Friday, April 5, 2013

March Madness: Part Une

Occasionally, what you wish for turns out to be something you didn’t really want. The United States wished for, and got, a laissez-faire Capitalist economy. From the late 1800’s through the 20th Century, this brand of economic structure worked pretty darn well. We have been witness to the maturation of the Industrial Revolution, the dawn of the Electronic Age, and now we find ourselves at a crossroads, of sort. What we do with what we have is going to define our Society for a very long time to come.

There has been a recent and very staggering increase in the division of wealth in this Country. The top 2% are laughing all the way to the bank. The Middle Class has all but disappeared. The ranks of the working poor and impoverished are growing exponentially. The democratic style of government we chose has grown into this behemoth of a bureaucracy that is crumbling under its own weight. In keeping pace, our business sectors have run the table with tax breaks and subsidies (Corporate Welfare). They have perfected this to the point where the U.S. has a fast dwindling tax base with which to operate. If you are on the outside looking in, you might wonder what the problem is. We seem to have enough money, so why are we in such a crisis?

The answer to that is GREED. Most of the working populace has traditionally relied on business ownership and management to “do the right thing”. We believed that there was good in all humankind, and that the owners of the wealth would not forget who got them where they are today. It’s bad enough that “We the People” are getting the short end of the stick from business, finance, and manufacturing. Our own Government is sticking it to us at the same time. I give you the Military/Industrial Complex.



After half a Century of paying lip service to the perils of this consortium, we have done nothing at all to close the wound and stop the bleeding. The vicious cycle of campaign funding, lobbying, politics, running an arms race with no real opponent, and lining the pockets of a chosen few has this Nation broken down and in the ditch. Someone in this game has to blink sooner than later. We do have a lot of money, but the well is running dry at an alarming rate.
The big question is, “Where do you start?” Below is a list of the top 20 defense contractors based on their 2009 defense contract revenue. The numbers reflect what the Company actually made on their “corporate welfare” contracts. The contracts, themselves, have numbers whose zeroes would run off the page. The political will of the People can break the cycle right here.

Top Defense Companies
Defense Revenue
($ Millions - 2009)
Source: Washington Technology - 2010 Top 100 [1]

These Companies, along with hoards of others, treat out National Treasury like their own personal ATM card.
You certainly recognize most of them, and, of note, are the Corporations that are Foreign, and, as such, pose a threat to the security of Military manufacturing capabilities of the U.S.

  1. “…BAE has described the rationale for expansion in the US; "[it] is by far the largest defense market with spend running close to twice that of the Western European nations combined. Importantly, US investment in research and development is significantly higher than in Western Europe." The company's 2004 strategy review confirmed a "strategic bias" for expansion and investment in the US… “ [2]
  2. DRS Technologies Inc. is a US-based defense contractor. Previously traded on the NYSE, the company was purchased by the Italian firm Finmeccanica in October 2008. [3]

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