippi, 22.3 percent of the population, or almost one in four, are food insecure. So are 29 percent of children in New Mexico, nearly one third of all children.
There are sixteen states—including California, the most populous state in the country—where more than one in four children are food insecure.
Food insecurity means that a household does not “always have access to adequate amounts of food to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle,” Fraser explained to the WSWS. “Sometimes they’re either missing meals or fill their bellies with something that isn’t as nutritious as it should be, like a bowl of rice instead of a balanced meal.”
“When the recession hit, the number of food insecure people skyrocketed, from about 38 million people to about 50 million,” Fraser added. “Despite the proclamation that the recession is over, what this data shows is that people are having a very tough time making ends meet and securing enough food for themselves and their families.”
Los Angeles County, the New York metropolitan area, and Cook County (which includes Chicago) had the highest numbers of food insecure people in the US. There are 1.6 million food insecure people in Los Angeles, 1.4 million in New York’s five boroughs, and 0.8 million in Cook County. Twenty-one percent of residents (more than one in five) in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, were food insecure in 2012, as were 20 percent of residents in Dallas, Texas.
In the District of Columbia, home to the US capital, 28 percent of children live in food insecure households.
Rural poverty and hunger are pervasive
Four out of the five counties with the highest levels of food insecurity in the US were in rural Mississippi. Holmes County in the southern state reported 32 percent food insecurity, and Yazoo County reported a rate of 27 percent.
In Zavala County, Texas, 41 percent of children are food insecure. Two other counties in the US— Yuma County, Arizona and Starr County, Texas—have child food insecurity rates of 40 percent or more.
While hunger is most alarmingly high in inner cities and in rural America, Fraser warned that it is by no means confined to those areas. “Hunger exists in every county in America. This is a country where great wealth exists at the same time as great poverty.” He noted the example of Loudon County, an affluent suburb of Washington DC, where the local food bank reported that demand for food assistance has quadrupled.
The Feeding America report is based on the organization’s analysis of 2012 data published last year by the US Department of Agriculture. Other, less comprehensive surveys indicate that food insecurity has grown significantly since then. According to the US Conference of Mayors, demand for emergency food assistance in 25 major cities increased seven percent in 2013, following an increase of 22 percent in 2012.
In particular, Feeding America’s report does not take into account the impact of two consecutive cuts to food stamp benefits over the past six months. On November 1, 2013, Congress allowed emergency food stamps funding implemented in 2009 to expire, resulting in a reduction of $36 per month for a family of four. This was followed by $8.7 billion in cuts over 10 years signed by President Obama earlier this year.
The annual cut to food stamp benefits was $5 billion from the first cut alone, amounting to the entire operating budget of the Feeding America network. “It was like wiping out everything we do,” said Fraser.
Federal food stamp benefits now pay an average of $134 per month for individuals and $290 for families, or about $1.40 per person per meal. “Our food banks are where people go when they run out of food stamps,” Fraser said, noting that most people depleted their funds by the 21st of any given month.
Fraser also noted that a significant portion of people who visit the network’s food banks are employed, but do not make enough money to afford enough food. “They’re not able to make ends meet on low-wage jobs. You can’t even rent an apartment in the city limits of Chicago for what a minimum wage worker makes.”
The pervasive growth of poverty, hunger, and homelessness, is the result of the deliberate policies pursued by the ruling class since the 2008 economic crash. First under Bush and then Obama, trillions of dollars have been handed to Wall Street in the form of bank bailouts, followed by unending cuts in wages, benefits and social programs.
These measures have resulted in a historic redistribution of wealth, from the working class to the rich. Just last week, executive compensation research firm Equilar reported that the 100 top-earning CEOs in the US saw their median yearly pay increase by 9 percent in 2013, to $13.9 million each.
The US’s billionaires have seen their wealth double since 2009. The 400 richest individuals in the US now have a collective wealth of more than $2 trillion, or 400 times the annual budget of Feeding America and more than one billion times the average annual income for an individual on food stamps.
US Israeli military aid
Wake up Americans! What is your tax money spent for?
You ought to be Outraged. If not, get outraged now! Did you know that USA give approx $8.2 million daily towards Israeli military aid? While 14.5 percent of U.S. households—nearly 49 million Americans, including 15.9 million children—struggle to put food on the table.
Israel–United States relations are an important factor in the United States government’s overall policy in the Middle East, and Congress has placed considerable importance on the maintenance of a special and strategic relationship. The main expression of Congressional support for Israel has been foreign aid via the Zionist Ben Gurion Organization based in Washington DC. Since 1985, it has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel, with Israel being the largest annual recipient of American aid from 1976 to 2004 and the largest cumulative recipient of aid since World War II.
Seventy-four percent of these funds must be spent purchasing US goods and services. Congress has monitored the aid issue closely along with other issues in bilateral relations, and its concerns have affected Administrations’ policies. Almost all U.S. aid to Israel is now in the form of military assistance, while in the past it also received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to other countries.
Bilateral relations have evolved from an initial U.S. policy of sympathy and support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in 1948 to an unusual partnership that links a small but militarily powerful Israel, dependent on the United States for its economic and military strength, with the American superpower trying to balance other competing interests in the region. Others maintain that Israel is a strategic ally, and that U.S. relations with Israel strengthen the U.S. presence in the Middle East.
Israel is one of the United States’ two original major non-NATO allies in the Middle East. Late Republican Senator Jesse Helms used to call Israel “America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East”, when explaining why the United States viewed Israel as such a strategic ally, saying that the military foothold in the region offered by the Jewish State alone justified the military aid that the United States grants Israel every year. Currently, there are seven major non-NATO allies in the Greater Middle East.
Of course, the U.S.A, the renowned World Preacher of Human Rights and Democracy continues to support the terrorist state of Israel by giving it tanks, planes, rocket launchers and financial support to the tune of three to five billion dollars a year, with which Israel has built up the fourth-largest military machine in the world.
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands, the building of the Zionist Apartheid Walls, the Israeli crimes against humanity and the Zionist state’s hegemony over the Middle East will continue, however, only as long as American money makes it possible. One day this money will no longer be forthcoming, for one reason or another. That will be Israel’s Day of Reckoning.
US Military Spending
Approximately 40 billion dollar could feed, clothe and educate the entire world. Yet, the United States government spends 400 billion dollars a year on “defense” and spent over $310 billion extra so far on the Iraqi war.
While almost half the world lives on less than $2.00 a day, the US people allow their government to waste resources imperialistically covering the globe with military troops!
The U.S. military budget is $756.4 billion for FY 2015.
1.$495.6 billion for the base budget of the Department of Defense (DoD).
2.$85.4 billion for Overseas Contingency Funds for the wind-down of the War in Afghanistan.
3.$175.4 billion for defense-related agencies and functions. This includes the Veterans Administration ($65.3 billion), the State Department ($42.6 billion), Homeland Security ($38.2 billion), FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($17.6 billion), and the National Nuclear Security Administration in the Department of Energy ($11.7 billion).
That makes military spending the second largest Federal government expenditure, after Social Security ($896 billion). Military spending is dropping, thanks to sequestration and the end of the War in Iraq in 2011. It’s all-time high was $851.3 billion in FY 2010. (Source: Office of Management and Budget, 2015 Budget, Summary Tables, Table S-11)
Military spending is greater than Medicare ($529 billion), Medicaid ($331 billion), or the interest payment on the debt ($251). It’s also more than the three next largest departments combined: Health and Human Services ($73.1 billion), Education ($68.6 billion) and Housing and Urban Development ($32.6 billion).
If all military spending could somehow be safely eliminated, there would be a budget surplus of $174.8 billion, instead of a $564 billion budget deficit.
?Defense Department Base Budget:
DoD requested $495.6 billion for its base budget, and planned to cut its costs as follows:
1.End War in Afghanistan. Reduce active duty military by 13% and reserves by 5%. Shrink the Army to 450,000, or Pre-WWII levels. Boost Special Operations forces by 6%.
2.Shift focus from the Middle East to Asia. Pay more attention to al-Quada in Africa.
3.Beef up cyber security forces. Focus on nuclear deterrence by spending more on the nuclear weapons complex and on nonproliferation.
4.Lower spending with the Better Buying Power (BBP) initiative. Reduce spending on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or eliminate the program completely. (Source: WSJ, Defense Budget Targets New Threats, February 25, 2014)
The Department wants to focus on its counterterrorism capability and alliances with organizations such as NATO. It’s spending $176.2 billion for troop operations, training, and support activities. It’s increasing pay by 1% and the housing allowance by 4.2%, while providing $49.4 billion for medical benefits for the 9.6 million active duty personnel, their families, and veterans.
The DoD wants to close unneeded military bases, but Congress won’t allow it. Congress is also reluctant to allow DoD to cut other costs, like military health benefits and the growth of military pay. Few elected officials are willing to risk losing local jobs caused by base closures in their states. The Pentagon will be forced to reduce the number of actual soldiers so it can afford these benefits. (Source: Department of Defense FY 2015 Budget; WSJ, Pentagon Lays Out Way to Slash Spending, August 1, 2013))
Overseas Contingency Operations:
Surprisingly, the DoD base budget does not include the cost of wars. That’s separated out in Overseas Contingency Operations. The cost for the War in Afghanistan, which is winding down, was $85.4 billion for FY 2015. For OCO spending back to 2001, see War on Terror Facts. (Source: OMB, FY 2015 Budget, Table S-11)
The Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2013 recommended $80.7 billion for OCO and a record $552 billion for the Defense Department. It blocked future military base closings and gave service-members a 1% pay increase, but cut the cost-of-living-adjustment by 1% for veterans who retire before age 62. However, disabled veterans and surviving families had the cut re-instated. (Source: Stars and Stripes, House Quickly OKs Bipartisan Budget Deal, December 12, 2013; CNN, Disabled Veterans Get Back Pension Raises, January 14, 2014)
DoD Must Become More Efficient:
The Defense Department needs to become more efficient. Without a reduction, it will pay 100% of its budget on personnel and maintenance by 2024, leaving no funds for procurement, research and development, construction or housing. These necessary programs to support U.S. troops now take up more than a third of DoD’s budget.
How could the DoD become more efficient? First, it needs to rationally reduce its civilian workforce, which grew by 100,000 in the last decade, instead of resorting to hiring freezes and unpaid furloughs. Second, it must reduce pay and benefits costs for each soldier, which have risen from $70,000 to $110,000 per person in the last 10 years. Third, it should close unneeded military bases. By its own estimates, the DoD is operating with 21% excess capacity in all its facilities. (Source: Center for Strategy and Budgetary Assessments, Pay Will Swallow DoD Budget by 2024, April 8, 2013)
Defense spending would have been reduced by $487 billion in ten years if sequestration had continued. However, many Congressmen said the cuts would jeopardize national security. They were particularly concerned about a cutback of about 100,000 troops, closure of domestic military bases, and termination of some weapons systems — all of which would have cost jobs and revenue in their districts. That’s why defense spending is the only budget area that rarely gets focused on as an area to cut. (Source: Reuters, Lawmakers skeptical of cuts in 2013 defense budget, February 15, 2012)
Here’s how spending has escalated since 2006.
Total Military Spending By Year (in billions)
|2007||$671.6||$173.6||N.A.||N.A.||Surge in Iraq|
|2009||$513.6||$145.9||$149.2||$808.7||Surge in Afghanistan.|
|2011||$528.1||$159.4||$165.0||$862.7||Iraq War ends.|
|2012||$530.4||$126.5||$159.3||$816.2||Afghan troop withdrawal.|
|2014 Enacted||$496.0||$91.9||$168.6||$756.5||Afghan wind-down.|
Article updated April 5, 2014 (HSH)