The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Military contractors stockpile taxpayers' cash

The Times' hed smacks of wishful thinking: Arms Makers Find Being Cash-Heavy Is Mixed Blessing

Great news for arms company shareholders:
At the moment, about $25 billion to $30 billion is sitting in the coffers of the top military contractors, a result of record Pentagon budgets and robust government spending on homeland security.

Microsoft alone is sitting on twice as much cash. But, then, Microsoft doesn't get the vast majority of its sales from USG.

That defence contracting is a racket [1] is hardly news [2]. But a humungous pile of cash seems like terrible planning on the part of Boeing, Lockheed and Co: something to wave in front of the noses of the voters to demonstrate the essential corruption of the process.

Question is, though: who will be doing the waving? The US defence industry contributions for the 2004 cycle (according to went roughly 2:1 in favour of the GOP. Democratic candidates snaffled a mere $6 million or so:

Misc Def1,5772,8914,46835.364.7
Def Aero2,5614,4687,02936.463.6
Def Elect1,7572,8164,57338.461.6


Now, the plan is that by, at the very latest, 2012 (after the next round of redistricting/gerrymanders), the Dems will have control of both houses of Congress [3]. It's hardly likely that Dems are going to be queering their pitch with such a cash cow by mounting any Mr Smith Goes To Washington-style insurgency campaign against the Waste in Washington!

Reality check: for the 1994 cycle (the last in which the Dems did control both houses of Congress), Dem candidates took around 60% of defence industry contributions.

Eyes on the prize...

  1. Perhaps only Indian gaming is a better one: because the piles of wampum it extracts from American suckers never enters the US Treasury.

  2. Winds of Change has what looks like a useful layman's guide to the process of defence contracting in the US.

  3. Getting control of state legislatures and governorships is key to achieving that.

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