The Unauditables

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Ralph Nader agrees with me that with the U.S. government creating so many trillions of dollars out of thin air, it is not possible to know where all the money goes. The government can (and does) track Social Security benefits down to the penny, but no one knows where the endless billions for the Pentagon go, or the endless billions for weapons contracts, or for “Overseas Contingency Operations” (i.e. the endless wars).

So here’s the logic…

[1] The U.S. government is “broke.”
[2] Money for social programs is fully accounted for.
[3] Money for the Pentagon is not accounted for. Nor is money for the weapons makers, or for the endless wars
[4] Therefore let’s cut social programs like Social security.

And the American masses fall for it, since they enjoy repeating the lie that the U.S. government is broke. It makes them feel “sophisticated.”

Bankrupt1Bankrupt2

Since no one knows where the billions go, some parts of the U.S. military have the latest state-of-the-art equipment, while other parts suffer with obsolete junk. Also, when a soldier is wounded, he may or may not get adequate medical care, depending on whether the money is available.

Example…

Army medic Shawn Aiken, 30, was in his second month of physical and psychological reconstruction at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, after two tours of combat duty had left him shattered. His war-related afflictions included traumatic brain injury, severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), abnormal eye movements caused by nerve damage, chronic pain, and a hip injury. Shawn Aiken had no money for medical care. The Defense Department was withholding his pay. It had started when he received $2,337.56, instead of his normal monthly take-home pay of about $3,300. When he complained, the Defense Department dropped his pay to $117.00 per month. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) said they were taking back money he owed, but they would not tell him what these alleged debts were. And no one could find out.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, headquartered in Lawrence, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis) has roughly 12,000 employees and a $1.36 billion budget. They are the ones who pay America’s 2.7 million active-duty and Reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. They process over 150 million pay transactions per year.

DFAS1DFAS2

Pay errors in the military are widespread. And once mistakes are detected, getting them corrected – or just explained – is almost impossible. Some people are mistakenly shortchanged. Others are mistakenly overpaid, and then see their earnings drastically cut as DFAS claws back the money. In a December 2012 report on Army pay, the Government Accountability Office said DFAS and the Army have no way to ensure correct pay for soldiers, and no way to track errors.

Pay errors are part of the Defense Department’s refusal to keep track of its money — how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is lost or stolen. The department gets $600 billion a year, and cannot account for where the money goes. A law in effect since 1992 requires annual audits of all federal agencies – and the Pentagon alone has never complied. Each year the Pentagon tells the Congress that its books are in such disarray that an audit is impossible.

But remember…the U.S. government is “bankrupt.”

Paul_Ryan1

David Williams

My purpose is not to complain about the endless billions stolen by the Pentagon. My purpose is to offer another response to people who claim that the U.S. government is “bankrupt.” If that were really the case, then someone would do something about the theft of military dollars.

DEMPSEY

The problem is not limited to money. Officers complain that the difficulty of keeping track of personnel makes it far harder to deploy men and women in times of war.

This is why the USA could not win another world war. With everybody stealing all they can, and no one knowing where equipment or personnel are, the USA is ripe for conquest from outside. This was why Germany so easily overran France in World War II. The French government had become so corrupt that half of Frenchmen welcomed the Germans. Some Frenchmen even joined up with them. Leon DeGrelle, a Belgian, joined up as a private, and rose to become a general in the Waffen SS.

Flynntribute

Some members of Congress are not happy about all this. On 12 Feb 2015, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 942: the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2015. She introduces a bill like this in every session of Congress, and it always dies.

Lee says “The Treasury Department’s Financial Report of the US Government for fiscal year 2012 shows the Pentagon yet again has nothing to audit—its books are a mess. In the last dozen years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when DOD would pass an audit. Meanwhile, Congress doubled Pentagon spending.”

Republican right-winger, Mike Conaway (R-TX) at Congressional hearing in 2011 told Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “I go home to folks in West Texas, and when they find out the Department of Defense can’t be audited, they are stunned.”

And yet Mr. Conaway always votes to further expand the Pentagon’s budget.

Mike Conaway

Ralph Nader:

“The military owns 25 million acres (over seven times the size of Connecticut) and owns over 500,000 buildings in the U.S. and around the world. It is beyond anybody’s control, including that of the Secretaries of Defense, the U.S. President, the U.S. Congress, their own internal auditors, and tons of GAO audits publically available. Enormous scandal after enormous scandal is reported by newspapers. Citizen groups from the left and Right excoriate this runaway budget – all to no avail. Why?”

Because most Americans love war, and don’t understand money.

Ralph Nader:

 A $43 million natural gas station in Afghanistan was supposed to cost $500,000. How about the $150 million villas that were built for corporate contractors in Afghanistan so they could spend another $600 million advising Afghans about starting private businesses in that war-torn country?”

That’s amazing, given that the U.S. government is “bankrupt.”

Ralph Nader:

 “Or how about purchase of billions of dollars of spare parts because the Army or Air Force didn’t know the whereabouts of existing spare parts in forgotten warehouses here and there? What about the $9 billion the Pentagon admitted could not be accounted for in Iraq during the first several months of the invasion?”

Hey, freedom isn’t free. It costs a lot to exterminate people in foreign lands who “Hate us for our freedoms.”

Ralph Nader:

The list goes on, together with massive cost over-runs by the private contractors that are rewarded with more contracts. Soldiers get dirty drinking water, bad food, inadequate equipment, and security breaches by these contractors. None of it makes any difference.

Paul_Ryan2

 

 

 

 

(That should read “absorbs.”)Mike McCordmission

This brings up two things. First, this corruption is inevitable when money is created out of thin air. Since the money does not come out of anyone’s one’s pocket, no one cares when insiders steal trillions. Second, even if the government increased its deficit spending, most of the money would be stolen by rich insiders, the way Pentagon money is stolen now. So the USA is probably too corrupt to save, no matter what.

Nonetheless we still need to mention the truth when politicians start talking about cutting social programs.

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