In the The Fiscal Times, Bruce Bartlett takes a well deserved swipe at the neocon deficit hawks who refuse to even consider cutting anything in the department:

“Establishment conservatives love to talk about the need to cut government spending, but they always seem to find an excuse whenever there is a serious effort to actually do it. Last year, for example, they opposed cutting Medicare as part of health care reform. Now they are banding together to stop cuts in defense spending, which is a fifth of the federal budget, even as they also insist that the deficit is our most critical problem.

This hypocrisy was on full display on Oct. 4, as American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol penned a joint op-ed for the right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page on why the defense budget should be totally off limits to budget cutters.

First, they claim the military is not the “true source of our fiscal woes.” No one is saying the defense budget is the sole source of the deficit, but the fact is that it has risen from 3 percent of the gross domestic product in fiscal year 2001 to 4.7 percent this year. That additional 1.7 percent of GDP amounts to $250 billion in spending — almost 20 percent of this year’s budget deficit. And according to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone accounted for 23 percent of the combined budget deficits between fiscal years 2003 and 2010.”

Born again deficit hawks are partisan hypocrites. Neocon deficit hawks are even worse, having been wrong about pretty much anything they’ve ever opined on. (If you bump into one, ask them what time it is — just to see if they can get anything right).  Many of the born again anti deficit folks were happy to pour trillions into a war of choice in Iraq, large unfunded tax cuts, and a huge entitlement program (like the prescription drug plan).

An interesting twist to the deficit debate is the media coverage of defense spending.It amounted to 69% of Total Federal Contract Spending, but received a tiny slice of news coverage from liberal New York Times, according to Pitch Interactive.

Note the bizarre juxtaposition: Domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush Treasury official Bruce Bartlett is suggesting we consider Defense Department cuts to help balance the budget, while in 2009 the New York Times hardly covered the DoD relative Health Care, Energy, Housing, etc.

As previously discussed, your prior concept of Left Right politics are no longer operative . . .

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click for interactive graphic

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This graphic zooms in on the coverage:
click for larger image

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Previously:
The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations (September 27th, 2010)

Source:
Neocons Talk Deficit but Won’t Budge on Defense Cuts
BRUCE BARTLETT
The Fiscal Times, October 08, 2010
http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Issues/Budget-Impact/2010/10/08/Neocons-Talk-Deficit-but-Wont-Budge-on-Defense-Cuts.aspx

Category: Financial Press, Politics, War/Defense

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

53 Responses to “Bartlett: To Cut Budget Deficit, Cut Defense”

  1. Thomaspin says:

    Simply reinstate the draft and watch the $1 “Support our Troops” bumper sticker hypocrisy morph into street demonstrations over our endless war spending. Nothing beats being invested in an issue when solutions are called for.

  2. franklin411 says:

    I never really bothered to consider the neo-Con ideology until I watched a speech by Bill Clinton in December 2006. He summarized neo-conservatism as the idea that reality doesn’t apply to great nations. IE, a great nation creates its own reality. Example–so what if Iraq never had an Enlightenment and thus can never be a true democracy? A great power can will it to be so.

    Therefore, asking a neo-con what time it is will not necessarily result in a straight answer. The neo-con will simply reply: “It is whatever time I say it is.” =P

  3. Moss says:

    They have brainwashed the public into believing that it is the inherent right of the US to have the biggest stick. The self righteous ideology is now ingrained into the fabric… rational discussion is not part of their rule base.

  4. ACS says:

    Required reading: “War is a Racket” by General Smedley D. Butler.

  5. number2son says:

    Better yet, how many of these Tea Party sheep are calling for cuts in defense?

    Exactly … not a single one. They, like Kristol, et al, are beneath contempt.

  6. machinehead says:

    Thank you for posting Bartlett’s article. What happened is that the US never demobilized from World War II. Sixty-five years later, US troops continue pointlessly occupying and defending rich democracies such as Japan, Italy, Germany and South Korea. This is an utterly unproductive government program which should have been killed decades ago.

    The US spends 4.7% of GDP on ‘defense’ when — for a country in a peaceful North American neighborhood — one percent would do. Decades of paying this fiscal tax of 3.7% of GDP has systematically starved the US economy of investment, leading to capital imports which have made it a net debtor.

    To save the economy, NATO should be disbanded, US foreign bases closed, and the troops brought home to defend the borders. That this is not even on the agenda strongly suggests that the US economy is headed for relentless long-term decline. Emphatically, the US military empire does not and cannot pay for itself. A country unable to recognize this simple fact is headed for the scrap heap.

    Uncle Sam will be walkin’ tall with his bazookas and bandoliers till the top-heavy geriatric trips on a pebble, face plants, and cries ‘Help, I’ve fallen down and I can’t get up!’

  7. DeDude says:

    After 30 years of conservative policy (extreme right wing when GOPsters in power, regular right wing when Dems had power), we are at the point where the only big discretionary spending item left is defense. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are insurance against poverty that people have paid huge sums into – canceling those insurance policies after people have paid up on them, is going to be impossible politically (although they will chip away at the edges). Other poverty programs such as food stamps and section 8 to ensure families do not starve or get homeless have been cut to the bone where they are just bare bones “riot insurance” for our corporate masters. Time is up for the neocon scam, their cut-taxes-to-increase-gobinment-revenue” scam failed, their trickle down scam failed, they are running out of bullets and reality is closing in fast. All their BS has been revealed for what it is – dangerous, destructive and selfserving BS. They now have to make the argument that in order to give millionaires huge taxcuts and defense contractors huge profits, we have to cut grandma’s social security check and medical care (although grandpa worked hard and paid his taxes to make sure she was taken care of even after he died) – all I can say is good luck in 2012 after you tried to ram that one past a presidential veto.

  8. number2son says:

    Having now actually read the article, I now stand corrected regarding the Tea Party candidates vis-a-vis defense cuts. But I remain skeptical they will actually uphold any commitment they make to cut defense spending if and when they reach Congress.

    I’d be happy to be wrong about that.

  9. mathman says:

    The military corporatocracy won’t allow this any more than the homeland security gang or Wall Street/big banking sector would allow their pieces of the pie to be touched. Many people have pointed out that this elephant in the room is rarely discussed but no one will take it on (and risk their career). It’s going to get interesting when there isn’t enough tax money coming in to keep this charade up any longer.

  10. NickAthens says:

    We should shift a small portion of our defense spending to help people defend themselves in these foreign countries. For example, how about a very very cheap gun that fires just twice, it doesn’t use bullets but it’s chambers are already loaded. WE then simply give them to every man woman and child in IRAQ, Afghansitan, Pakistan so the people can defend themselves. Then leave!

    I was born in 1950 and I don’t recall America never being at WAR.

    I consier myself a tea party supporter, and I believe it is folly to get forced to “pick” which programs to cut. Better to simply focus on a 33% cut across the board, and a 5 year sunset on ALL programs, meaning they have to be reauthorized to continue. You need to piss everyone off, not galvanize a selected group.

    Problem is imagine trying to get elected on the following platform.
    ELECT NICK ATHENS…HE will…..
    END ALL AG SUBSIDIES.

    CUT DEFENSE SPENDING 50%

    Challenge the right to vote if you don’t pay income, social security withholding, or property taxes of some amount. No pay in, no voting.

    No public or private service pensions allowed to kick in prior to social security rules. Soi fyou start at 62 you take a discount for life.

    DRAMATIC TORT REFORM, including no lawyer compensations in excess of actual fees.

    RePRIVATIZE TSA

    Raise gas/Diesel tax over 10 years to $3.00 a gallon.

    Change OBAMA “race” in education to huge cash awards to the top 10% of students in national test emphasing math, reading, science. $25,000, this will get parents involved. $10,000 for next 15%.

    National Service for all citizens.

    Path to Citizenship for illegals who particiapte in National Service for 4 years. They can only work in english only jobs. Reduced by 50% for each year in military.

    Limit bank leverage to 12:1

    The above would go a long way!

  11. Mannwich says:

    Exactly Barry, but there’s big money in endless war, and neo-con chicken hawks know where their bread is buttered, so we’ll likely cut everything that’s a productive investment in our country well before we touch the defense budget, which has somehow become off limits in these discussions. Gee, I wonder why?

  12. DL says:

    Defense and entitlements. Defense and entitlements.

    Cut, cut, cut.

    (While we’re at it, eliminate the department of education, the department of energy, HUD, the DEA, farm subsidies, and Fanny/Freddie subsidies, to name a few).

  13. mock turtle says:

    and even more maddening…. the numbers the neo-cons put up as the budget for defense spending are erroneous

    real expenditures for defense spending exceed one trillion dollars per year

    the dod budget fails to include

    nasa spending to launch military satellites

    dept of homeland security

    cia budget…they are doing much of the fighting iraq and afghanistan

    fbi and treasury doing domestic investigation and intel gathering on the enemy

    veterans affairs

    interest on the part of the national debt when we used credit cards to fund to wars and charged it to china while passing tax cuts in 2003 and 2005

    so the true number is well over one trillion dollars and has grown dramatically in the past 10 years

    with 700+ military bases scaterred around the world as we fight wars of empire, we are going the way of rome

  14. Mannwich says:

    @mock turtle: Like I said, “defense” is big business now, and we know what happens when their interests in any sector are challenged. The lobbyists and their tools (in this case the neo-con chicken hawks) come out in the full force to not only not tamp down any challenge to their ongoing racket, but they usually end up strengthening it at our expense.

  15. FrancoisT says:

    Defense is the perfect American racket: It provides immense amounts of pork in pretty much every important electoral district, along with much needed photo-ops that reaffirm the manhood by proxy and the credentials in Nazional Sekurity of the politicians.

    Furthermore, it has become one of the biggest gravy train for well-connected (or truly exceptionally innovative) Korporations of all stripes.

    However, the MOST important, yet neglected aspect of this defense frenzy is social in nature: The ideology and propaganda it generates allow its masters to foster a constant climate of fear and anxiety, the ingredients that permits an ever bolder assault on our constitutional freedoms AND less and less protestations from the victims…that would be us!

    Think I’m exaggerating? Really? Then, you, the inquiring mind, will want to read this:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/10/07/rule_of_law

    Then again, this whole spectacle of bringing Ghaliani to New York is quite like a show trial anyway. The Obama DOJ only deigned to allow Ghaliani a trial because it was convinced it was guaranteed of a conviction; had it not been so convinced, they would have simply sent him to a military commission or held him without charges of any kind, as they’re doing to multiple other detainees against whom they don’t believe they can win in a real court. Beyond that, the administration has already asserted what it calls “post-acquittal detention power”: namely, the power to continue imprisoning anyone as an “enemy combatant” under the law of war even if they charge that person with crimes and lose in court. Indeed, Judge Kaplan — seemingly eager to assure the public that he wasn’t endangering them with his ruling — cited this claimed power in his decision:

    scanned image to the judge writing: http://bit.ly/atdJeW

    So even if Ghaliani is acquitted, it’s almost certain that we’ll just keep imprisoning him — effectively forever — without any charges at all. The Obama administration deserves some credit for bringing him to trial in the first place, but it’s very hard to know what the supposed benefit is — or how it vindicates the rule of law — if it is a classic “show trial”: if he’s convicted, we’ll all celebrate how Justice has been vindicated, but if he’s acquitted on all charges, we’ll just keep him in a cage forever anyway, under the theory the the President possesses “post-acquittal detention power.”

    So, whatever is decided in court, the Executive has the right to proclaim the defendant guilty anyway. My my!
    Doesn’t that remind you of certain unsavory locales like the Argentina of the Colonels, the Stroessner regime, the Soviets under Staline, Kroutchev et al. Cuba under Castro etc. etc. etc.

    Unless someone wants to argue that since we are the ones doing it, it must be OK. Gee! We’re all convinced now!

    Anybody here thought this country would’ve come down to that, (imprisoning him — effectively forever — without any charges at all) let’s say…when Bill Clinton was re-elected?

    Barlett is absolutely right. DoD budget and Homeland Security budget MUST be cut if we are to engage in deficit reduction, or not.

    Otherwise, deficit hawks should back the fuck off NOW!

  16. ACS says:

    Please don’t equate what is called conservative today with the real thing. The last true conservative president we had was Silent Cal. Actual conservatism died with the Old Right of Senator Taft and “Colonel” McCormick, replaced by the heresy of neoconservatism.

  17. Joe Friday says:

    DL,

    “(While we’re at it, eliminate the department of education, the department of energy, HUD, the DEA, farm subsidies, and Fanny/Freddie subsidies, to name a few).”

    You don’t seem to get it.

    You could eliminate ALL non-defense discretionary spending –

    Eliminate all the air traffic controllers and shut down all the airports, shut down the entire federal prison system (and release all the prisoners), shut down the federal court system and eliminate the federal marshals, shut down the Justice Department along with the FBI and the ATF, shut down the customs service and eliminate the border patrol and Coast Guard, and shut down the CIA/NSA/DIA/Homeland Security

    – and STILL not even come close to balancing the federal budget.

    Once again, the vast overwhelming majority of the current federal deficits and debt, as well as the vast overwhelming majority of future projected federal deficits and debt are as a direct result of the massive plunge in federal income tax revenue from the numerous rounds of federal income tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate enacted by the previous Republican White House and Republican Congressional Majority.

    You gotta stop drinking the Purple Kool-Aid.

  18. wunsacon says:

    mock turtle, another one: DOE budget includes a big chunk for our nukes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Energy#Responsibility_for_nuclear_weapons

  19. cmfrye says:

    Caught Martin Feldstein on TV either Thur or Fri (can not find a web reference as of yet to it) stating, when asked how did Bill Clinton produce a surplus, “by raising taxes and cutting defense…but I do not like this”. There ya go

    Where has the conversation been about guns and butter in the last 10 yrs…only now being heard

    Top brackets from FDR through Cater ranged from 70-95% when we actually had a vibrant middle class for many of those years after WWII. So we are now having this hissy fit to bring it back to only Clinton’s level. Who, was the last Pres. to leave a surplus.

  20. DL says:

    Joe Friday:

    Yes, I absolutely “get it”.

    Cut entitlements and defense.

  21. mark says:

    Looking at US Federal spending (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2007.png) invites the question – Is the United States an Arny that runs a giant insurance company or a giant insurance company that runs the world’s largest military?

    With only 12% of spending outside of the military, SS and Medicare being “discretionary”, one can only conclude that the people advocating balancing the budget without military spending cuts are either stupid or think we are. (Yeah, I know the answer to that one.)

    By the way, the numbers for military spending that most people use are way low. There is significant money ($100′s of billions) spent in places like the DOE and State Dept that ought properly to be called military spending but isn’t.

  22. hammerandtong2001 says:

    The US fields the world’s most powerful and technologically advanced military for a reason. And that reason, as noted above by some, remains the horrific losses the ABC allies endured from September 1, 1939 and well into 1943 — during World War II.

    The appalling state of US battle readiness contributed significantly to these losses (both human and territorial).

    1. On 9/1/39, the day the German Army invaded Poland to start World War II, the US military ranked 17th in the world in size and combat power — just behind Romania.

    2. In the spring of 1940, when 135 German divisions subdued, conquered and occupied Western Europe, the US War Department reported it could field 5 divisions.

    3. In 1940 in the US, 16 million men, 18 yrs and over, registered for the draft. Physical standards for military acceptance and service were: at least 5 feet tall, weighing at least 105 pounds, possessing 12 or more of their natural 32 teeth, be free of flat feet, venereal disease and hernia. 40% of draftees were rejected for physical reasons. A grim testament to the toll taken on the nation’s health during the Great Depression.

    4. In 1939, a total of 6 medium tanks were built in the US.

    5. As the war escalated, in summer of 1942, the US Navy was down to 4 active fleet carriers. 4 others had been sunk: the Lexington, Hornet, Wasp, and Yorktown.

    The precarious position of the US at the beggining of WW II is recounted in crisp detail in Rick Atkinson’s Pulitzer Prize winner: An Army At Dawn. Read the 18 page prolouge for some real factual info that’s pretty illuminating.

    .

  23. dsawy says:

    We should absolutely de-mobilize the WWII and Korean War troop deployments. We’ve been effectively subsidizing the economies of Germany, Japan, S. Korea et al for decades. All of these countries enjoy not ONLY the expenditure of our dollars on their defense, they also want to export to the US under the rubric of “free trade” as well.

    Pull all our troops out of these countries and let them spend their own money and lives for their own defense. They’re more than rich enough to afford their own defense spending.

    While we’re at it, we might as well dissolve NATO. The reason for its existence has passed, and it no longer makes political, much less economic, sense.

    Cutting defense spending at home, with the resulting job losses in the already moribund manufacturing sector, will be much more difficult. The defense contractors are now de-facto jobs programs. Even the most lunatic left-wing Democrats learned this as a result of the defense cuts in the early 90′s in SoCal. Southern California’s economy took a real kick in the head when the defense sector pulled back in the early 90′s.

  24. formerlawyer says:

    I am hearing calls to disband NATO, however under what banner would the United States wage a coalition war?

    A coalition of the willing, ie. United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia etc. may be possible but the negotiating and maneuvering for such a coalition may be extensive and unsatisfying. At least the mutual defence component of NATO provides the ability to call on other countries. The dissolution of foreign bases, withdrawal of troops would have to be carefully considered – a maintenance depot and pre-positioned armour, artillery etc. may be more appropriate – a la Diego Garcia.

    If for example Georgia flares up – how can the United States or a coalition credibly threaten military action without local bases and facilities? Sure, bombers from mainland United States can be dispatched but how do you take and hold ground?

    I am not certain how much NATO costs as a percentage of the defence budget but surely there are efficiencies to be derived elsewhere rather than an immediate withdrawal and dissolution of NATO. Isn’t that why we are fighting in Afghanistan, taking the fight to the enemy over there?

  25. machinehead says:

    ‘I am hearing calls to disband NATO, however under what banner would the United States wage a coalition war?’

    It wouldn’t. The US would defend its own borders. Period.

    If Georgia (the one on the Black Sea) ‘flares up,’ why is that our problem?

    We need to abandon the casual habit of sticking our nose in other people’s business, which is the source of much of the terror threat.

  26. Arequipa01 says:

    Jesse’s Cafe Americain has an interesting post on Triffin’s dilemma:

    http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2010/10/us-dollar-long-term-trend-and-triffins.html

    This excerpt is related to this thread:

    “Issuing the reserve currency gives domestic policy makers an advantage by making it easier to finance either domestic budget deficits or foreign trade deficits because there always is a ready bidders’ market for any financing instruments from that issuer. Issuing the reserve currency enables the domestic population to consume more goods and services from whatever source than otherwise would be feasible. And issuing the reserve currency gives foreign policy officials of that nation the upper hand in determining multilateral approaches to either diplomacy or military action.”

    The cost of empire always exceed its ability to recover booty from the conquered. To wit, Kabul Press recently published an assertion that the cost of the Afghan gambit is 50 million per dead Taliban. Just another thing we should have outsourced to India.- dixit el El Esnarcotraficante!

  27. Joe Friday says:

    DL,

    “Yes, I absolutely ‘get it’.”

    Obviously not.

    ~

    “Cut entitlements and defense.”

    “Entitlements” are not driving the federal deficits and debt.

  28. TakBak04 says:

    AT: franklin411 Says:
    October 10th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I never really bothered to consider the neo-Con ideology until I watched a speech by Bill Clinton in December 2006. He summarized neo-conservatism as the idea that reality doesn’t apply to great nations. IE, a great nation creates its own reality. Example–so what if Iraq never had an Enlightenment and thus can never be a true democracy? A great power can will it to be so.

    Therefore, asking a neo-con what time it is will not necessarily result in a straight answer. The neo-con will simply reply: “It is whatever time I say it is.” =P

    ——

    TakBak Replies:

    Was it Karl Rove or someone else of his ilk who said “We create (write) our own Reality…the rest of you will follow.” I’ve badly bastardized that quote pulling it from memory…but it seems to fit what many of us seem to be seeing in all areas of our lives these days.

    IOW’ds……Chamber of Commerce and Foreign Influences can Now Contribute to US Candidates for Senate and House…and they don’t even have to DISCLOSE WHO THEY ARE!

    This is the “REALITY” that we live in …written by the Bush Administration and the Neo-Cons and and other Right Wing Think Tanks filled with Ph.D’s of much merit from the Top Most Ivy Leagues that money can buy. The Military-Industrial Complex uses these people and even has top level people serving who are part of it all!

    How do we ever even begin to try to even “tame” this influence? WAR FOREVER….is the most important….tied into Green Energy and all sorts of other good sounding So-Called Progressive Ideas.

    It often all appears to come from the same influence. It’s hard for any ordinary working or unemployed American to make sense of what has been done to them.

  29. TakBak04 says:

    dsawy Says:
    October 10th, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    We should absolutely de-mobilize the WWII and Korean War troop deployments. We’ve been effectively subsidizing the economies of Germany, Japan, S. Korea et al for decades. All of these countries enjoy not ONLY the expenditure of our dollars on their defense, they also want to export to the US under the rubric of “free trade” as well.

    Pull all our troops out of these countries and let them spend their own money and lives for their own defense. They’re more than rich enough to afford their own defense spending.

    While we’re at it, we might as well dissolve NATO. The reason for its existence has passed, and it no longer makes political, much less economic, sense.

    Cutting defense spending at home, with the resulting job losses in the already moribund manufacturing sector, will be much more difficult. The defense contractors are now de-facto jobs programs. Even the most lunatic left-wing Democrats learned this as a result of the defense cuts in the early 90′s in SoCal. Southern California’s economy took a real kick in the head when the defense sector pulled back in the early 90′s.

    ————–

    TakBak Says:

    If we bring all of these people home…..where will they be employed? Isn’t the point of “Endless American Wars, Engagements and Freedom to Spread Democracy Actions….all based on employing Americans who would be “IN THE STREETS PROTESTING” if they didn’t have the “Military Option” for employment for themselves and their families?

    Has the Outsourcing Angst since Clinton first implemented NAFTA and then GAT got going been taken up by the fact that we’ve done “Invasions” during Clinton Administration and through Bush II and now Obama and so our TRUE American Unemployment is covered over by our endless WARS for one reason or the othere?

    If we “bring the troops home” ….what about unemployment and what about the fate of the thousands of Americans employed as Contractors by Halliburton, Blackwater (XE) and many other sub-contractors that go below the radar with the lack of money for real investigative reporting?

    We are probably employing such a huge amount of people that to “bring them home” would sink our economy faster than the “Endless Wars!”

    But…at some point there does become a “moral issue” with many here in the USA ABOUT…the process of ENDLESS WAR as a POLICY. When does it start to bring down a society to have endless wars to support higher employment statistics when you are “outsourcing” jobs for a few decades now?

    When does our Country reach a “Tipping Point” where the “Endless Wars” become so unproductive that it affects the whole system that we govern ourselves by? ???????

  30. victor says:

    Until Isaiah 2:4 becomes our new reality (don’t hold your breath, keep dreaming) “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”.

    Well, until then it may turn out that “Those who beat their swords into plowshares, will plow for those who don’t”.

    Geneticists are searching for the cause for anxiety/aggression in homo sapiens. Anthropologists think that homo sapiens was more aggressive than the larger Neanderthal and thus outlived it as a species by possibly killing it even eating it . The politicising of the defense budget is an exercise in futility; our nation’s interests transcend political affiliations of our legislature and WH. Look no farther than WH’s smart vs. dumb wars expressions. As a nation we’ll just have to keep funding the military at least in the short/medium term. I don’t have a clue at what level as a % of GDP though.

  31. Arequipa01 says:

    “When does our Country reach a “Tipping Point” where the “Endless Wars” become so unproductive that it affects the whole system that we govern ourselves by? ???????”

    Probably already reached and passed when Col. Westhusing ‘committed suicide’ in the presence of contractors.

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=103×322771

    Most in the US are either too clueless or too sanguine.

  32. Arequipa01 says:

    “His friends and family struggle with the idea that Westhusing could have killed himself. He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.”

    “Uomini fummo, e or siam fatti sterpi”
    We once were men, and now we have become trees…(Canto 13:37)

  33. willid3 says:

    whats really odd is for all of their spending on defense, the military is in worse shape at the end of their reign than it was at the beginning

  34. gman says:

    Warning to the first politician who would serously entertain the thought of cutting defence…instant keynsian recession. Followed by the media/pr frenzy about what pol XYZ did to the nation b/c either some bs “terror event” or some two-bit thug cannot properly pushed around!…”it all happened to the nation b/c he did not support the military” would be repeated 24/7 on cable news by the paid shills of the M.I.C!

    Step right up to be labeled the next Jimmy Carter!

  35. TakBak04 says:

    @Arequipa01 Says: “He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.”

    ——————

    Anyone who has a “powerful sense of right and wrong” surely is having a difficult time dealing with the direction we see our country’s governmental policies taking us and the wreckage of our economy where no one has been properly held accountable for the sufferings of millions world wide…global economy, our economy.

    These are very hard times for those who have a hightned sense of moral obligation to their fellow beings on this earth and even those who fell an obligation to stewardship of our planet.

    It’s impossible for many to cope in these times. And, sad that we lose them and their views because of their overwhelming feelings of despair.

  36. gman says:

    Around 1900 Great Britain had a policy of maintaining a fleet as large as its two largest rivals….economic reality eventually forced that policy to end! Someday (hopfully soon) our economic reality forces us to give up the fools errand of always SPENDING AS MUCH ON THE MILITARY AS THE REST OF THE WORLD IN AGGREGATE!

  37. davver says:

    Obama isn’t any different. Defense spending up. At least Clinton managed to cut military spending.

  38. mote says:

    At one time, USAREUR (US Seventh Army) was two corps with various supporting units. This force has gradually been withdrawn over the last 25 years.

    Here are the most recent deployments and the few remaining units:

    “U.S. Army’s modularization transformation relocated the 1st Infantry Division to Fort Riley, Kansas and the 1st Armored Division is scheduled to move to Fort Bliss, Texas in 2010 after its return from a year long deployment to Iraq.”

    “Currently US Army Europe consists of the USAREUR HQ, V Corps, four maneuver brigades: 170th Brigade Combat Team, 172nd Brigade Combat Team, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and 2nd Cavalry Regiment, along with aviation and combat service support units.”

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/usaeur-history.htm

    The 2nd Cavalry Regiment is now the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

  39. dsawy says:

    @TakBak04: “If we bring all of these people home…..where will they be employed? Isn’t the point of “Endless American Wars, Engagements and Freedom to Spread Democracy Actions….all based on employing Americans who would be “IN THE STREETS PROTESTING” if they didn’t have the “Military Option” for employment for themselves and their families?”

    That’s hilarious. We didn’t see any protests during the Clinton administration when he de-mobilized over 8 divisions in the US Army alone. We didn’t see any street protests (by anyone outside of Congress, that is) when we shut down over two dozen bases every other year from 1991 to 1995 at the recommendation of BRAC. No protests in the streets.

    Oh, and BTW for those who don’t remember that era well: George HW Bush planned on a more rapid draw-down in US military deployment and spending than Clinton, if Bush Sr. had gotten a second term. The BRAC was set up in the 1988 and 1989. The planners in the Pentagon were planning on a 23% drawdown in the US active-duty military forces by 1989. It can be accurately said that President Clinton carried out Geo. HW Bush’s planned draw-down. We can quibble about the speed with which President Clinton did this, but the plans for the draw-down and base closures did not originate in the Clinton administration.

  40. Julia Chestnut says:

    Hey, Mock turtle – it’s even better: no one knows what the defense budget even is, because it is classified. What you are seeing is just the part that is public. Do you realize that the different divisions of the DOD are under mandate to conduct an audit — just conduct an audit — and it is several years away from happening? As I understand it, they can commit to having a plan to work towards an audit by 2013. Maybe.

    It is a veritable black hole for money. No one can count it all. But it is EASY to count how much we spend on food stamps for poor people so. . . . .that’s where the deficit hawks think that we should cut.

    It is a nation unto itself. It’s not just the tail that wags the dog, it’s a whole ‘nother DOG back there attached to the rest of the country by the butt. But the shape of it is a national security secret.

  41. ZedLoch says:

    Every fiscal year, the DoD seem to get at least a 10% increase that is set in stone. Obama is NO different with +12% for FY2010 (and if the Palinites are calling him “Weak on defense” just imagine how much money they’re going to blow on it…)

    Would it be possible to index government growth to something like revenues or GDP?

    eg. % annual Increase GDP – 1% = net allowable increase in federal outlays

    that was the Clinton admin’s idea since 93. seemed to work well back then.

  42. carrottop says:

    us’ military budget 2001 = $300B/yr
    us’ military budget 2009 = $700B/yr
    (not counting the $1T war)
    Bush yrs raised it by 130%,
    not a word from “cost cutting” republicans.

    the defense lobby, it seems, is in ctrl of our taxes.

  43. tagyoureit says:

    LOL, two things we will never spend less money on:

    Guns

    Drugs

    ok, third thing: sex.

  44. DeDude says:

    We have to tax systems for earnings in this country.

    One is the extremely regressive social security and medicare pay role tax system that is taxing income of middle class and poor people, and paying for poverty insurance. If you get sick or old it provides a basic survival stipend and health care for you and your family. This insurance (tax) system is essentially sound and good for a long time forward (social security for many generations forward. The same will be true for medicare provided we extend its taxing to capital gains. Indeed the pay role taxation system is so sound that it holds huge sums of trust fund (surplus) money in government bonds.

    The other tax system is a somewhat progressive tax on income from work and investments (progressive on work but regressive on investment). It is used to cover all other government expenses. This tax system is not only a mess in its unfair differences between treatment of income from work vs. investment, but also in its inability to cover the expenses it is supposed to cover.

    When I hear people saying that we have to do something about entitlements, what they really are saying is that they want the regressive (pay role) tax system to pay for fixing the problems in the progressive income tax system. When you know that the main problems in the income tax system has been the huge unfunded tax brakes (as in failure to fund tax-cuts by lowering spending) to high income families, it is clearly a reverse Robin Hood policy. To sustain tax-brakes for wealthy people they are demanding that we raid the social security fund and ask middle class and low-income people to accept lesser benefits than what they have already paid for.

  45. jonhendry says:

    “If for example Georgia flares up – how can the United States or a coalition credibly threaten military action without local bases and facilities?”

    Get real. We’re not going to threaten military action against Russia. Nor should we threaten military action over a corrupt little shithole like Georgia.

    Hell, Russia isn’t even Communist anymore.

  46. ACS says:

    When 5% of taxpayers pay more income tax than the other 95% I’d call it more than “somewhat progressive”. When Social Security taxes are immediately spent and the government issues itself an IOU that is not a trust fund, it’s an accounting fiction and one that would garner criminal action from that very same government if done by another party.

  47. DeDude says:

    >>When 5% of taxpayers pay more income tax than the other 95% I’d call it more than “somewhat progressive”<>Social Security taxes are immediately spent and the government issues itself an IOU that is not a trust fund, it’s an accounting fiction<<

    The IOU’s in the trust fund are as real as any other treasuries printed and sold on the market to other pension trust funds. The real accounting fiction is when we get reports of the federal deficit. When federal deficits are reported they pretend that the surplus in the pay role (tax the poor) system is bringing down the deficit in the other (tax the rich) tax system. That is part of the reason they haven’t been run out of town when they suggest that cut in pay role benefits should bankroll the cuts in income and capital gains tax for the rich. People have been brainwashed into thinking of it as one big pot.

  48. DeDude says:

    >>Social Security taxes are immediately spent and the government issues itself an IOU that is not a trust fund, it’s an accounting fiction<<

    The IOU’s in the trust fund are as real as any other treasuries printed and sold on the market to other pension trust funds. The real accounting fiction is when we get reports of the federal deficit. When federal deficits are reported they pretend that the surplus in the pay role (tax the poor) system is bringing down the deficit in the other (tax the rich) tax system. That is part of the reason they haven’t been run out of town when they suggest that cut in pay role benefits should bankroll the cuts in income and capital gains tax for the rich. People have been brainwashed into thinking of it as one big pot.

  49. DeDude says:

    “When 5% of taxpayers pay more income tax than the other 95% I’d call it more than “somewhat progressive””

    That is not a reflection of the “progressiveness” of the tax scales, it is a reflection of the “third world like” unevenness of our income distribution. You just can’t cut that much wool from a herd of bald sheeple (they produce just enough wool to cover their own eyes, not enough to cover the rich pigs a$$es).

  50. DeDude says:

    Remember that originally the “poverty insurance via pay role tax” system was designed to be separate from other income taxes. It ensured that only the middle class would be asked to cover the cost of a “riot insurance” anti-poverty program. The rich are not on pay roles so they were automatically not contributing to that, although they most certainly were the main beneficiaries of calming the masses to avoid a revolution. At this time the federal government is getting more income from pay role taxes than from income taxes, so it is becoming the tempting target for the rich to pig out on. All these things are conveniently forgotten when the rich start whining about how much they pay in taxes.

  51. Joe Friday says:

    ACS,

    “When 5% of taxpayers pay more income tax than the other 95% I’d call it more than ‘somewhat progressive’.”

    Hardly.

    Over the past decade, the top one percent of Americans saw their share of the nation’s income DOUBLE, from 11.3% to 22.1%, but their tax burden shrank by about one-third.

    You’re conflating the increased payment of taxes because of a drastic increase in income with the tax burden.

    ~

    “When Social Security taxes are immediately spent and the government issues itself an IOU that is not a trust fund”

    It’s also not an accurate description of the investment.

  52. Fireman1979 says:

    I may have gotten the wrong lesson from Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of the Great Empires” when I read it twenty years ago but my remembrance is that every great military empire overextended itself to the point where it could not take care of it’s problems at home. We are there and no one wants to admit it. Our leaders are lying to us and we are tacitly accepting the lies. We are mirror images of our politicians.