As Capitol Hill lawmakers continue to insist that initiatives like Medicare for All are too expensive, a new congressional report shows that the United States government is on a path to spend more than a half-trillion dollars on nuclear weapons in just the next decade. The report emerges at the same time a separate analysis shows that a handful of top executives at defense contractors are being wildly enriched by a Pentagon spending spree.
The first report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that the federal government is on track to spend $634 billion over the next decade to maintain its nuclear forces, according to a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Almost two-thirds of those costs are for the Department of Defense, mostly to maintain ballistic missile submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. About one-third is for the Department of Energy.
For comparison that is:
- 1.5 times the cost of all of the $1,400 stimulus checks that were sent to people through the American Rescue Plan earlier this year
- Nearly 14 times the $47 billion that Congress has spent so far this year helping Americans who are behind on rent.
- Over one-third of the cost of cancelling the $1.7 trillion in student debt held by Americans, most of which is never going to be repaid.
- More than 7 times the estimated $81 billion of outstanding medical debt in America, as of 2018.
The new CBO estimate represents a 28-percent increase over the last 10-year estimate that the CBO made on U.S. nuclear forces two years ago.
The figures were released just a few weeks after a new analysis from the Center for International Policy, a foreign policy think tank in Washington, found that “In 2020 alone, the CEOs of the [Pentagon’s] top five contractors received a total of $105.4 million in compensation.”
When accounting for all top corporate officials, these firms paid out more than a quarter billion dollars of total executive compensation in 2020 — and paid out more than $1 billion over the last four years.
About half of the Pentagon’s budget goes directly to corporations such as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, according to the report.
So far, the deficit scolds who wanted to narrow eligibility for stimulus checks, student debt cancellation, or rent relief haven’t complained about the spending.
Photo credit: Tao WU/Flickr
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