How bad has the military-industrial complex gotten? The arms industry donates tens of millions of dollars every election cycle, and the average taxpayer spends $1,087 per year on weapons contractors compared to just $270 for K-12 education.
William D. Hartung is a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.
The Pentagon budget, now up to nearly $800 billion, is a monument to waste and profligacy. If we want to tackle the major crises of our times, like climate change and global inequality, we can’t afford to keep showering the military with money.
Since the start of the Afghanistan War in 2001, Pentagon spending has totaled a staggering $14 trillion. And half of it has gone directly to the biggest beneficiaries of US empire: defense contractors.