Nov 23, 2020
In the middle of a raging pandemic, with record high unemployment, homelessness and hunger, the Democrats and Republicans in Congress say they are paralyzed by gridlock, that they can’t agree on how much money to spend on a new pandemic relief bill. But at the same time, both parties have quietly come together to approve the Pentagon’s request to boost military spending by another 10 billion, to 740 billion dollars.
No, there is no gridlock between the two parties when it comes to showering the military with ever more taxpayer money.
Of course, the Democrats and Republicans don’t totally agree on how to spend all that money. The Democrats want to buy “only” 91 F‑35 jet fighters from Lockheed Martin next year, while the Republicans say they want 96 jet fighters. But according to reports in Defense News, both parties want to buy many more planes than the Pentagon, which is requesting 79 new planes. There is also disagreement about how many submarines to pay for this year. The Democrats say they want to buy two new Virginia‑class submarines—which cost about $5.5 billion apiece to be built, while the Navy and Republicans asked for only one.
In any case, the Republicans and Democrats haven’t let any pandemic and economic collapse stop them from boosting U.S. spending on the military to levels not seen since World War II, including even more than was spent during the Vietnam and Korean Wars, as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. U.S. military spending also exceeds the next 10 countries’ defense budgets combined and singlehandedly accounts for a hefty 40% of all military spending worldwide.
Why spend all this money in the middle of a pandemic that is international in scope when what is needed most is more resources to fight not just the disease, but the worsening economic hardship worldwide?
In fact, the Republicans and Democrats are simply safeguarding the interests of the U.S. capitalist class. They want to make sure that ever more U.S. troops, ships and planes patrol the land, sea and air all over the world, so that U.S. banks, oil companies, military contractors, and engineering companies can gain ever greater profits through exploitation of the worldwide workforce, while plundering and laying waste to other countries’ natural resources. For the U.S. capitalist class, this is especially important during a time of growing crisis, instability and unrest that they fear could endanger the capitalists’ investments and markets.
At the same time, both parties are boosting U.S. military spending in order to provide tremendous profits for the capitalist class on all those weapons systems during a time when other markets are collapsing. Big contractors like Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin make super profits that they then shower on their major stockholders through increased dividends and stock buybacks.
Even in supposedly ordinary times, military spending is like a giant cancerous tumor, sucking vital resources away from what the population needs, such as schools, hospitals, public health, roads and other vital social spending.
The fact that, in the middle of the pandemic and economic collapse, both parties continue to pour ever more money and resources into military spending shows just how much both parties are willing to sacrifice the working population and the entire society in order to serve the interests of the capitalist class.