Monday, March 9, 2009

How Your Tax Dollars are Spent

A little leg work on the internet reveals that some forty two million dollars was set aside to build new bachelor quarters on the Marine Corp base on Oahu. Source: (the company that is doing the job and that information was last updated 12-11-08) For that amount of money you get 78 units making each ‘unit’ worth about 544,000 dollars each. Okay there are laundry and recreation room and vending areas, etc. along with landscaping and other amenities but let’s face it, at half a million dollars you can buy and entire single family home along with the land it sits on. (Median price for a single family home was $550,000 as of 3/3/09, (source Honolulu advertiser)
The new bachelor pad will have A Telecommunications Infrastructure Room, On Each Floor To House Communications & Security System Infrastructure, This Area Is In Addition To The Functional Areas Allowed For The Facility, Information Systems Include Telephone, Data, & Cable Television (CATV). Don’t you love the wording “Information Systems” which go on to describe itself as telephone, data, (probably internet access) and cable television. The expression making a pig’s ear look like a silk purse seems apt because they have to find some way to justify housing each soldier in a half million dollar crib. Telecommunications Infrastructure Room Will Be Provided On Each Floor To House Communications & Security System Infrastructure. I don’t want to sound cynical but do Marines on a base really need a security system? I thought they were the security system. Do they need to pay an outside contractor to put in a system that makes them feel safe? What is all that training for anyway if they don’t feel secure on a heavily armed Marine Base? But here is the punch line, in May of 2008 it was stated by the House of Representatives that a Marine Corps Base Hawaii Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (part of ongoing improvements to bachelor enlisted quarters) was to be $28.2 million. I guess that extra 14 million dollars that got worked in is going to make the recreation room and vending area larger, much larger. Read what Rep. Abercrombie had to say at:
But how many of you think how the money is being spent, or in the case of the newly passed stimulus package, not being spent.
A lot of stuff got cut from the stimulus but what we got instead was more military equipment. For instance according the GAO the government spent $361 million per F22 Raptor Fighter Jet. The Pentagon got plenty of money up front as they have all those guns and such it is easy to intimidate anybody, including Congress. Now $361 million dollars, per plane, represents the cost of developing the plane as well and by the time all 183 planes have been built, $34 billion will have been spent on procurement while $62 billion on the total program costs. Do we really need 183? Let’s for the sake of a one sided diatribe assume the military could make it work with 150 of these new fangled grim reaper soul harvesting machines. That is a savings of close to 12 billion dollars….for 33 planes!
Instead of thirty three F22 Raptor Jets these items below could have been left in the stimulus package:
65 million for watershed rehabilitation, 98 million for school nutrition, 50 million for aquaculture, 1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees, 25 million for Fish and Wildlife, 55 million for historic preservation, 20 million for working capital fund, 90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management, 1 billion for Head Start/Start Early, 3.5 billion for higher education construction, 100 million for Science, 200 million of the National Science Foundation, 10 million for state and law enforcement, 100 million for distance learning, 50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension, 2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants, 600 million for Title 1 (no Child Left Behind), 2.5 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization and other programs that got diminished could be brought to full funding as in, the other 300 million for the federal fleet of hybrids, the other 100 million for Law Enforcement wireless, the other 75 million for the Smithsonian, the other 600 million for the Superfund Cleanup. We would have to cut half a billion from the Neighborhood program to come in on budget but if they are asking us to cut, do we have the nerve to ask the Pentagon to do the same?
For the cost of 33 killing machines we could have gotten a whole mess of programs that not only create jobs but create something that improves the quality of life. But wait, there’s more! What about the missiles the plane is going to carry, we haven’t even got into the cost of upgrades. Each jet carries six AIM 120 C missiles with a cost of $386,000.00 ( which now makes another 2 billion 316 million for the ‘perishables’. (i.e. one time use and aptly named) Multiple that by our reduced force of 150 planes and now the fee for those high altitude fly by shootings is 347 billion dollars.
And that is only the missile named, “AIM 120 C”. On the same website you can learn about all the missiles and what they cost.
For instance:
$450,000 per AIM 130……….. up to $110,000 for on AGM 65……… one AGM 86B goes for one million dollars apiece and there are 1142 of those available in the inventory…………… one AGM 88 is $200,000………. one AIM 7 is $125,000…………. one AIM 9’s is $84,000…………, one GBU-15 is $242,500, and I am only scratching the surface and to get to deep truth you will need a bunker busting bomb from Raytheon Missile Systems. That company was awarded, on February 10, 2005, a $10,490,029 firm fixed price contract to provide Guided Bomb Unit-28C/B (BLU-122) guidance control units and tail kits, quantity of 71. Ten billion dollars for 71 bombs! Is it worth it? Do you feel safer knowing this or more afraid that our priorities are so skewed.
When the Marines were founded in 1775 they wore their hair tied back in a knot but today they cut their hair ‘high and tight.’ To maintain the look a haircut is required every week. At seven dollars a haircut done 52 times a year comes to $365 dollars per Marine. Multiply that by 199,000 active duty Marines and you the tax payer, are paying about $72,436,000.00 every year for their fashion statement. Too bad they are so covered up with body armor and helmets because nobody can tell how good they look.
If we, the people, don’t look at how our money is being spent then we deserve everything the government doesn’t give us. If on the other hand this article has ‘incited’ you, then pick up your pen, (it is mightier than the sword, remember?) and let you congressman and senator how you want your tax dollars spent.
M. Marlin©3/7/2009

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