Alan Grayson on "The War Is Making You Poor" Act (Video)
2010-06-22 0:00


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The War Is Making You Poor Act (H.R.5353), introduced by Rep. Alan Grayson on May 20th, 2010, is a bill which aims to cut separate funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and uses the money to eliminate federal income taxes on every American’s first $35,000 of income. The bill has garnered the support of 18 Cosponsors in congress, including Ron Paul (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

The military budget is that portion of the United States discretionary federal budget that is allocated to the Department of Defense, or more broadly, the portion of the budget that goes to any defense-related expenditures. This military budget pays the salaries, training, and health care of uniformed and civilian personnel, maintains arms, equipment and facilities, funds operations, and develops and buys new equipment. The budget funds all branches of the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

The 2009 U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world’s defense spending combined and is over nine times larger than the military budget of China (compared at the nominal US dollar / Renminbi rate, not the PPP rate). The United States and its close allies are responsible for two-thirds to three-quarters of the world’s military spending (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for the majority).

In 2005, the United States spent 4.06% of its GDP on its military (considering only basic Department of Defense budget spending), more than France’s 2.6% and less than Saudi Arabia’s 10%. This is historically low for the United States since it peaked in 1944 at 37.8% of GDP (it reached the lowest point of 3.0% in 1999--2001). Even during the peak of the Vietnam War the percentage reached a high of 9.4% in 1968.

For the 2010 fiscal year, the president’s base budget of the Department of Defense rose to $533.8 billion. Adding spending on "overseas contingency operations" brings the sum to $663.8 billion.

When the budget was signed into law on October 28, 2009, the final size of the Department of Defense’s budget was $680 billion, $16 billion more than President Obama had requested. An additional $33 billion supplemental bill to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was expected to pass in the spring of 2010, but has been delayed by the House of Representatives after passing the Senate. Defense-related expenditures outside of the Department of Defense constitute between $216 billion and $361 billion in additional spending, bringing the total for defense spending to between $880 billion and $1.03 trillion in fiscal year 2010.

The recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were largely funded through supplementary spending bills outside the Federal Budget, so they are not included in the military budget figures listed below. In addition, the Pentagon has access to black budget military spending for special programs which is not listed as Federal spending and is not included in published military spending figures. Starting in the fiscal year 2010 budget however, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are categorized as "Overseas Contingency Operations" and included in the budget.

By the end of 2008, the U.S. had spent approximately $900 billion in direct costs on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Indirect costs such as interest on the additional debt and incremental costs of caring for the more than 33,000 wounded borne by the Veterans Administration are additional. Some experts estimate these indirect costs will eventually exceed the direct costs.

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"This video became interesting to me simply because of the fact it was announced 1 day prior to the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S. Why has there been no mention of the massive amount of the taxpayers money gone missing? It is almost as though after the 9/11 tragedy it was forgotten.
I don’t know about the other citizens of the United States but I would like to know where 2.3 TRILLION dollars has gone. I believe when we as taxpayers give our hard earnings to the government is it not their responsibility to explain where the money is being spent? Was this case forgotten? If so, WHY? I would like to know where this money has gone. Wouldn’t you?"

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