As Capitol Hill lawmakers continue to insist that initiatives like Medicare for All are too expensive, a new congressional report shows that the United States government is on a path to spend more than a half-trillion dollars on nuclear weapons in just the next decade. The report emerges at the same time a separate analysis shows that a handful of top executives at defense contractors are being wildly enriched by a Pentagon spending spree.
The first report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that the federal government is on track to spend $634 billion over the next decade to maintain its nuclear forces. Almost two-thirds of those costs are for the Department of Defense, mostly to maintain ballistic missile submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. About one-third is for the Department of Energy.
For comparison that is:
- 1.5 times the cost of all of the $1,400 stimulus checks that were sent to people through the American Rescue Plan earlier this year.
- Nearly fourteen times the $47 billion that Congress has spent so far this year helping Americans who are behind on rent.
- Over one-third of the cost of cancelling the $1.7 trillion in student debt held by Americans, most of which is never going to be repaid.
- More than seven times the estimated $81 billion of outstanding medical debt in America, as of 2018.
The new CBO estimate represents a 28 percent increase over the last ten-year estimate that the CBO made on US nuclear forces two years ago.
The figures were released just a few weeks after a new analysis from the Center for International Policy, a foreign policy think tank in Washington, found that “In 2020 alone, the CEOs of the [Pentagon’s] top five contractors received a total of $105.4 million in compensation.”
When accounting for all top corporate officials, these firms paid out more than a quarter billion dollars of total executive compensation in 2020 — and paid out more than $1 billion over the last four years.
About half of the Pentagon’s budget goes directly to corporations such as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, according to the report.