Welch directed $49 million out of $69.8 million, or 70 percent of his total earmarks, toward defense-related spending in 2008 and 2009, according to public information gathered by TCS.
Of that, $13.5 million was earmarked for the Vermont National Guard. The rest of the money was given to defense contractors in Vermont, including $10 million to General Dynamics in Burlington for the manufacture of XM312 machine guns.None of this would be shocking in most places in the US, but Welch, like anyone campaigning in Vermont, had to lay on the progressive rhetoric fairly thickly to get elected. He says “his highest priority is to help Vermont’s community-supported organizations succeed,” 70 percent of Welch’s earmarks were for military expenditures in 2008, 2009 | Vtdigger.org. Last I checked, most communities in Vermont did not need XM312 machine guns. But that's how supposedly progressive politics happen in VT and the rest of the country. Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator, regularly supports General Dynamics, the defense contractor, because they "create good jobs for Vermonters." Admittedly, building guns generally pays more than working at Walmart, but it is hardly "progressive." In fact, the real world effects of the federal government spending more than 50% of all tax dollars on defense and defense related industries, not just in VT but everywhere, is that the US government must engage in constant and permanent war to defend such expenditures. Obama would have to find another war if he did not increase the war in Afghanistan or start to actually lower military expenditures. Trying to move the US economy form a military-based one to a civilian one would prove even more dangerous than taking on Big Insurance for universal health care. And like health care, there are real costs in real human lives. In Vermont, because General Dynamics (and GE before them) developed and produced Depleted Uranium weapons, there are large amounts of radioactive pollution lying about. Depleted Uranium weapons are effective at killing where they are produced- mostly through cancer - then again where they are used- because they're dipped in non-fissionable radioactive material they can go through anything-- and then of course the populations exposed to them- soldiers and civilians- can die later from all sorts of uranium related illnesses. It's that sort of ingenuity that drives the military-industrial complex, but also presents a complex set of issues for progressive Americans. If Progressives are going to stop the permanent war economy and provide health care and a basic standard of living to everyone, then we cannot focus on just one issue, like health care or anti-war activism. We must see the problem as a "whole." The reason there's no money for health care or education or cleaning up the environment is BECAUSE of the military expenditures, that the only way to create actual progressive policies and politicians is to dismantle the military industrial complex by ending the earmarks for it, and that the only way to have an actual two-party system is to insist that our supposedly progressive leaders, like Obama and Welch, stop just talking the talk, and actually start walking the walk.