For the decades since the end of World War II, it seems like the United States has been more-or-less in a permanent state of war or pre-war and, with President Trump’s recent announcement that it was seeking a “historic” (Trump’s word) $54 billion or 9.2 percent increase, it looks like business as usual in Washington. As we were warned in President Dwight Eisenhower’s final official speech to America, even the former warrior realized the risks being taken by allowing the nation’s military-industrial complex to control Washington’s agenda.
Here is President Eisenhower’s final speech to the nation dated January 17, 1961:
Here is the key part of the farewell speech found at the 8 minute and 5 second mark from the actual reading copy:
As we all know, lobbying forms an extremely important part of Washington’s culture; the money spent by Corporate America in its attempts to get the President, Congress and the decision makers to see things their way is substantial as shown here, thanks to the Center for Responsive Politics:
Here is a breakdown of the top spending economic sectors for 2016:
Spending on lobbying by the defense sector in 2016 totalled $126.242 million, putting them in 9th place, however, it is key to note that they fall behind the much broader “miscellaneous business”, “other” and “ideology/single-issue” categories.
Now, let’s look at which lobbying clients were the top spenders over the period from 1998 to 2016:
As you can see, of the lobbying clients that are actual individual corporations, the second highest spending lobbyist on the list is Northrop Grumman followed by Boeing at number 3 and Lockheed Martin at number 5.
Let’s look at the annual spending on lobbying by the defense aerospace industry going back to 1998:
Here is a table showing which defense aerospace companies spent more that $100,000 on lobbying:
Here is a graphic showing the annual spending on lobbying by the defence electronics industry going back to 1998:
Here is a table showing which defense electronics companies spent more that $100,000 on lobbying:
Obviously, the stakes are very high for these defense companies; since their very existence and certainly their profitability depends heavily on Department of Defense contracts, it is well worth “investing” millions of dollars to get Washington “on side”. As such, here is a listing of the top ten American defense contractors for 2016:
With all of this defense industry influence being wielded in the halls of power in the nation’s capital, is it any wonder that the United States seems to be permanently in a state of war? As President Eisenhower warned us, we must be guard against the “unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex”. My suspicion is that it’s already far too late and that Donald Trump has just done exactly what the defense industry wants him to do for them.
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