How much haggling was there in Washington these past few months over military projects and troop surges? Barack Obama has now declared war on waste in the defense budget and the Pentagon has had to cut some high-tech items. It has abandoned, for example, the F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft, which costs $351 million each. Still, the President has approved a defense budget of $680 billion for the new fiscal year - a budget that even George Bush would have envied. With that, the United states will spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Despite all the talk of peace and the Nobel Prize, nothing much has changed under Obama.

The U.S. budget deficit will approach $1.8 trillion this year. Despite the enormous sums needed for economic stimulus packages, bank bailouts, assistance to hard-pressed home-buyers, the 31 million Americans who need food stamps to survive and the 47 million who have no health insurance, the Pentagon budget won’t be reduced. On the contrary: it has been increased by four percent thanks to taxpayers, in order to be ready for the “low-tech” threats posed by Iran and North Korea, and to expand the war in the Hindu-Kush. Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq alone will cost America $130 billion.

This budget is a symbol of American political poverty.