Congress just passed a debt-ceiling-and-budget-deal that increased Pentagon spending while placing spending caps and burdensome red-tape requirements on critical services for working people.
Of the roughly $858 billion in taxpayer money the United States is spending on the Pentagon this year, about half goes to military contractors, including weapons manufacturers. Year after year, the Pentagon budget rises―Congress has just agreed on upping it to $886 billion for next year. Now, an explosive six month investigation by 60 Minutes has exposed drastic price gouging by federal military contractors―with some raking up total profits near 40%!
The price gouging of American taxpayers must come to an end. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) reintroduced the People Over Pentagon Act, which would cut $100 billion from the Pentagon’s budget and reallocate the funds to human needs programs―to hire more teachers and nurses, enroll more children in Head Start, connect households to renewable energy, and more.
Two of the biggest price gougers are Lockheed Martin and its subcontractor, Boeing, which have also seen their tax rates plummet in recent years. Lockheed Martin has seen its effective tax rate cut nearly in half since the Trump tax scam became law in 2018―paying an effective tax rate of 27% in 2017, but just 15% in 2022. And, Boeing alone has gotten federal tax refunds the last three years totaling more than $4 billion, despite $187 billion in sales.
Throwing huge budget increases year after year to the Pentagon’s corporate contractors, which are price gouging the federal government while also paying historically low tax rates, undermines our security by preventing us from investing in the shared prosperity that comes from more housing, climate and public health protections, ending hunger, and more education. And Pentagon spending has been shown to create fewer jobs than comparable amounts spent on sectors including education, health care, renewable energy or infrastructure.
The United States spends more on defense than China, Russia, and the next seven countries combined. Reducing the Pentagon budget by $100 billion would still leave plenty to keep America safe at a level well above our country’s post-World War II average.
How much more will people lose before Trump and McConnell provide help?The House enacted its HEROES bill on May 15. The Senate has not yet acted; its majority caucus is divided.Since the House acted, the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has soared from 1.4 million to 4.8 million. We have gained back some of the jobs lost, but are still at least 13 million below the February peak, and now, as weekly unemployment claims have well exceeded 1 million for 20 weeks, job growth sharply slowed in July. About 30 million jobless people are now going without the $600/week extra unemployment compensation, and that is making it much harder for them to pay rent or buy food. In a nation where 600+ billionaires saw their aggregate incomes rise $42 billion per week between March 18-July 16, the Senate majority and White House have stopped more than $15 billion a week in the $600 unemployment payments; it will take at least weeks for state offices to start them up again. In the meantime, shocking numbers of people cannot pay their rent or get enough to eat. McConnell’s majority has not agreed to an increase in SNAP or emergency rental assistance, but they have proposed doubling the tax break for business meals. States are making cuts, costing more jobs and services. 158,000 have died. Our nation needs action now.
How many jobless people would be helped by the payroll tax cut that President Trump has now talked about doing by executive order, because you don’t pay it when you’re out of work. Tweet this.
More than half
51 percent of people lived in households where someone lost income from work (week ending July 21). From April 23 through July 21, the number of people in such households grew by 10 million, to 126.5 million.
2.23 million fewer
In June, 2.4 million private sector jobs were added; in July, only 167,000, according to ADP and Moody’s Analytics. The sharp slowing was said to result from the surge in COVID cases followed by more business restrictions/fewer customers. Tweet this.
One in five
The number of households that couldn’t pay their rent in the past month. (Closer to 30% for Latinx (27%), Black households (30%), households with children (28%).) The moratorium on evictions in federally subsidized/backed units expired on 7/25.
14.7 million people in households with children sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the past week (week ending 7/21); that’s up 1.8 million since the week ending 5/26. 25% of Black and 21% of Latinx households with children did not have enough to eat, more than twice the rate of whites (10.5%).
How many people would be kept out of poverty through December if Congress reinstates the $600/week unemployment benefit, approves another round of improved stimulus payments, and increases SNAP, as in the House HEROES bill.