by Pa Rock
Barney Frank, a democrat and the senior member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, has formed an alliance with Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul of Texas in an ill-fated attempt to cut military spending by twenty-five percent. Of course, Mr. Frank, like all other members of Congress, has no interest in cutting military funds that are creating jobs in his district.
It is a given that military contractors are slime. They insure the success of their sales by sliding jobs into as many congressional districts as possible, making it impossible for congressmen to vote against worthless pork barrel projects because to do so would eliminate jobs in their own districts. The Pentagon goes to Congress asking that specific arms programs be dropped from the budget, and Congress routinely refuses to cancel those programs - programs that the military doesn't want!
As an example, Congressman Frank supports having fewer F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes, but also supports a $3 billion backup engine project for those same fighter planes. The Pentagon does not want those back-up engines - engines that create jobs in Congressman Frank's district. Frank told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann that he actually wants to cut the entire F-35 program, but as long as military spending continues he will fight for his district's share of it.
It's personal, so it stays.
But Congressman Frank's hypocrisy aside, the one thing that comes up in all of his interviews is the need to remove troops from Okinawa. Indeed, pulling the troops out of Okinawa seems to be the be-all and end-all of Congressman Frank's plan to pare Pentagon spending. Apparently that move would save big bucks while not affecting spending in many congressional districts.
But removing the troops from Okinawa is also personal - to me! However, I will admit to not being worried about my upcoming tour there being abbreviated due to a reduction in military spending. Military spending will be cut significantly sometime after I win Powerball and Mega Millions - on the same night!
Godspeed in your efforts to tame the military budget, Barney, but know this: the beast will not be brought under fiscal control as long as individual members of Congress, yourself included, continue to fight to protect the military-related jobs (pork) in their own districts - and that includes your pork in your district.
If military spending is nothing but a glorified jobs bill, couldn't we be be spending that same money on things that actually would provide for a better future - education, infrastructure, and clean energy? That would be real security!