The Republicans complain about all the individual citizens who rely on taxpayer, government money, and there are a lot of them. But what about the defense contractors, whom the Republicans want to protect from going off the fiscal cliff? Lockheed Martin works almost entirely for the government, although it sells some weapons systems to other countries, and thus has some income from other sources, but not much. Yahoo says Lockheed annual revenues are about $47 billion. Some of its competitors, companies that also make money largely from government contracts funded by the taxpayers include Northrop Grumman with revenues of about $26 billion, Raytheon with revenues of about $24 billion, General Dynamics with revenues of about $32 billion, and Boeing which is only partially a defense contractor has total revenues of $79 billion, perhaps half of which are from defense sales to taxpayers, about $40 billion. This amounts to an annual taxpayer expense of around $169 billion. Although we are talking about budget overruns of about $1 trillion, this is a meaningful portion of that.
These companies are very focused on lobbying. They often succeed in getting Congress to authorize money for defense projects that the Pentagon wants to cancel. When Republicans talk about preserving the military budget, many are mainly worried about keeping the money flowing to these companies, who have cleverly located factories and offices in many key congressional districts. The service men and women stationed in Afghanistan and around the world are secondary to man of these congressmen and senators. The servicemen are a drain on congressional resources, asking for better medical care, etc., while the defense contractors give the congressmen and senators lots of money for their campaigns, etc.
One of the biggest concerns about the fiscal cliff is that it would mandate reducing payments to some of these welfare gluttons who suck up taxpayer money. We'll see how clever their lobbyists are in keeping the money flowing.