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Author: TriSec    Date: 05/23/2017 09:36:02

Good Morning.

It's been quite some time since we reviewed the Cost of War.

Even though there has been little actual shooting of late, we're still gallivanting around the world sticking our nose in everyone's business.

So, we find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$1, 762, 970, 650, 000.00

I did time it, and it seems to be rising about $28,000 every ten seconds.

I was skimming for some stories this morning, and the next two were the first ones in my usual locations today. I found the sequencing somewhat jarring.

First, it's the Pentagon - they have apparently amassed a vast, secret, cache of cash.

The Pentagon is being accused of amassing billions of dollars by overcharging the military on fuel.

According to the Washington Post, which broke the story on Saturday, "The Pentagon has generated almost $6 billion over the past seven years by charging the armed forces excessive prices for fuel and has used the money — called the 'bishop's fund' by some critics — to bolster mismanaged or underfunded military programs, documents show."

The report notes that, in the past couple of years, money from this account has gone towards various projects including, "$450 million to shore up a prescription-drug program riddled with fraud and $1.4 billion to cover unanticipated expenses from the war in Afghanistan, according to military accounting records."

Based on standard protocols, the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency is in charge of purchasing fuel from major oil companies like Exxon and reselling it to the various military branches and others, notes the Wall Street Journal.

Concerns about the high fuel cost paid by for the armed services have been raised before; a 2014 CNBC report found that the branches end up spending multiple times more than civilians do. However, other factors reportedly figure into the cost, including the challenges in securing and transporting the material.

Due to the sequencing of the stories this morning, it sure looked to me like giving our soldiers a pay raise is a distraction - not that they don't deserve it, but it just struck me as an odd juxtaposition.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s pledge to boost defense spending and rebuild the American military in coming years will likely entail only modest pay and benefits adjustments for men and women in uniform.

Earlier this year, White House officials said their budget proposal (specifics of which are due out May 23) “ends the arbitrary depletion of our strength and security and begins to rebuild the U.S. armed forces.” But Trump’s proposed defense budget of $603 billion has limited fiscal flexibility. Much of the money is already spoken for in the form of expanded personnel and equipment bills coming due next year.

As a result, hikes in troops’ pay, housing stipends and related benefits will be pitted against equipment replacement, munitions upgrades and other hardware expenses. If next year's pay raise is linked to anticipated private-sector wage growth, long the standard for the military’s annual increase, it'll mean a paycheck jump of about 1.9 percent.

How would a 1.9 percent pay raise affect your income? Download a chart here showing every paygrade.

Lawmakers have already hinted they’re looking at that amount starting next January, which would translate into about $50 more per month for enlisted troops with four years service and about $115 a month for officers with six years.

On Capitol Hill, congressional Republicans hope to push the defense budget higher than the White House request. Both House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and his Senate counterpart, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have proposed a $640 billion base for defense, and will begin their legislative budget work with that number in mind.

Remember those $900 toilet seats we used to complain about during the Reagan era? There's always some way to defraud the American taxpayer, isn't there?


48 comments (Latest Comment: 05/23/2017 23:31:24 by TriSec)
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