Socialist Worker

Democrats back Trump’s bonanza for the military

As the US Senate prepares to vote on a budget that hands billions of dollars to the military and shafts ordinary people Alistair Farrow looks at the political manoeuvres behind it

Issue No. 2665

The US relies on its military to project imperial power across the world

The US relies on its military to project imperial power across the world (Pic: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)


Donald Trump has secured a deal that puts big business and the military first in the proposed federal budget.

Out of a total of £1.12 trillion, over half is set to go into the military’s pockets. This includes a £9 billion increase for “research and development”, so the arms industry can come up with deadlier weapons.

And, outrageously, the deal is the result of talks between Trump and the Democratic Party’s leadership.

A statement from senior Democrat legislators, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, boasted that the arrangement “will enhance our national security and invest in middle class priorities”.

The US military was the real winner. It had asked for £600 ­billion but got “only” £590 billion—an all-time record for defence spending.

The US projects its power around the world through 800 military bases scattered across 70 countries.

In particular, it relies on them to fend off its biggest rival China in the Pacific and the South China Sea.

Power

China still spends much less than half of what the US spends on the military. The leaderships of both the Republican and Democratic parties are committed to maintaining US imperial power.

The budget was voted through the lower House of Congress by 284 to 149 votes. It split the four Democrats known as the “Squad” with Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley voting against but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib voting for.

It now goes to the Senate, and the pressure is on other left wingers to back the deal. Senator Patrick Leahy said, “I’m worried the House is ­willing to give him [Trump] far too much discretion to take money and move it anywhere he wants including a border wall”.

But Leahy said he would vote for the deal anyway.

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The White House issued a ­statement that said the budget deal included no “poison pills”. This was a reference to measures that would have limited Trump’s ability to divert cash from departmental budgets to fund his border wall.

The last time the budget was voted on, the Democrats mounted some opposition to Trump’s attacks on migrants. But the budget they voted for gave more funding for ramped-up security on the border anyway.

And Trump has since introduced emergency legislation that allows him to divert funds to building the wall anyway.

Some Republicans oppose the deal because it doesn’t place a limit on borrowing. These free market fanatics object to any increased public spending that benefits ordinary people.

The new budget is also a clear message to Wall Street that the US state will back them to the hilt.


3.1 million could go hungry

As president Trump signed off yet another deal to benefit the rich, his administration proposed to cut food stamp benefits for 3.1 million people.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps US households of at least three people that earn £22,000 a year or less.

The proposed changes would get rid of the parts of the legislation that allow people in work or with some level of savings to claim the benefit.

The changes will mean 265,000 school children will have to re-apply individually for free school lunches.

It will also place limits on the amount of savings pensioners can have in the bank before they are cut off from free meals.

Trump is willing to spend hundreds of billions for wars and border controls, but his administration wants to save £1.6 billion by cutting food stamps.


Trump boasts of bombings

Trump dropped the “mother of all bombs”—the most powerful ordinary bomb—on Afghanistan in 2017. Last week he suggested he could drop many more, and kill 10 million Afghans.

He was talking in a press conference with Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan last Monday.

“If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth,” said Trump.

“It would be over in literally in 10 days—I don’t want to go that route.

“If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win it in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people. Does that make sense to you? I don’t want to kill 10 million.”

The projected increase in US military spending will fund building the weapons of mass destruction that can make Trump’s murderous fantasies a reality.

 


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