Saturday, November 24, 2018

Vermonters Pay $166 Million More for U.S. Base Defense Share This Year

  Update of the Defense Department Numbers published in last post...

Our Congressional Delegation—Leahy, Sanders and Welch--do an absolutely lousy job educating Vermonters on the federal budget and how we all get fleeced by Trump and the Republicans. The Defense budget is the most obvious, the 2017 federal budget, part-year President Obama compared to the two Trump budgets, the one we operate under right now, federal fiscal year 2019, and the “base” budget Congress has agreed to started October 1, 2018 for 2019, total defense increase is $83.1 billion. Based on Vermont's per capita share of $2 million per billion of federal expenditure we undertake an additional $166 million share of Defense expenditures, fiscal year 2019 over fiscal year 2017. This truly is “huge.” For example, the 13,000 Vermont renter households (about one in seven statewide) receiving federal “affordable housing assistance” (30% of income max for rent) consumes about $106 million federal funds. The defense department increase equals over 1 ½ times total federal affordable housing assistance in Vermont helping 13,000 renters, one in seven rental households ! Which do you prefer, serving the needs of 1,800 households on housing assistance waiting lists alone here in Chittenden County or $166 million more for defense? Likely and correctly Leahy, Sanders, and Welch will say if they did not support the $83.1 billion defense increase, the Republican Scrooge Brigade would have gutted housing assistance and most other discretionary social support programs like our community health centers and child services. Fine, Congressional delegation, but tell the truth every day how this year Vermonters anti-up $166 million to support more F 35s, the Afghanistan War, etc. Each breath of criticizing a Supreme Court nominee, single payer health, or farmer subsidies, tell us Vermonters where our program increases tax money goes to—more F 35s and military drones. The lack of honesty from our Vermont political leaders helps explains frustration building up since about 1980 over the accelerating maldistribution of economic benefits which mostly accrue to the top 1%. Sad comment on the so-called leaders of Vermont with its town meeting government where town budgets get screened down the the last penny.

Base defense budget numbers used here does not include “Overseas Contingency Operations” ($71.7 billion FFY 2017) or other related expenditures which includes VA, and other defense support $228.2 billion budget enacted FFY 2017.