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Parkinson's Law Also Applies to the Pentagon
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Back in the 1950’s, a British professor at the distinguished University of Malaya, C. Northcote Parkinson, observed that as the post-war Royal Navy shrank in size, its bureaucracy continued to expand.

Parkinson formulated a law that bureaucracies will naturally grow at 5-7% per annum. He also wisely added ‘Make the people sovereign and the poor will use the machinery of government to dispossess the rich.’

All bureaucracies, public and private, must be periodically forced on a diet. US President Donald Trump is, as promised, taking an axe to Washington’s dense bureaucratic undergrowth. He claims the cuts will save $2.5 trillion over ten years.

On Trump’s black list are, for example, such do-nothing government institutions as the International Fund for Ireland ($25 million); US Trade Development Agency ($55 million); Community Development Fund ($4.5 billion to buy black votes); funds for Federal office space ($864 million per annum, thank you Prof Parkinson); USDA sugar subsidy program at $14 million; $900 million for administration for the cancelled Obamacare health program; mohair subsidies ($1 million) and so on.

That’s the sensible part. Now the bad. High quality public broadcasting is to be gutted, saving $445 million. Americans will be left with sports, game shows, and soap operas. Funds for protecting the environment, a growing urgency for America, are being slashed, delighting many flat earth Republicans. Rail subsidies are cut even though decent railroads are a hallmark of civilized nations.

The State Department budget will be slashed by 28%. Some of its 70,000 employees will be let go. One must wonder what all these pencil pushers have been doing. Germany’s total active army has only 63,400 soldiers.

What we are seeing is that everything hated by President Trump and his extremist advisors has been put on the hit list. By contrast, they seem to believe that the United States is in imminent danger of invasion by scimitar-waving Muslims. By contrast, if you’re a Hillary Clinton Democrat, there are Reds lurking under every bed. The Red Peril has replaced the Yellow Peril. We are kept in a constant state of paranoia.

Trump plans to boost the defense budget – which should be called the `offence budget’ – by $54 billion to a total of $664 billion. But wait, that’s not all.

There are numerous big military spending programs, veterans’ affairs, nuclear weapons, so-called homeland security, and maintenance that take the budget up to $773 billion. Add to this paying for the ‘foreign contingency’ wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Plus hundreds of bases around the globe and ‘black programs,’ adding up to about $1 trillion annually.

The US military budget is already larger than the defense budgets of China, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, and Japan – combined.


I had dinner one night in Nice with a French navy admiral. He told me, with a melancholy look, that the US Navy’s annual budget was larger than France’s entire military budget. Russia’s military budget is around $70 billion to defend one of the world’s largest nations with NATO on one side and China on the other. That’s less than one tenth of the Pentagon’s annual budget.

It’s interesting that Trump & Co. have cut funding for US allies, culture, education, the poor, and just about everything else except the Pentagon and Israel. Not a penny was reduced from Israel’s recent grant of $38 billion in arms spending over ten years. Not a peep about this from Congress or Trump.

I’m sorry that Trump did not level with Americans over financing our endless wars. Today, their costs are hidden into the ever expanding national debt, now approaching $20 trillion.

Americans should be taxed to pay for their wars. An honest war tax would show Americans the real cost of their imperial adventures and spare their children from having to pay for such dumb wars as Afghanistan and the Mideast.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump 
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  1. Dan Hayes says:

    Mr Margolis,

    I am in broad agreement with most of your argument but “high quality public broadcasting” is an oxymoron as “high quality” consists of incessant left-wing/liberal propaganda. Only a few hours of listening to NPR or watching PBS would prove my point.

  2. High quality public broadcasting is to be gutted, saving $445 million.

    I assume you are referring to NPR, step child of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, home to a swarm of commercial sponsors rarely referred to as such. Why would the Trump administration not look askance at this corporate entity which expresses daily a carefully slanted and nuanced hostility towards it?

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  3. He also wisely added ‘Make the people sovereign and the poor will use the machinery of government to dispossess the rich.’

    In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72%

    Wouldn’t be so sad if they were building something, or even maintaining what we have, but it’s disintegrating into piles of rat shit.

    Life will go on. Perhaps others will build on the ruins.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  4. For those who are not familiar, C. Northcote Parkinson, in his time, was famous all over the English speaking world, except in the United States, where he was less well-known, though not unknown. Parkinson’s law was as well known and often cited as the Peter Principle began to be, almost two decades later.

  5. HBM says:

    The Jews long to do to the United States what they have done to Europe– ruin it further with illegal immigrants, refugees, Africans and Islam. In the Jewish brain, flooding Europe (and America) with third worlders is, somehow, the means to heal inherently “anti-Semitic” Whites of hate.

    For the willing Muslim golems given life by Jewish wars and empowered by Jewish cultural warfare on the citizenry at home, the stage has been set for an easy conquest.

    So what all this really is, is the means to an end: Jewish global hegemony.

    If Hillary had been elected we would be doomed already and the process advanced, and the effort to depose Putin, replacing him with a puppet willing to engage in Russian suicide on these kosher moral grounds, would be well underway.

    Continuing Democrat hysteria over Russia is not about “treason” or the “corruption of the electoral process”– or any of that. Their candidate was selling American foreign policy and state secrets and openly claimed to want to dissolve the borders of the nation. The Marxist Left’s goal is to keep an American friendship with Russia impossible, because without the destruction of Putin, the globalist’s plans to ruin literally everything are impossible.

    Anyone by now who pooh-poohs the notion that this is what the “Globalists” are up to is either delusional or complicit.

  6. From my blog:

    Nov 10, 2012 – Drop PBS Funding

    I like a few PBS shows, just a few. It has become just another corporate sponsored and controlled public disinformation channel, with full commercials. “PBS Frontline” was great, until is was somehow “acquired” by the New York Times propaganda machine and muzzled. I’ve been indifferent to the federal PBS funding debate because the amount is small. However, I just read that PBS has become a profitable racket for insiders. While they demand federal dollars and ask working class folks to send them a few dollars, I learn:

    “According to CPB’s 2009 tax forms, President and CEO (and former senior Republican party leader) Patricia de Stacy Harrison received $298,884 in reportable compensation and another $70,630 in other compensation from the organization and related organizations that year. That’s practically a pittance compared to Kevin Klose, president emeritus of NPR, who received more than $1.2 million in compensation, according to the tax forms the nonprofit filed in 2009.”

    So now I oppose any federal funding for PBS, which should employ only those willing to help provide a public service at limited salaries. I know the cost of living in DC is high and they have important positions, but earning more than $80,000 a year at PBS is immoral. I’ll run it for half that amount! PBS would need that savings after most of their corporate sponsors end funding in protest to my airing of truthful news. For example, we’ve been forced to watch hundreds of hours and Democrat/Republican “democracy”, but saw zero news about our nation’s “other” political parties that offer real change and collected a few million votes.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  7. “Also” applies? Wouldn’t the first place Parkinson’s Law applies be the Pentagon? A great example is the book Skunk Works, about how Kelly Johnson built advanced planes without bureaucracy. That ended in the 70s, when, under Ben Rich, bureaucrats justifying their salaries by finding niggling problems, intruded.

  8. While PBS has some excellent programs, it also spews propaganda. An example from my blog:

    Aug 8, 2016 – Putin and Crimea

    CNN’s Fareed Zakaria is a corporate spokesman and probable covert CIA asset who spews propaganda, to include vile comments about the biggest threat to his criminal organizations — Donald Trump. Zakaria recently hosted a discussion forum in Europe where he tried to paint Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a Trump ally. Putin smoothly proved Zakaria a liar and explained that Europeans are tired of American warmongering and now suffer from senseless American imposed sanction games with Russia. If you watch the video of Putin schooling Zakaria, you will admire him.

    Americans will never see that video on their CIA-edited corporate news programs. Instead, we get steady propaganda, like criticism of Russia’s “invasion” of Crimea, and Obama administration warmongers wanting ever more money for our military by creating a new Cold War, minus the communism justification. Allow me to provide the proper background to these events.

    The Ukrainian conflict is the result of NATO’s irrational expansion despite a post-Cold War agreement with Russia. Ukraine was targeted for absorption and NATO began sending American and NATO combat troops to Ukraine for annual military exercises. Why? The effort stalled, so Hillary Clinton’s State Department funneled some $5 billion to orchestrate a “revolution” to overthrow the elected President of Ukraine in 2014. (see my June 7th blog post for hard facts) Ukraine’s elected President was ousted because he (and most members of parliament) refused to support Ukraine joining the EU and NATO, and violence spread throughout Ukraine as CIA funded factions fought for power.

    Russia feared losing control of Crimea, a strategic republic (i.e. province) that was part of Russia for over a century, but had been administratively attached to Ukraine in the 1950s as a gesture of Soviet solidarity. Russians are the majority people in Crimea and Russian is the common language. After the President of Ukraine was ousted by armed thugs and Kiev fell into chaos, a referendum was held in Crimea in 2014 with international observers and citizens overwhelming voted to rejoin Russia. Russian troops didn’t invade Crimea because some 20,000 Russia troops were based there as they had been for a century. Even most non-Russians in Crimea voted to rejoin Russia because Ukraine is one of the most corrupt and poorest nations in Europe, while Russia has vast natural resources and is far more advanced.

    This is why knowledgeable people like Donald Trump state they are not bothered by Russia accepting the request by the people of Crimea to rejoin Russia. Now watch this PBS News Hour propaganda segment providing “facts” as to why Trump is wrong, saying only that Ukraine’s pro-Russian leader was ousted so Russia invaded Crimea, without mentioning any historical facts. The segment actually lies by saying Crimea voted to join Ukraine in 1991. That is false, it voted to become an independent republic from the dissolving USSR that would remain associated with Ukraine. After years of corruption, domestic turmoil, and an American coup in Kiev, the citizens of Crimea chose to be associated with Russia instead. The Russian reannexation of Crimea was desired by the vast majority of it’s citizens and no sane person should object, unless they are limited to censored information in the American media.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  9. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    And those foundations of long dead, white, male industrialists. I’m sure some of these people would roll over in their graves if they saw what their fortunes are being used for these days.

    No matter who starts them and what their purpose is intended to be, somewhere along the line the funds and foundations get redirected into acting as a big leftist piggy bank.

  10. Dan Hayes says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    Carlton Meyer:

    Fareed Zakaria has always struck me as frothing-at-the-mouth unstable. Actually so unstable that even the CIA would not touch him with a ten foot pole!

  11. Americans will be left with sports, game shows, and soap operas.

    And Youtube, old-timer. Broadcast media is dying because Youtube offers better quality and diversity.

  12. @another fred

    “Life will go on. Perhaps others will build on the ruins.”

    I hiked the length of Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England. Over the centuries since the Romans left Britain, most of the stones they had meticulously cut and laid have been carried away by the indolent northerners to build their little crofts and homes.

    We won’t be leaving ruins so much as ready-made building supplies for future generations who might briefly, occasionally wonder how the Great Western Civilisation of the 19th and 20th centuries managed to self-destruct in such a short time?

  13. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Dan Hayes

    Fareed Zakaria has always struck me as frothing-at-the-mouth unstable.

    Fareed Zakaria is a typical representative of what passes today as an American “expert” in foreign policy. Yes, this is the actual level of US “expertise” today. Some exceptions (they do exist) merely confirm the rule.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  14. @Dan Hayes

    Fareed Zakaria has always struck me as frothing-at-the-mouth unstable. Actually so unstable that even the CIA would not touch him with a ten foot pole!

    Arshad Zakaria, Fareed’s brother, also went to Yale and ended up as president of the pre-crash Merrill Lynch and made big bucks

    Long standing rumor in India apparently has it that the Zakaria brothers’ father, Rafiq Zakaria, a prominent Indian politician, was a US friendly CIA asset in the 1960s and 1970s in India’s then heavily Moscow friendly government. Apparently, the Zakaria sons Yale admissions was a quid pro quo and facilitated by the CIA, which used to be dominated by Yalies.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  15. Dan Hayes says:

    Piltdown Man:

    Where else than the UR can one get such fascinating (and important) information.


  16. Mark Green says: • Website

    This was a good article. Not flawless. All ‘public broadcasting’ should be scrapped. Bring back free and uncensored community access TV. More voices from the people. Fewer professional broadcasters, please. Eradicate media tyranny, a key pillar of the deep state.

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