Senator C. Everett Dirksen is famously quoted saying “…a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon we’re talking about real money.” The problem is there is no documentary evidence Dirksen ever said this(1) but there is plenty of documentary evidence of the billions that Congress spends today, including the $585 MILLION that corrupted body is about to shell out to our new warlord buddies in Egypt; or are they?
The headlines read that the aid to Egypt has been “temporarily suspended.” After digging into the matter I can report to you why the suspension is but temporary: the money doesn’t go to Egypt, it goes to American defense contractors. According to Muckety.com “Lockheed Martin makes fighter jets for Egypt. General Dynamics makes tanks, Raytheon makes missiles, Northrop Grumman makes radar equipment, Oshkosh makes trucks and VSE provides ship repair.”(2)
That is an impressive but incomplete list of American defense contractors or as Dwight Eisenhower called them(3) “the military industrial complex.” These corporations gobble up incomprehensible sums of money in the manufacture of their wares. This leaves the job of finding uses for these armaments to the Congress and State departments in places like Vietnam, Eastern Africa and most recently the Middle East. Whether the United States uses the hardware for its own interventions or donates the instruments of war to countries deemed “allies”, the result is hundreds of billions spent every year in what amounts to a national security welfare state, cal it military “stimulus”.
Ironically, when President Obama signed the last stimulus project which transferred wealth into making solar panels and harnessing amoeba flatulence, “conservatives” moaned that the treasury had been robbed and our grandchildren impoverished. This was petty theft compared to what is called “The Permanent War Economy.”(4) As the great Robert Higgs points out “by diverting workers and resources to a bloated, privileged, anticompetitive procurement complex, war buildups have actually reduced the American capacity to invent, innovate, and enhance productivity along nonmilitary lines.”
So, the $585 MILLION “aid” to Egypt is a fraction of the $700 BILLION Congress will spend on “defense” this year. A defense that should be an offense to the American People.
“The chief evidence in support of Dirksen making the statement comes from people who claim to have heard him. The Library of Congress, for example, cites someone’s personal observation on the campaign trail as evidence. The Dirksen Center has received calls from people who heard Dirksen say those words, some even providing the date of the event. But cross-checking that information with the records has, so far, turned up nothing in the way of confirmation.
The closest documented statement came at a joint Senate-House Republican leadership press conference on March 8, 1962, when Dirksen said, “The favorite sum of money is $1 billion – a billion a year for a fatter federal payroll, a billion here, a billion there.” [EMD Papers, Republican Congressional Leadership File, f. 25] But the “and pretty soon you’re talking real money” is missing.
In another close call, the New York Times, January 23, 1961, quoted Dirksen: “Look at education – two-and-one-half billion – a billion for this, a billion for that, a billion for something else. Three to five billion for public works. You haven’t got any budget balance left. You’ll be deeply in the red.” [Cited in Byron Hulsey’s “Everett Dirksen and the Modern Presidents,” Ph.D. dissertation (May 1998, University of Texas, p. 226]
“The Overlooked Costs of the Permanent War Economy: A Market Process Approach”
Christopher J. Coyne, Thomas K. Duncan George Mason University -Mercatus Center July 26, 2012