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For Military Contractors, Tax Day is Pay Day

Raytheon missiles on display. Paris Air Show, 2005
Raytheon missiles on display. Paris Air Show, 2005 (Photo: David Monniaux)

Lockheed Martin’s CEO took home $20 million while enlisted soldiers got just $20,000. Why? Because corporations have hijacked the military.

(By Lindsay Koshgarian, OtherWords) In tax season, most of us think more about getting our forms in on time — and getting our refunds — than about where our tax dollars actually go.

It’s probably no surprise that a significant portion — 24 cents out of every dollar — of your taxes go to the military. But where those dollars go from there should be a national scandal.

Out of those 24 cents, just 5 cents go to our troops. But 12 cents go to corporate military contractors.

For a country that claims to celebrate our troops, with holidays and yellow ribbons and patriotic displays of the flag, we sure don’t put our money where our mouth is. Every year for tax day, my organization looks at where our tax dollars go. And every year, far more money goes to Pentagon contractors than to our troops.

All told, the average taxpayer handed over $1,704 to Pentagon contractors last year, compared to $683 for military pay, housing, and other benefits (except military health care, which has its own agency). Still, the taxes we pay for military contractors are more than twice as much as the average contribution for veterans’ health and benefits ($833).

The king of all the Pentagon contractors is Lockheed Martin, the maker of the ill-conceived F-35 jet fighter. This is a plane that’s billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule, and once spontaneously caught fire on the runway.

In 2018 the average U.S. taxpayer paid $225 to line the pockets of Lockheed’s executives and shareholders. While Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson took home more than $20 million in 2017, the top pay for a four-star general or admiral is $189,600 — and the lowest-rank enlisted soldiers make just $20,172.

The $225 you probably paid to Lockheed Martin is more than you probably paid for disease research at the National Institutes of Health ($155), K-12 education ($100), or free and reduced school lunches and other child nutrition programs ($107). And that’s just for one corporation.

Boeing, the Pentagon’s second largest contractor, got $100 from the average taxpayer. Former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan is now the acting Secretary of Defense — just one of hundreds of stories of the revolving door between the Pentagon and its contractors.

Shanahan was supposed to recuse himself from all things Boeing. Yet under Shanahan’s leadership, the Pentagon has suddenly proposed new investments in Boeing’s F-15X jet — against the wishes of Air Force leaders.

Contractors use plenty of maneuvers to hoover up tax dollars. For one, they know that by sprinkling some jobs in this town and a few others in that one, they can encourage Congress to go big on military purchases, whether the military needs them or not.

For example, Lockheed Martin assembles the F-35 in Texas, in the district of Rep. Kay Granger, who also just so happens to be the lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. In fall of 2018, Rep. Granger was perfectly positioned to temporarily insert 16 more F-35s into the military budget than the military had asked for (though they were ultimately cut).

And if the temptation of a few jobs in key congressional districts isn’t enough to ramp up the flow of money, there are always old-fashioned campaign contributions. In 2018, military contractors spent $127 million lobbying Congress and gave $29 million in campaign contributions.

There’s no good reason for 12 cents out of every tax dollar to go to multi-billion dollar corporations, or to pad the pockets of wealthy CEOs. Want to support the troops, or build infrastructure, or invest in education? Take the military budget back from the contractors.

Both the troops and the taxpayers deserve better.

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Citizen Truth republishes articles with permission from a variety of news sites, advocacy organizations and watchdog groups. We choose articles we think will be informative and of interest to our readers. Chosen articles sometimes contain a mixture of opinion and news, any such opinions are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of Citizen Truth.

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1 Comment

  1. Kurt April 15, 2019

    This is the Deep State, Industrial Military Complex, Wall Street. The people our federal government says they take their orders from.
    MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT. THIS IS TREASON.
    To better understand how it works I suggest you read The Devils Chessboard. Its a biography of Allen Dulles. He was our spymaster from WWI to 1961 when Kennedy fired him. He worked for wall street, not the American people. What becoms clear is that if you want to take over a country ftom within you take over its intelligence network first.
    WWI and WWII weren’t about what we are told. They were about building the Industrial military complex. Wall Street makes a huge fortune from war. Because we pay for everything 100 times. So that’s why we have perpetual war. Our government officials are invested in this. “INSIDER TRADING,” We are supposed to be all equal under the law, but insider trading isn’t prosecuted on Capitol hill, violating our Constitution.
    President Kennedy was going to stop this illegal activity when the CIA murdered him.
    We would if we were committed to our Constitution, and our rights stoo this action. It has drained our country of its wealth. This is why we are on Fiat currency. Money that is backed by nothing.
    The least we could do is demand that all military hardware be built at coust. Were this legislation passed I belive it would end the perpetual war, because the huge profits would be gone.
    Any illusion that this is a free country is false.
    To change this capitalist/ Imperialistic policy
    Will be a monumental task. Because we are only offered Wall Street candidate’s in our federal elections. The people aren’t represented, only wall street is represented.
    As long as we vote the two party system Wall Street runs the country. In short CAPITALISM is IMPERIALISM, that’s why we don’t have classes on CAPITALISM in school. Yet we are taught by the media to laud CAPITALISM even though its the road to slavery, starvation, and GENOCIDE. If you study it in depth, you will find the Zionists have been behind this for centuries.

    Reply

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