You seem to accept the fact that our defense budget number is something you set first and then try to tailor your force and mission to that number. Why? Shouldn't we assess what the present and potential threat might be, determine the capability of our present and potential adversaries, and then set priorities? You want us to do it ass backwards.
You also assume that the ever increasing entitlement program requirements will be met as our first priority. The biggest driivers of our budget are the entitlment and means tested welfare programs. They are growing faster than GDP and will continue to do so with 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day for the next 20 years doubling our population over 65 by 2030 to one in five. And by that point there will be just two workers for every retiree. The entitlement programs and debt servicing costs are barely covered by the total revenue we take in thru taxes.
Do you realize that Medicare Part B and D premiums only cover 25% of the costs of those programs. The other 75% must be funded by the General Fund. In 2011, the GF had to pony up $222 billion. That number will continue to increase.
SS has been running in the red since 2010. The General Fund will have to cover the costs of redeeming the SSTF T-bills to make up the shortfall.
Source: CBO Combined OASDI Trust Funds; January 2011 Baseline 26 Jan 2011.
Note: See Primary Surplus line (which is negative, indicating a deficit)
Matters are even worse than this chart shows. In December, Congress passed a Social Security tax reduction. Workers are temporarily paying 2 percentage points less, from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, in Social Security payroll taxes this calendar year. Since the government is making up the shortfall out of general revenues, CBOs deficit projections for the trust funds do not include that. But CBOs figures predict that the payroll tax holiday will cost the governments general fund $85 billion in this fiscal year and $29 billion in fiscal year 2012 (which starts Oct.1, 2011.) Since every dollar of that will have to be borrowed, the combined effect of the tax holiday and the annual deficits will amount to a $130 billion addition to the federal deficit in the current fiscal year, and $59 billion in fiscal 2012.
Actually, the costs were even more according to the 2012 Trustees Report. "A temporary reduction in the Social Security payroll tax rate reduced payroll tax revenues by $103 billion in 2011 and by a projected $112 billion in 2012. The legislation establishing the payroll tax reduction also provided for transfers of revenues from the general fund to the trust funds in order to "replicate to the extent possible" payments that would have occurred if the payroll tax reduction had not been enacted.">
The food stamp costs have now ballooned to $89 billion a year. Food stamps are one of nearly 80 means-tested federal welfare programs, including 17 for nutritional support. Collectively, these programs cost $700 billion annually, plus $200 billion in state contributions.
If you truly care about the defense of the country, and I dont doubt that, you should figure out ways to defend the country on drastically less money than even $500Bn,
It is a matter of priorities. Shouldn't we be figuring out ways to cut back "drastically" on the welfare state, which is the biggest driver of our debt and deficit and will consume the entire federal budget if not curbed. Isn't our national defense the paramount priority?
“You seem to accept the fact that our defense budget number is something you set first and then try to tailor your force and mission to that number.”
Nope. But like any good bureaucrat guarding his budget, you seem to think that you have to strive for bigger budgets ad infinitum. You know darn well that “tailoring the force and mission” is a farce in defense budgets predicated on justifying the new system someone wants.
Those days are over, regardless of whether you and I agree or not.
“It is a matter of priorities. Shouldn’t we be figuring out ways to cut back “drastically” on the welfare state, which is the biggest driver of our debt and deficit and will consume the entire federal budget if not curbed. Isn’t our national defense the paramount priority? “
The point I make, that eludes you is that we have to cut back on EVERYTHING. I’m equally tough on other threads on social security/medicare, for instance. Start one, ping me to it, I’ll participate.
This thread is about the Defense budget. You refuse to admit that there can be an effective defense fielded for a “mere” $500Bn. You seem to buy into that number being one that represents one where “hollowing out” occurs.
If our bureaucrats in the DoD (or any other federal dept) didn’t use apocalyptic language, they might not get ever increasing budgets.
This salvo is not about protecting the United States, it’s about defending budgets. You know it better than most, that’s why you won’t get boxed in by my argument about $500B budget being “enough”. While that’s being a good loyal bureaucrat, it’s not being honest about the fiscal realities that face us. You even ridicule the very notion of drastically reduced budgets of the sort that would be required in an inevitable fiscal collapse of our finances (it IS inevitable) Who is separated from reality, you or me? I submit it’s you, but we can argue that, too.
Government and everything government does will forever change when we can’t borrow the money upon which all government spending depends, including Defense budgets.
We need to be able to respond to that likely scenario - and I have no doubt (and more top secret than anything else) we have budget plans within the DoD for just such an austere eventuality.
So is $500Bn a year enough to provide for the defense of the United States of America?