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(DV) Sandronsky: Pentagon Private Accounts







Pentagon Private Accounts
by Seth Sandronsky
April 18, 2005

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Oh say can we see record federal deficits with no end in sight.  What with big tax cuts for corporations and millionaires as Operation Iraqi Freedom continues, and energy-rich Iran menacing the American people, the time for fiscal prudence is now.  Fortunately, I have the key to this crucial shift in public policy that involves a change in U.S. defense spending. Patriotically, I follow in President Bush’s footsteps as he pitches to save Social Security with personal accounts replacing part of the current payroll tax.  Plus my solution will also please those all-important Wall Street financial firms in America’s money democracy: private accounts for the Pentagon.

Such a tax-and-spend plan for the U.S. military would be invested and managed by Wall Street. Since the president, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Snow say privatizing Social Security is the rational way to guarantee the future solvency of the program for baby boomers and younger workers, private accounts invested in the stock market can also maintain U.S. military strength. In this way, stock market investments will help the American public in unity with its millionaire politicians beat back domestic and foreign threats wherever they are.

Currently, the Pentagon gets its funds from the general tax revenue. Such expenditures have grown steadily since the end of World War II. There has been more weaponry for the American military with each passing year, and no light at the end of this tunnel of wars, cold and hot.  Meanwhile, the shortfall between military expenditures and tax revenue is growing.

With the GOP majority behind him, the president could avoid the Pentagon running short of cash by shifting its funding base from the general tax revenue to a payroll tax. Here’s my next policy step: convert the Pentagon payroll tax to private accounts. Why limit the future bounty from the stock market to recipients of Social Security? That makes no sense and is unpatriotic. Making the stock market fund the U.S. military is an idea whose time has come, and not a moment too soon.

Of course some war contractors might disagree with my modest proposal. I can hear their grumbling now from hot tubs in their gated communities. That is a terrible shame.  But I expected such sour grapes from suits who cheer free enterprise as they milk the public treasury like a cow. So listen up, you grumpy CEOs of Bechtel, Halliburton and Lockheed Martin. Embrace the stock market as a source of Uncle Sam’s funds to buy your corporations’ advanced weaponry to spread liberty globally and increase Americans’ security. If returns on investment in the Pentagon private accounts are down one quarter, there is always the next quarter for Uncle Sam to purchase your unsold weapons systems.  Patience.

There are other benefits of my fiscal proposal.  Relying on the stock market to bankroll the Pentagon would diminish Uncle Sam’s reliance on foreign lenders. U.S. society wins when the stock market helps to cut the indebtedness of the federal government. Who can argue with that? Certainly not Team Bush and the privatizers with the Cato Institute. Together, they assure the public that the stock market will provide holders of Social Security private accounts high rates of return in the future. If that is so, the same investment principle holds true for Pentagon private accounts.

The properly schooled know that Americans’ future living standards face a threat from the tax dollars needed to maintain U.S. military spending. If the well being of the American people depends on the well being of the Pentagon, its bloated budget must be reduced. How? Create private Pentagon accounts. Our future depends on it.

Seth Sandronsky is a member of Peace Action and co-editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at:

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