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gradual expansion of the military budget, to maintain current operational levels and expand research and development programs. However, the Populist Party, led by Senator Gaston Diego, is pushing for a 35% rollback of all military spending – a reduction of about 1.7 trillion credits – with 10% to be diverted to humanitarian programs, and the remaining 25% to tax relief.

In heated debate on the Senate floor on 2681.016, Senator Diego vigorously attacked the spending policies of the Confed armed forces, and a pet project of Senator Taggart’s in particular. “Now I look at this so-called mega-carrier that we’re spending so much on, and I ask myself what, exactly, are we defending against?” Diego said. “My Uncle Eddy used to keep a blaster by his bed in case he was attacked by little blue aliens in the night. After they spent most of their life savings on repairs, my Aunt Lori had him locked up. I’m wondering if we’re not throwing our money after imaginary threats? And I wonder if we’re going to come to our senses, or end up like Uncle Eddy.”

Taggart’s response was less poetic. “Talk of a ‘peace dividend’ is, at best, redundant. Military expenditures are already down 45% from their wartime peak. And far from being wasteful, the mega-carrier program is the most economical plan available. Over half our war-era fleet is obsolete and failing, and if we tried to replace the old ships with ships of the same type, it would cost almost twice as much as the entire mega-carrier program to provide the same level of defence,” Taggart said.

“When the Kilrathi started the war more than half a century ago, we were unready and under-equipped, because we thought we could count on a time of peace. The cost of our misjudgement was an unthinkable toll in lives and property. The Confederation owes it to itself – to its people – to make a solemn vow to never be so taken again,” Taggart said.

The Senate is expected to vote on the final appropriations bill no later than 2681.030.


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