HIGHTOWER: Finding Money for Pentagon "Readiness"

Imagine the reaction if a multibillion-dollar federal poverty agency was wracked with waste and fraud, and that the need for such a massive poverty program no longer even existed -- yet the heads of the agency overseeing the program came to congress demanding a $50 billion increase in their annual budget.

What an outcry there would be! Trent Lott would spontaneously combust in outrage, Rush Limbaugh would turn purple and implode, and the Wall Street Journal would organize a media lynch mob.

So where was the establishment's outrage when the joint chiefs of staff -- the five barons of the Pentagon's fiefdom -- came before the congress to demand that their $300-billion-plus annual funding be increased by $50 billion a year? Remember the bipartisan shrieking not long ago about all the single moms on welfare? That entire program cost $50 billion a year. Yet here's a corporate welfare program more than six times bigger, a massive chunk of which goes to fat cat military contractors, and we're supposed to give them $50 billion more of our tax dollars each year?

Oh, whine the Pentagon brass, we've got a "readiness problem," we're not able to respond to our enemies' threats. Hello. You're already getting more than half of what congress appropriates each year, but you're not ready? And you're the generals? By the way, the money we already throw at this most wasteful, fraudulent federal bureaucracy is 22 times more than the combined military spending of our supposed enemies. These are the same generals who this year got congress to appropriate $50 million a year just to lease six Gulfstream V executive luxury jets to fly them around the country.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... The Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff told congress "We must find the resources necessary to modernize the force." Hey, General, how about we start with your private jet and the astonishing waste and fraud in the Pentagon's bloated budget?

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