Over the weekend Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill, affectionately referred to as the “cromnibus” by those inside the beltway because it is part continuing resolution and part omnibus spending bill.
The cromnibus gives the Pentagon $554 billion, which, according to a new article in Mother Jones magazine, is “close to what is got during the height of the Iraq war,” when the United States had tens of thousands of troops in the country. In fact, the author points out that even with the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Pentagon spending remains at its highest levels since World War II.
But low and behold, it appears that these cries are just a lot of hot air coming war hawks and Pentagon officials who want more expensive, shiny things that go boom.
So what is the Pentagon’s slush fund? A new article in Politico Magazine tells you everything you need to about it – including why the slush fund is a dream come true for the Pentagon, and a nightmare for taxpayers.
The slush fund, also known as the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, was set up after 9-11 to “temporarily” fund “emergency” operations in Afghanistan (and later Iraq). The slush fund has now become a behemoth (its funding levels would equal that of the fifth largest government agency) that Congress and the Pentagon use to pay for their pet projects and pad the military’s budget.
In fact, a military budget expert estimated that the Pentagon’s original slush fund request contained more than $30 billion in programs that are unrelated to operations in Afghanistan. Now does this sound like a Pentagon that is hurting for funds?
So the next time you hear someone talking about how the Pentagon needs more money, take it with a grain so salt. And remember – domestic programs don’t have their own slush funds.