The military industrial complex is expansive. It reaches into every state, every Congressional District, every town. The US military is massive and since World War II has been an excellent way to “spread the wealth” especially for the GOP, which in theory is supposed to be for limited government spending.
But the Democrats love the money which flows to bases and contractors too. A base means jobs. A tank manufacturer means jobs. Close a base, end a weapons system, and so too do the jobs go away.
Military bacon tastes just as good as other types of Washington bacon, and perhaps even better because it has the cover of being for “defense.”
A great example is in my home town of Virginia Beach.
Long ago Virginia Beach was basically empty. A land of loblolly pines and swamp. A good place for an air station, because if a plane crashed it would likely crash into cypress and blackwater. At least that was the case 50 years ago when NAS Oceana was created.
Now, however, Virginia Beach is wall to wall suburbia, pretty much the last place one would want loads of military jets flying in and out of. Yet even after a jet crashed into an apartment complex in 2011, no one is talking about closing the place or moving operations to a better location. Why? Jobs. Taxpayer funded jobs. Military flavored bacon.
Now I grew up with the sound of F-14s screeching over my head and to this day the sound of a jet afterburner kicking in warms my heart a little. But the only reason Oceana exits smack dab in the middle of the largest city in Virginia is because of the taxpayer money which flows from it.
Is a base like Oceana needed on the east coast? Sure. In the middle of 700,000 people? Probably not. But trust me, it’s not going anywhere.
As the sequester looms, Bloomberg reports that congresspeople of every stripe are scrambling to ensure that their piece of the pie is not cut. Deficit or no deficit no one wants to give up THIER Pentagon bucks.
He’s an anti-tax Republican representative from Ohio. She’s an anti-war Democratic senator from Washington state. Jim Jordan and Patty Murray have little in common, save this: Protecting multibillion-dollar defense projects in their states from budget cuts.
Together, they embody why reducing the defense budget is difficult, even with wide agreement that the government spends too much. The Pentagon’s largess is so sprawling that, through military bases and contracts, it touches all 535 members of Congress — money that translates into jobs and revenue for companies that are major campaign donors.