TRILLION WITH A "T" In the midst of all the hubbub over the President's $674 billion economic stimulus plan, a shocking new study about another major budget buster managed to fly under the radar screen of just about every major news media outlet.
Greed, Corruption Make "Star Wars" Plan Cost Billions
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
A new report released by five economists and the Economists Allied for Arms Reduction concluded that the current National Missile Defense (NMD) system plan would cost between $800 billion and $1.2 trillion. This is the estimated price tag to pay for deployment by 2015 and then to maintain and operate the system.
After NMD proponents have continually lowballed the total cost in order to win approval for the program, this report ought to give Congress and the American public sticker shock. It's typical for cost estimates for weapons systems to reflect relatively short periods of time and focus on acquisition and development costs, but not provide estimates for longer-term costs associated with general operations and support. The new report considers all of these costs, offering taxpayers a more realistic estimate of what final so-called "missile defense" price tag will be.
In order for the administration to reach its ambitious goal of deploying the ground, sea and air-based missile systems by 2015, about $500 billion will need to be spent in the next 13 years, according to the report.
In addition to taking a huge bite out of the federal budget, this trillion-dollar price tag would put an extraordinary drain on the military financial resources. The economists found that if the military budget remains at its current increased level and is not decreased, missile defense would still account for more than 12% of the nation's military spending. It would cost more than $50 billion per year to pay for development of the system and between $25 and $35 billion per year for 2013 through 2022. This would come at the expense of our men and women in uniform, some of whom are still surviving on food stamps.
To add insult to injury, spending this fortune will coincide with the onset of baby boomer generation's collection of Social Security and Medicare benefits, and the budgetary strain implied by that. With a war on terrorism that could last for quite some time, a likely war against Iraq, tens of billions needed to defend our homeland, and promises made on health care and prescription drugs, the plan for missile defense spends money that our nation simply doesn't have.
The recent announcement that the Missile Defense Agency is going cancel its next two planned tests of National Missile Defense should make us squirm even more. They are throwing fiscal discipline out the door and now they don't want to even make sure the system is properly tested. Just a month ago, the latest test failed when the booster rocket of the test interceptor missile did not separate, causing it to miss its intended target. This was the third failure in eight tests –- and even the tests were made unrealistic in order to ensure success. [The Progress Report asks -- what other cases of corruption may be operating here? If somebody is willing to cheat on tests, what other frauds and crimes are they committing?]
In the post 9/11 world, America needs a national defense strategy that works. This report is a sobering reminder that fiscal responsibility needs to be taken into consideration. In light of news that the federal budget deficit could surpass $350 billion this year, one of the most significant investments we will be making in a generation needs to be properly scrutinized.
An inadequately tested and costly missile defense system only provides a false sense of security and a bigger national debt. Believing that this overpriced and faulty security blanket can keep our nation from harm's way is not only wrong, it is dangerous.
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110
or by email at email@example.com
TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
|Also see these earlier revelations about the corrupt Star Wars program:|
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