Why there's always enough money for warfare in the U.S. federal budget

As budget votes get going this week, keep an eye on the three most magical letters in Washington: OCO. In an era where so many politicians harp on “removing the burden of debt from our children,” OCO – which stands for Overseas Contingency Operations – represents an escape hatch. Put money into OCO and it doesn’t count as spent, at least not against the constraints Congress has shackled itself with for four years. It’s a great deal – as long as you’re part of the military. (...)
OCO has created a double standard for D.C.’s insistent deficit conversation. Domestic spending must be held down, without gimmicks, games or tricks. But you can keep the military base budget static, load up the OCO, and use that money on virtually anything the Pentagon does. Congressional Republicans’ OCO end-around in this budget resolution, attempting to please deficit hawks and war hawks at the same time, borders on the absurd.
David Dayen, Salon.com

A structural fiscal bias in favour of loose money on military spending.
What could possibly go wrong?

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