The proposed US Defense Budget is an outrage


As a fiscally responsible guy I had to chime in on the proposed US Defense budget which is, in a word, indefensible.     

At $515,000,000,000  this amount is conspicuous for several reasons, and I find it incomprehensible that people who call themselves fiscal conservatives continue to support the insane levels of inappropriate military spending.

One of the biggest reasons the proposed budget is irrational is the very low ROI on military spending.    Unlike infrastructure spending, the military spend does not leave you with more bridges, roads, and buildings.   It’s only justifiable to the extent it *protects value* and protects the national interests.     One need look no further than the Iraq war to see how questionable it is to suggest that spending 500 billion plus there has “protected” much of anything.   

One could probably make a strong case for the WWII military effort as it clearly rescued much of the world from the tyrannical grip of Nazi domination, but note that this spending came *after* the hostile actions.    I think GW would argue that spending now is a preventative measure for much greater spending later if regions like the middle east explode into much greater instability than now.   This is an arguable point, but I’d like to see his ROI calculations on this.     When you are talking about spending hundreds of billions annually you can reshape the entire planet with infrastructure improvements, and it is very hard to see how the military protection advantages would trump the tax, infrastructure, and good will advantages of redirecting military spending to other things or – probably more appropriately – lowering taxes and letting that help the economy and individuals.

I’d sure like to see the type of cost benefit analysis you’d do if the US was run more like a business than a bureaucratic empire, but one of the defects of our two party democracy is that neither party is interested in fiscal responsibility – they both want to spend irresponsibly and recklessly but on different things.    

This amount is more than all other nations combined, and more than half the entire global military budget.   It is true the US has historically born much of the expense of trying to maintain global stability  (for complex reasons), so simply noting this is half all defense spending does not explain enough.  However this amount still is highly questionable because many nations like Japan should be footing their own defense bills.

Note that this budget does not include funding for Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Much will go for bloated, advanced weapons systems that have little place in a world where most of the threats are from asymetric warfare practiced by fundamentalists with 12th century sensibilities.

It is about time for people who call themselves fiscal conservatives to stop their sheep-like, bleeting support of these huge military budgets and start applying the same (correct) standards they apply to other government spending to the defense budget.  

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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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5 Responses to The proposed US Defense Budget is an outrage

  1. This budget plan makes me sick to my stomach. It feels like Bush’s final knife to the heart of our country (but I guess that would be wishful thinking).

  2. Fools Gold says:

    When it comes to weapon systems always remember Count Zaroff: When neither Greece nor Turkey wanted any submarines he gave an antiquated submarine to Greece which promted Turkey to buy one which ofcourse prompted Greece to buy one. Nowadays its the same way only by selling our weapons systems do we increase the threat level which causes our military to want more weapons that we can sell them.

  3. JoeDuck says:

    Catherine I wish it was only a Bush thing. Clinton and Carter also had jaw dropping military spending. No serious candidate can pledge intelligent military spending because few people in our wonderful democracy take the few minutes needed to determine how absurd this spending has become, and insist that candidates stop supporting these absurd budgets.

    FG – yes, Eisenhower warned how mixing military and gov’t would lead to escalating spending. It’s happened. It’s unconscionable and illogical by any reasonable measure.

  4. horatiox says:

    This amount is more than all other nations combined, and more than half the entire global military budget. It is true the US has historically born much of the expense of trying to maintain global stability (for complex reasons), so simply noting this is half all defense spending does not explain enough.

    The numbers are slightly alarming, but in terms of “materiel” (as military historians say) the USA does not outdistance Russia or China (or EU) by that much. That’s not to say we should support some BoGritz-type of hawkish nationalism, but a “compare-contrast” of say USA and Russian air power (and missile defense) will reveal that the countries are fairly evenly matched. China has a much larger infantry than USA as well.

    If the world becomes some hellish Risk game, the USA’s pile is about equal to Russ and China, with EU combined pretty powerful (as is North Korea, and India). I don’t care for McCain that much, but he does have the military experience, and we as a nation are probably better off with an old navy commander at the helm than with Dame Hillary, or the Obama party squad (or Osiris forbid, Mitt Moroni).

  5. P.K.Jain says:

    R/Sir,
    “EK VICHAR” hamare desh KI KISMAT BADAL SAKTA HAI” So, I request to kindly read it.

    KINDLY GIVE YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO STOP POVERTY
    OF OUR COUNTRY

    In today’s busy life a voice is coming from everywhere ie ‘THRIFTNESS’.

    I am a man of having a habit of saving small amount of money in small Saving Schemes and due to this my name is entered in Limca Book Of Records in the year of 1997 & 2000. Because of my this habit I have earned few profit & now it is my desire that some other people of society could also be profited.

    If in our country only 1% of the population on their respective birthday’s Could open one Recurring deposit account with an amount of Rs 50/-in Their nearest post offices for the duration of 60 Months. They should open an another account on their next coming birthday .After the completion of 60 Months they will get a MATURITY VALUE on the 61th month.

    On the other hand every month government will get a profit of Rs 50 crore For the ECONOMIC DEVOLOPEMENTAL ACTIVITIES in our country

    I have done this experiment on myself by saving money in small saving Schemes.I want to draw your kind attention of my new IDEA, and if you want to make our country economically powerful then please give this information to other people for economic social welfare, and belive me this type of regular saving practice may utilize to PREVENT POVERTY of our country.

    So I request to you kindly do needful in this way and if you require any clarification kindly mail me.

    Thanks & regards
    Your’sincerally
    P.K.Jain
    (pennywise)
    Mobile No. +919993025698

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