Editor, The Beacon:
Voters elect people to represent their interests and create jobs, infrastructure, police and fire protection, etc.
It’s when this purpose is taken to extremes with little or no oversight that bloated budgets occur. I validate this statement by citing an investigative reporter’s probe of recent Department of the Navy appropriations.
It begins with members of Congress in whose districts Navy ships are built. Somehow these same congressional representatives become members of the Appropriations Committee. This gives them an advantage in bringing jobs to their district, ensuring support from their voters and job security for themselves.
At the very least, this is a conflict of interest. It also creates expenditures where none are needed. I will explain.
Under the guise of a perceived but unsubstantiated belief of a future naval war with China, members of this committee seek the appropriation of funds to build new ships, thus bringing jobs to the members’ districts.
Therein lies the problem. An investigative reporter discovered that while billions of dollars were available for new ships, funds for refitting and maintaining existing ones were reduced.
Some ships are being cannibalized to make others battle-ready. This misappropriation of funds affects the warfighting capabilities of the entire fleet.
Oversight of these types of misuse of funds will be a step in reducing government expenses. This is only one example, in one branch of the military. If all appropriations were exposed to similar scrutiny, I’m sure unneeded expenditures could be reduced, creating a balanced budget.
Leaving the protection of our country to the strategists, and taking politics out of the equation, would be less expensive and more effective.