If the federal budget process asked for spending suggestions the same way an improv comedy group asked for settings for a scene, it would go something like this:
“OK, we’re looking for a way to spend your tax dollars. Who has a great idea?”
“Medicare for all.”
“Green new deal.”
“Universal basic income.”
“OK, it sounds like we’re getting a lot of suggestions for ‘increased defense department spending.’”
Just days after President Donald Trump referred to Fiscal Year 2018’s $716 billion Defense Department spending as “crazy” (he would know) and implied that its funding might drop to $700 billion, Trump settled with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the Armed Services Committee on a $750 billion recommendation for next year’s budget.
Despite the fact that 2018 defense spending was $61 billion higher than requested by the Defense Department (a number that matches or surpasses Russia’s entire annual military spending), what is the impetus for the nonstop increase? Defense Department officials recently said that anything less than $733 billion in spending will cause a security risk for the country. They somehow said that without breaking out into laughter.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) was named to the Senate Armed Services Committee following the death of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) earlier this year, and it didn’t take long for his new role to become ethically murky.
The Daily Beast discovered that Inhofe purchased more than $50,000 worth of stock in defense contractor Raytheon, not long after signing off on the $750 billion defense proposal. Inhofe slid the blame to a third-party financial advisor, whom he informed to divest in all defense stocks, but we wonder if that would be the case had The Daily Beast not done some digging.
At least Inhofe had the decency to hand out responses to the report on little cards to reporters. James Inhofe might have divested in Raytheon, but who knows what mustachioed Jimbo Binhofe is up to.