Coronavirus: Feed the people, starve the Pentagon!

money drain
Image: Doomu/Getty Images

By Chris Fry

As millions of workers and poor are desperately facing a catastrophic loss of income from the Coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the country and the world, now is the time to examine the various stashes of wealth that we producers have created and that the parasitic capitalist class has appropriated. In short, in this time of crisis, we want that money back!

A first place to look is Trump’s expanding nuclear weapons program. A Feb. 26 Bloomberg article reports that the Pentagon has plans to spend a whopping $167 billion over the next five years to “modernize” its gigantic nuclear arsenal.

The Defense Department’s five-year plan on nuclear programs calls for $29 billion for fiscal 2021, $30 billion in 2022 and $33 billion in 2023, before jumping to $37 billion in 2024 and $38 billion in 2025.

The plan includes $25 billion for research and procurement — but not support and operations for — the new Columbia-class intercontinental ballistic missile submarine that begins construction this year, $24 billion for improved nuclear command and control and $23 billion for the Air Force’s B-21 bomber.

The Bloomberg article states that this weapons program has wide support among both Democratic and Republican legislators. These horrendous weapons are designed to terrorize the population of the world into quiet submission to slavery by U.S. imperialism, even while a deadly disease threatens the lives millions of people around the globe.

Trump calls COVID-19 the “China virus”

During both the March 17th and March 18th press conference, Trump called COVID-19 the “China virus”. When a reporter asked him if that was a racist term that could lead to attacks on ethnic Chinese people, Trump denied that, saying that he was responding in this clearly derogatory way because of Chinese government demands that the U.S. investigate the possibility that the virus actually first infected U.S. soldiers, who then, perhaps inadvertently, passed it onto others at the international military games in China last summer.

In fact, the journal Medical Daily reported that the germ warfare lab at Fort Detrick in Maryland was shut down by the Center for Disease Control last summer because of a faulty wastewater treatment system.

The decision comes after an inspection in June found that the research lab failed to run sufficient systems that should decontaminate wastewater from the facility. The CDC suspended all research, including projects of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). 

The germ warfare lab at Fort Detrick was shown to be the source of the infamous anthrax attacks right after the 9/11 event in 2001. Letters with anthrax were mailed that killed five people and infected 17 others.

China officials point to research that shows that the first virus infection occurred during the international military games before the Wuhan market was set up, which the U.S. has claimed was the starting point of the disease. Boss Trump, man of 10,000 lies, has denied the Chinese government’s assertion, and is using his denial to foment more racism against ethnic Chinese people.

Pentagon budget: the $738 billion rat hole

On Dec. 19, weapons contractors broke out the champagne bottles as Congress passed the 2020 budget for the U.S. military of $738 billion, some $20 billion more than the bloated 2019 budget. This is more than half of the total $1.4 trillion federal budget.

There’s $146 billion for a broad laundry list of military hardware, to include $1.87 billion for 98 F-35 aircraft, which is 20 more than the president’s request, and eight F-15EX aircraft to recapitalize the F-15C/D fleet. Among other provisions asserting Congress’ power of the purse, the bill bucks the Army’s wishes to include $28 million in advance procurement funds for the newest variant of the CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter.

According to a Jan. 2019 CNBC report, U.S. companies make up five of the six largest weapons companies in the world as of the end of 2017:

  •         General Dynamics – $19.5 billion
  •         Northrop Grumman – $22.4 billion
  •         Raytheon – $23.9 billion
  •         Boeing – $26.9 billion
  •         Lockheed Martin – $44.9 billion

The General Electric Healthcare subsidiary manufactures the badly needed Carescape R860 ventilator, which can keep patients alive through the Coronavirus-induced respiratory failure, and of which there is a nationwide shortage. This subsidiary earns GE some $18.3 billion. But GE’s Aviation subsidiary, which manufactures airplane engines and systems for the military, earns $30.5 billion. One can easily guess which has GE’s priority.

Trump: Try getting it yourselves

A New York Times report from March 16 indicated that when state governors asked Trump for help with getting medical equipment, particularly ventilators which are in desperately short supply, Trump coldly responded: “’Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,’ Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times.”

Whatever paltry benefits the government passes out to the workers and oppressed during this crisis, it will be far overshadowed by the vast sums given to big business and the banks, including the airlines, the cruise ship owners and fast food industries. Of course, the vast weapons industry will be left untouched.

And when the crisis is over, you can be sure that Trump and his Wall Street buddies will turn to our class to pay back the vast borrowed sums by the most onerous austerity measures imaginable. We cannot let that happen! All the wealth in the banks, big business and in the treasury was created by and belongs to the people.

Slash the Pentagon war budget!

The workers and oppressed have the right to every penny spent to see them through this crisis!

Make the billionaire class pay!

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