Skip to comments.The Overhyped Defense Cuts
Posted on 07/10/2011 8:35:33 AM PDT by Kaslin
Politicians often rail against government spending, except when it goes to the military. Conservatives believe there is no such thing as too much defense spending, and liberals don't argue, for fear of being labeled appeasers. So when there is talk of the two parties agreeing to cut the Pentagon budget, it sounds like a monumental change.
But probably not. It's a good thing that defense, which accounts for roughly a fifth of all federal outlays, is no longer considered immune to the need for frugality. But both supporters and opponents have a stake in portraying any trims as far more significant than they really are.
The Obama administration reportedly has decided to boost its planned defense cuts from $400 billion over the next 12 years to as much as $700 billion. That sounds like a lot -- considering that the earlier, smaller figure had sparked furious objections.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned it would be "a grievous mistake" that would someday "be measured in American lives lost." Mitt Romney, in line with most other presidential candidates, insisted "we should not reduce our commitment to national security."
Some Republicans in Congress may be prepared to subject defense spending to the sort of scrutiny applied elsewhere. But if you think the tea party favorites will demand serious fiscal discipline, you are in for a disappointment.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's heralded budget plan would, according to Cato Institute analyst Christopher Preble, leave the Pentagon "essentially unscathed." Michele Bachmann wrote recently, "Blaming our budgetary woes on the military is reckless and misinformed."
(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...
It’s likely that defense sending could be cut to some extent. What this country really needs is some “real” jobs and not a bunch of “make-busy” crap. A good place to start would be oil production. There are no lack of places to drill and that includes Anwar. Let the environmentalists be damned!
Easiest way to save some serious defense dollars is to stop fighting our 3 overseas wars.
Plus we ought not to have bases in countries that don’t want us (unless there is an overriding strategic reason, that is).
I'd almost bet the DoD is the ONLY place in the budget that has seen REAL CUTS to its budget since WWII.
All other programs that have been "cut" have seen growth slowed, but the budget either stalled or still went up some.
Yes, Defense cuts are on the table, but they must be reasonable. Defense is a Constitutional obligation of the US Government, and one that is necessary. Other areas do not hold this distinction.
Ive been employed in the military-industrial complex for 33 years. The waste is huge, but the waste is demanded by government contracts. Lets say the government is going to buy a hammer. You get the contract. The contract insists you test 50 samples to destruction ($5,500 each test) and submit a report (40 hours at $155/hour). Youve of course got to be ISO 9001 certified (55 million for the first year and 20 million per each year after for my most recent employer.) Youve got to meet EOE, OSHA, EPA and all sorts of standards. You cant use any number of banned materials or processes. The list goes on and on and on. Every line in that contract costs the manufacturer money and he doesnt dare to say, Wait, you dont need that. As a matter of fact, the manufacturer likes all those requirements because profit is a percentage of costs. If you make 10%, your take is much more on $50,000,000 than on $50,000.
We could provide a credible military at a fraction of todays costs, but it would require undoing just about everything as it now practiced. For example, lets say the country wants to buy 500 fighter jets over 10 years. The cost would drop dramatically if the manufacturer would build using automation. But since automation required 10 years to amortize and the money for the multi-year buy is allocated year by year, every fighter is built like its a one-off item. (Very expensive.)
I could go on for pages, but you get the idea. As Pogo said, We have met the enemy and he is us.
What gets me in the defense cuts is how many times has the military said they don’t need this or that program like some jet and some congress critter or senator pushed it through anyways, because it benefited him. The troops do not deserve a cut
The only problem with this logic is, that defense is the only thing this government is actually authorized to spend large sums of money on.
Defense DOES NOT equal 20% of the budget either, but if the government wants to cut just 80% of the budget items, I’ll settle for that amount.
He said roughly a fifth of the budget. 18.74% is close enough.
The best way to reduce defense spending is to increase taxes to pay for it and to give the military an incentive to end wars rather than provide a blank check for endless.
Good morning, all. If the government would just get out of everything but defending our shores against the enemy think of the money we could save! I mean if they had just kept to what they were meant to do from the beginning think how much better off we would all be! It’s mind boggling! The dollar would be sound. Prices would be affordable. There would be even ground for all to prosper.
God would be in our classrooms. Stores would be closed on Sundays. Mothers could stay home and support fathers and together they would raise fine children. There would be no need for street gangs. We wouldn’t need to lock our doors anymore. I am old enough to remember when most of these things existed in America.
History has been history in the schools for the past two generations at least. Most people have no memory of what life was like in America. Have any of you read “The Light and the Glory”, by Peter Marshall and David Emanuel? It is the best read on the history 9of early America from l492 forward. Beautifully written, extremely well documented, a book every American should read, regardless of age. You can order through Borders. I’ have done that for giving to several of my grown grandchildren.And I plan to order more for their parents!
It is so true that if we don’t know where we came from we won’t know where and how to go. God bless America.
Definitely true. Cut the programs that are wasteful, spend where it is needed. Good troop pay is needed and proper.
Actually I found a breakdown in the Washington Post that did peg it at almost precisely 20%. Do you believe it’s reasoned to take the military budget in a time of war and use that as your baseline for the military slice of the pie?
Take the current cost of the war into account, and that figure drops 2.5 to 3.0% Of course the over budget total also drops, increasing the percentage a bit.
The point is, the military IS NOT the 80 to 83% of the pie, that needs to be cut.
Here’s what the Left does. It spends like there’s no tomorrow. Then when they get taken to the woodshed over it, they raise the issue of the only approved thing the government should be spending on, and that’s the focus.
And then folks on our side say, “Well, that does sound reasoned after all. If the left has to cut it’s 83%, we should be willing to slice and dice the 17%.”
I don’t approve of waste, but other than that I do want a very strong military at the ready.
Has the military been cut? Yes. We have half the Navy we did under Reagan. We have closed a number of military bases in the U.S. We instituted cost cutting measures across the board.
What other programs in the government can we address that did that? None. If you raise welfare, I’m going to call you on it. We both know we’re paying out too much money in this area. Oh they shift the titles around, but it’s the same old shell game it always was.
I know of people who were given less than half-time volunteer jobs where the government paid the salaries. Working much less than half time, these people were none the less deemed employed. It wasn’t considered Welfare anymore. These games are being jobbed on us all over the place.
Why doesn’t Congress use this device to contain current spending: Cut the budgets of all programs and divisions of government by a small percentage such as 3% and tell the various departments to find their own way to meet the budget cuts.
They could furlough employees, cut waste, refuse to spend the money left at the end of a fiscal year, end useless programs, etc.
Not only that, but everything sold to the government has to meet certain specifications.
A few months ago, I was tasked with investigating the destruction of a computer. One of the rebuttals that the guy who destroyed the computer came up with was that the same computer is available at amazon.com for a third of the price I had determined to be the fair market value of the computer. So, to make sure my investigation would stand up to legal scrutiny, I had to do a lot of research on computer specifications. Only certain chips can go into a government computer, and they must contain chip types not used in other computers. The components can only be produced by approved manufacturers. The list goes on. As far as what the computer actually cost the government, that guy did not end up even coming close to reimbursing the government.
The military does what it's ordered to do by the civilian government and under what rules of engagement it has to operate.
Unleashed from those constrains, our military could've ended Iraq and Afghanistan in months, not years, but we try to fight "nice" wars now.
The wars, costly as they are, are a drop in the bucket at $130 billion for FY12. Libya is an illegal war and should get $0. The wars also add .5% growth to GDP. Last I checked growth is around 1.8%.
Further information, the US defense budget (2010)
Operations and maintenance $283.3 billion
Personnel $154.2 billion
Procurement $140.1 billion
Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation $79.1 billion
Military Construction $23.9 billion
Family Housing $3.1 billion
I think that pie chart is rather “clever” in that it separates Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid...making each look like “less” of the pie, but combined they equal 40% of all spending.
Could not agree more.
Don't even get me started on women/minority owned business contract requirements.
The entire DoD contracting process has become more of a social welfare program than a method of procurement.
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