Fiscal Responsibility And Runaway Military Spending Are Not Compatible

Today the Republicans and their Tea Party associates are dwelling in election victory. The GOP expressed that the American people gave them a “mandate” to either set the political agenda and, of course, derail any further plan of reforms coming from the Obama administration. The intention of the Republicans, bluntly conveyed today, is also to repeal what they call the ” monstrosity that is Obamacare”. Beside setting up they target on President Obama’s health care reform bill, the GOP will also focused on making the finance reform bill as ineffective as possible to cut  Wall Street completely loose again.

The GOP control of the House of Representatives will make Republicans  heads of all of the committees. As such, the GOP will have control of the budget, and they have made fiscal responsibility the core issue of their agenda by pledging to cut the ballooning budget deficit. Cutting the budget deficit should be the goal of all US politicians independently of political affiliation, because the current spending spree, not balanced by an increase in taxation, is just not sustainable in the long term.

However, the GOP and the Tea Party have managed not to let their voters connect the dots in what is, by far, the biggest money drain of the United States: military spending. This is a flagrant case of either lack of logic or of fundamental intellectual dishonesty. In other words, how can you claim to be concerned by the budget deficit without talking about deep military spending cuts?

On October 13, 2010, a political news went almost unnoticed. A group of 57 lawmakers from both the House and the Senate (or about 10 percent of the 535 members of Congress) urged a commission looking for ways to balance the federal budget to recommend deep cuts in Department of Defense spending. The group was initiated by a bi-partisan effort of Representative Barney Frank (D) and Representative Ron Paul (R). The group (including five Senators) is made up mainly of Democrats, and the Congressmen argue that cutting the $712 billion military budget must be part of any viable proposal for budget deficit reduction.

The Defense Department currently accounts for almost 56 percent of all discretionary federal spending, and nearly 65 percent of the increase in annual discretionary federal spending since 2001. The budget deficit for fiscal 2010 (ended September 30) was estimated at around $1.3 trillion by the Congressional Budget Office. However, at the noticeable exception of Ron Paul-the co-sponsor of the initiative-, the GOP including members of the House Armed Services Committee, called not to cut but instead to increase spending on the military. The GOP cited a range of  perceived “threats to national security” in regards to China’s “military build up”, Iran and North Korea.

In the letter sent on May 27,2010, by Rep. Frank and Rep. Paul to the National Committee On Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the two Congressmen wrote that they were “surprised at the apparent absence of discussion about the efficacy, the extent and cost of overseas US military commitments when debating how to deal with our extremely serious deficit problem”.

Now considering that Republicans and Democrats must, somehow, find common ground to govern, the bi-partisan initiative of Barney Frank and Ron Paul should be emulated. Unfortunately, the two Congressmen could only convince 55 of their colleagues to address the colossal issue of the 1-trillion-dollars-a-year gorilla sucking the US Treasury dry: the Department Of Defense budget. For fiscal 2011, the US military spending will reach $708 billion.


13 Responses to Fiscal Responsibility And Runaway Military Spending Are Not Compatible

  1. rj November 4, 2010 at 7:42 am

    As far as the tea party movement, it is not dem or pub it’s conservative,
    and yea we get it, everything has to be cut, and much of what the fed gov is doing needs to revert back to the states where the constitution indicates it should be. Any rational person knows you cannot raise taxes enough to sustain the spending at this level.
    This citizen says effective immediately repeal obamacare, then eliminate the restriction on selling medical insurance across state lines. Set max payments in medical suit cases and limit attorney % of awards to 3 %.
    Immediately cut 25 % off every federal program, staff, salarys, retirement pay, funding no exceptions, no mercy. Add another 5% mandatory reduction per yr for the next 5 yrs no exception, or 1 % for 10 yrs.
    Dismantle the EPA and all its regulations, allow free market to regulate everything from gas mileage on vehicles to safety standards on products
    immediatley cut capital gains tax, cap coprorate income tax at flat 10%, eliminate income tax replace with 5% max national sales tax.
    Pass a balanced budget amendment.
    Immediatly eliminate all federal subsidies on any “green iniative” crap and collect back the last 5 yrs worth already given out.
    Watch the economy boom, listen to the greenies howl, listen to the welfare recipiants moan. Listen to the working taxpaying people in this land shout for joy and go to town getting things back in order.

    • dena November 4, 2010 at 9:08 am

      I agree – mostly, but I DO think we need the EPA, although it needs to be restructured perhaps. Besides, it is a litigimate function of government to ensure that private companies and individuals are not allowed to contaminate the air and water we all share. Profits from coal mining on top of the hill should not be paid by the people drinking the water downhill. I could care less about gas mileage as the free maket will indeed handle that.

      As far as I can tell, corporate income tax is simply a double tax – you’re taxing the corporations for its profits (paid for by shareholders) and then when the shareholders receive their dividend checks, they’re taxed again on the same money. I would prefer corporate income tax be eliminated completely. I also believe capital gains should be taxed at the rate of all other income – no special priviliges for the rich!

      Don’t know why you singled out subsidies for “green” intiiatives, but I prefer that we Eliminate federal subsidies ON EVERYTHING, end corporate welfare – period. Let them swim or sink on their own – and that includes the banks and Wall Street.

      Let’s level the playing field for all Americans and eliminate the protection racket currently run by Congress on behalf of the already rich and corporate elites.

    • Joel November 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      Watch the rivers catch fire again, under a poisoned sky. Watch as the bulk of the American people compete directly with folks making two dollars per day. Shouting? Maybe, but not for joy.

      Even WITH regulation, companies sell lead-tainted toys to babies, cut corners on safety (leading to things like massive oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico), and come up with incomprehensible “investment vehicles” that collapse the entire world economy.

      • rj November 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

        come on Joel, do you live in the 1920’s do you really believe that American Companies could stand the heat from consumers and unions and law suit happy slip and fall lawyers… I’d believe Chinese companies selling lead painted stuff in america…oh they already do…and guess what the EPA does not regulate them…
        Lets see, maybe just maybe there was an issue with the concrete…of course the spill could have been contained by Divers within 3 days if the company had not been forced to drill in a thousand feet of water instead of 300 feet of water or even better dry land by the green coalition.
        Do you really think americans would allow corporations based in america to go back to levels of pollution from the industrial revolution when no one knew better.
        Do you know what is gonna happen when the EPA succeeds in regulating heavy duty diesel truck engines, farming equipment, etc.. to “force” them to get better mileage.
        1. The laws of physics say that you can only squeeze so much energy from a gallon of fuel. Anything beyond realastic mileage is impossible…therefore freight does not move with trucks, farms cannot produce, american people starve…
        2. millions of american workers are out of work, millions of third world people who depend on american grain, corn and rice starve.
        Shall I go on?

        • JPA November 9, 2010 at 7:15 am

          This comment is a few days old but needs to be addressed for the ignorance it spews. BP was not forced to drill in “a thousand feet of water” (actually it was about 5,000 ft.). They’re drilling in deep water because that’s where the huge oil fields are, because the technology is now in place, and because the price of oil warrants the expensive operations. And 3 divers cannot shut in any well regardless of depth that is spewing at 15,000 psi.
          Get some real information and stop parroting stupid partisan hack talking points.

    • Ole Ole Olson November 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm

      This is where there is absolutely no middle ground between progressives and conservatives rj.

      Social programs have already been cut to the bone after 30 years of reductions and eliminations. They are barely functional the way it is, and dictating a 25% cut would destroy them, which is perhaps what fiscal conservatives want in the first place.

      The EPA does an invaluable job as protector of Americans against corporate polluters who have proven they will poison children to increase their profit margin by 0.001%. “Free” markets cannot be trusted to police themselves, destroying the EPA would a recipe for a huge spike in fatal diseases and all one has to do is look at the decimation of the Aral Sea to understand what happens when the environment is ignored.

      Cutting taxes will only make the rich richer, and will do nothing but exacerbate our deficit problems.

      Green energy will more than pay for itself in the long run, although for now, it will require an investment to get it going. At the very least, it will wean our nation off foreign oil (if coupled with hybrid vehicles), which will stop our need to constantly be kicking over anthills in producer countries.

      In the end, progressives have a far better track record at fiscal responsibility than borrow and spend fiscal conservatives do, as is evident by the premise of this article: the only way to cut the deficit is to slash military-related expenditures.

      • RJ November 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm

        Compromise is good,
        Cut my taxes and the users could go to work and support themselves…..
        .I’v dealt with 4,5,6 generation welfare recipiant raised by single mother welfare recipiants who have no desire,drive or need to improve themselves….don’t think I’m just another unfeeling conservative…I come from poor white trash apalachian hillbillys. my folks raised 6 kids with only dad working, he never earned more than 30 k a year, but never took a handout from anybody…he paid his taxes by reducing the number of meals we had because he felt it was his civic duty. I got my first pair of new shoes when I was fifteen, by that time I had been working for 10.00 a day for two years. my wages went to family budget. My folks instilled in us first and formost the desire to improve ourselves but not at the welfare line, family, love of country, duty honor, respect for others, they also taught us self reliance, and compassion.
        as well as never to buy a pig in a poke …therefore I researched putting a wind turbine on my property…cost benefit analysis shows it does not work…I grew up working horses for manual labor, sure they get the job done, once again cost benefit analysis shows tractor is better…
        I think therefore I am, I think rationally and realistically therefore I know social programs should be handled by family, charity, churches, not by govt…

        • Ole Ole Olson November 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm

          Thanks for your comment RJ. I also was raised dirt poor, and taught to be self sufficient. Welfare abuse is a problem that needs to be addressed, but it is honestly a very small part of the problem when compared to other fiscal problems like the out of control military spending and tax cuts for the rich imho.

          In the end, we will need a solution that involves every aspect of how our country is run, I’m just not sure if any middle ground can be found in the current political climate (and I sometimes wonder if the corporations that pull the levers of power behind the scenes *want* it this way).

      • RJ November 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm

        Yea cut military expendatures, close all over seas bases and leave the rest of the world on their own. In twenty years e get dragged into the next world war, we tried staying out of it once, twice, third times the charm, maybe the next facist dictator wont try to take over europe or kill millions of their own people.

        and maybe the thug on the corner is not waiting to rob you but just waiting on the bus…
        sheep, sheep dogs, wolves.

  2. rj November 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I’m with ya on ending all fed subsidies, sink or swim on their own, that is 99% whats wrong with this country today too many people dont want to take responsibilty for their own failure or success.
    This country was founded on strong independance and believe and trust and dependance on self, not some pansy back sided oh you have to help me because your barn is full mentality.
    I just picked on green cause green really sticks in my craw and when ya tweek their nose they spin wildly…:-)
    it really twist my knickers when the gov’t gives some of my tax money ( yes I work and pay taxes since I started for a living at 13yrs old) to some lib to buy a electric car, or upgrade their A/C or put in a solar panel or any other green iniative just so the lib can drive their electric car and feel good about themselves that they are not as polluting as the rest of us when in reality the car uses electricity produced with coal, gas, nuke and batteries that also take production using coal and or oil not to mention rare earth metals mined using oil, refined using electricity manufactured using coal or oil etc…
    give me a break greenies, you pay for you proclivities I’ll pay for mine. Govt should not have any say in me paying for your bull crap dreams….
    And I’ll take the 1700 dollars I save by not paying for yours and invest it into two years worth of diesel to power my tractor to grow my garden to feed myself.
    Along with a little feed for my hogs, goats, chickens, or I’ll spend it on beer and stimulate the economy by keeping a beer driver working, my business, not the govt.

  3. nerd1 November 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Just take 2 billion of that 1000 billion/year and put it into the SENS project of Aubre de Gray (see sens and mprize), over the next 10 years and we will have cured aging by developing advanced nanotech/biotech and things like replacing/repairing mitochondria and exploiting the dna info from long-lifed people to modify most peoples less long-lived dna etc. (in mice first. then people), a good start is to see the documentary “To age or not to age” and Aubre’s book “Ending aging in our lifetime”
    Link to Aubre’s wikipedia web page:

    With biotech/nanotech advancing so rapidly, and given the breaktrhoughs that are comming (super-fast-computers, nanotech manufacturing, better war machines (for all you stunted, immature not yet grownup man-boys out there), better energy production, full product recycling etc). Thing is, Craig Venter showed us that life (cells) are now into the age of digital DNA, just like Steve Jobs got us into the age of digital manipulations (photoshop, laser printers, GUI, etc) back in the late 1970s/early 1980s..we are now entering an age where all objects can now be a manipulated CAD file and once we can develop and use advanced teeny-tiny nanobots to add/modify/buid/repair all our cells, then medical science will be truly 21st century, aging will be a thing of the past…….heck, we will have got there well before the Star Trek 24th century timeline!!

  4. JD November 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Interesting article, but surely someone there can proofread print before it goes live. It is disappointing to read a compelling article, only to be distracted by numerous run-on sentences, omitted words and just generally disjointed language. Unfortunately, it undermines and detracts from the intent of the piece. C+

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