HIGHTOWER: Subsidizing the Arms Merchants

We're number one! We're number one! [Fade down] We're number one! We're number one!The USA's weapons industry has become the world's Number-one arms merchant, selling everything from assault guns to fighter jets, peddling our destructive wares not only to democratic governments, but also to Third World dictators who use this arsenal to repress and kill their people.Of course, General Electric, Lockheed and the other weapons makers did not get to be number one by themselves -- you and I helped them, providing tax subsidies for marketing their products. Just for the heck of it, let's add-up the arms-sales welfare we taxpayers give to these conglomerates:[Cash register] We pay nearly half-a-billion bucks in salaries to 6,500 federal employees who work full-time to promote and finance these sales by the weapons peddlers;[Cash register] We pay $27 million a year to put-on military-arms expos around the world, so potential buyers can come "kick the tires" of an F-15 and check-out the other products the companies are pushing;[Cash register] Pay attention to this one: We spend $3.2 BILLION a year in grants to foreign countries to buy American-made weapons -- that's right, we GIVE THEM THE MONEY to buy hardware from Lockheed and the rest;[Cash register] Then there's a special "Economic Development" fund to provide $2-BILLION a year more to help countries offset the cost of buying arms from U.S. companies;[Cash register] We also loan money to countries to buy our weapons; if they default on the loans, we taxpayers eat the loss, to the tune of another billion a year.Total tally of these and other subsidies is $7.6 BILLION, each and every year, taken from our pockets and handed to the arms merchants.This is Jim Hightower saying . . . This doesn't count the fact that we also pay for the research and development costs to make these weapons! What a racket.Source: "Welfare vs. Warfare: Subsidizing the Arms Trade" by Jon Lottman. Campaign for New Priorities Press Release. April 11, 1997.

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