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Reducing Federal Spending.

WilliamJB

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I have a modest proposal for how to drastically reduce the debt and spending without touching any of the social programs that millions of Americans rely on: reduce the defense budget by 25%.

The US currently spends the same amount on its military as the rest of the world combined. Including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it totals $1.3 trillion. With the Cold War over, and any threat to the US coming from extremely low-tech wackos in caves in Afghanistan/Pakistan, I think that this would be a great approach to take, but I've heard nothing about it from either side of the aisle.

Thoughts?
 

MKULTRABOY

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I think its not discussed because its considered political suicide. Many will not disagree with you here, however.
 

Dezaad

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I think its not discussed because its considered political suicide. Many will not disagree with you here, however.

Unfortunately, I think you're correct. I think the reason is more complex than just that we have a strong patriotic streak which makes us think that we need to be able to kick anyone's ass. In truth, I believe that our power is a stabilizing force worldwide. Instability would follow any massive reduction in that power. Nevertheless, I'm also starting to believe it is national suicide not to take steps to reduce the world's reliance on our military might.
 

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I have a modest proposal for how to drastically reduce the debt and spending without touching any of the social programs that millions of Americans rely on: reduce the defense budget by 25%.

The US currently spends the same amount on its military as the rest of the world combined. Including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it totals $1.3 trillion. With the Cold War over, and any threat to the US coming from extremely low-tech wackos in caves in Afghanistan/Pakistan, I think that this would be a great approach to take, but I've heard nothing about it from either side of the aisle.

Thoughts?

Dejavu - we just discussed this, quite a few times . . . it's not a new debate.
But like abortions - I guess there's no killing it.

There's a vapis vat of areas which can be tightened significantly without reducing defense spending directly - but no one listens to me so it'll never happen :(
 

WilliamJB

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Dejavu - we just discussed this, quite a few times . . . it's not a new debate.
But like abortions - I guess there's no killing it.

There's a vapis vat of areas which can be tightened significantly without reducing defense spending directly - but no one listens to me so it'll never happen :(

Apologies, I hadn't seen the thread before.
 

spud_meister

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as soon as you get the conservatives in here, you'll be a marxist that hates america and sodomises homosexual muslims, or something to that effect.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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I would agree with defense budget reductions, but only after an intense analysis of it's impact. One cannot depend on just pure numbers. The troops and monetary investments are there for a reason. I am a big supporter of social programs. but if defense is cut TOO strictly, social programs won't mean much if our borders are being threatened because of insufficient presence worldwide. I used to be a staunch supporter of military cutting, but no longer. It needs to be made more efficient... just like social programs. If we focused on efficiency and effectiveness in BOTH realms, I would imagine that cutting spending would not be very difficult.
 

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I have a modest proposal for how to drastically reduce the debt and spending without touching any of the social programs that millions of Americans rely on: reduce the defense budget by 25%.

The US currently spends the same amount on its military as the rest of the world combined. Including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it totals $1.3 trillion. With the Cold War over, and any threat to the US coming from extremely low-tech wackos in caves in Afghanistan/Pakistan, I think that this would be a great approach to take, but I've heard nothing about it from either side of the aisle.

Thoughts?

I say ... remove all corporate welfare spending and business tax breaks. That will force big business degenerates to pay their fair share... and provide additional funding for other projects.
 

Winston Smith

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Whenever any bureaucracy reaches a kind of critical mass, the budget tends to start driving the policy instead of the other way around. This fact is often pointed out in criticisms of big government programs like welfare, education, all manner of regulation, etc. For some reason people imagine that the military is immune to it, but in fact it happened with "defense" spending a long time ago. We spend all this money for the reason that Eisenhower predicted, which is to feed the military-industrial complex. And the problem is worse than most people realize.

Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 because they know military spending is the key to our undoing. They saw the strain it was putting on our economy and thought that if they could draw us into a major escalation, all they would have to do was hold out until we collapsed. So far, it looks like they had a good plan.
 

donsutherland1

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I have a modest proposal for how to drastically reduce the debt and spending without touching any of the social programs that millions of Americans rely on: reduce the defense budget by 25%.

The US currently spends the same amount on its military as the rest of the world combined. Including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it totals $1.3 trillion. With the Cold War over, and any threat to the US coming from extremely low-tech wackos in caves in Afghanistan/Pakistan, I think that this would be a great approach to take, but I've heard nothing about it from either side of the aisle.

Thoughts?

Ultimately, the social programs will need to be reformed if the U.S. is to achieve fiscal sustainability. Social Security is a relatively straight-forward actuarial exercise. Medicare/Medicaid will require dramatic health reform that addresses the core problem of the system's excessive cost growth problem. Controversial as it might seem, a large part of that health care reform will need to address the inefficient procurement of technology.

With respect to Defense expenditures, the annual figure is nowhere near $1.3 trillion. The base budget and supplemental appropriations for Afghanistan/Iraq amount to less than $800 billion.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/defense.pdf

Having said that, I do agree that the Pentagon, like any other agency or department, will need to become more productive. It will need to be able to do more with each dollar. It will need to overcome inefficiencies that have developed starting with a badly-performing procurement system.
 

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Ultimately, the social programs will need to be reformed if the U.S. is to achieve fiscal sustainability. Social Security is a relatively straight-forward actuarial exercise. Medicare/Medicaid will require dramatic health reform that addresses the core problem of the system's excessive cost growth problem. Controversial as it might seem, a large part of that health care reform will need to address the inefficient procurement of technology.

With respect to Defense expenditures, the annual figure is nowhere near $1.3 trillion. The base budget and supplemental appropriations for Afghanistan/Iraq amount to less than $800 billion.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/defense.pdf

Having said that, I do agree that the Pentagon, like any other agency or department, will need to become more productive. It will need to be able to do more with each dollar. It will need to overcome inefficiencies that have developed starting with a badly-performing procurement system.

why isn't any administration willing to tackle this? military-industrial complex? it's not a badly perfoming system, it's a corrupt system.
 

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Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 because they know military spending is the key to our undoing. They saw the strain it was putting on our economy and thought that if they could draw us into a major escalation, all they would have to do was hold out until we collapsed. So far, it looks like they had a good plan.

The cost differential has become an asymmetric disadvantage for the U.S. military. Already, it costs nearly $1.2 million per soldier per year in Afghanistan, a cost that is more than 70% above the levels in Iraq. That disparity needs to be reduced.

In the larger context, the emerging competitive disadvantage in cost of operations, if it is not remedied, risks pushing the U.S. into a stark situation of either delivering a lasting knock-out blow (very difficult to achieve) or ultimately losing wars of attrition as public and political support erodes and funding strains develop. As the United States' long-term fiscal challenges deepen, the competition for funds and demand for savings will increase markedly. Enemies will calculate accordingly to exploit what could become the Achilles Heel of American power. As a result, risks to U.S. interests will increase and U.S. leverage will weaken.
 

mbig

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Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 because they know military spending is the key to our undoing. They saw the strain it was putting on our economy and thought that if they could draw us into a major escalation, all they would have to do was hold out until we collapsed. So far, it looks like they had a good plan.
I think this claim is rather ridiculous. Thanks tho it got.
Al-Qaeda's motives (stated and otherwise) for 9/11 weren't to stimulate US military spending. (!)
And what they "saw" in 2001 and the years preceding/planning was Not escalating Military spending/"strain" but a booming US economy with less strain than in the previous Cold War years and Balanced Budgets for many years under Clinton.
Nor could they know which president would even be elected on the inception of planning or that the Unrelated invasion of Iraq would be a consequence.
 
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Winston Smith

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I think this claim is rather ridiculous. Thanks tho it got.
Al-Qaeda's motives (stated and otherwise) on 9/11 weren't to stimulate US military spending.

It's straight from the horse's mouth, as cited in Michael Scheuer's excellent book Imperial Hubris.
 

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My guess is that it would be too controversial. Procurement is a highly political exercise as the process is currently designed. Political needs/desires play a significant role.

Imagine, for example, if Congress told Lockheed Martin that it must deliver the F-35 at the cost under which the program was recertified (now more than 60% above the contract price) or that it would terminate the contract and seek reimbursement for the expenditures to date. Lockheed Martin would plead that many jobs would be lost in Congressional districts without further cost increases (very likely given the program's history). As often happens, local Congressmen would put the interests (jobs) of their districts ahead of the greater national interests (cost control).

IMO, the procurement process requires an outside independent board for major projects. That board would turn procurement into a purely military-economic exercise. It would rigorously oversee the bidding and, most importantly, enforce the contracts that are established. The Pentagon has demonstrated little capability in the area of procurement. The recertification process almost always ratifies cost overruns. Termination of bad projects is rare, with the sunk cost and escalation of commitment falacies all but eliminating the risk of termination.
 

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Mbig,

I believe you misunderstood his point. He is correct that Al Qaeda believed that a war of attrition against the U.S. could succeed on account of its costs to the U.S.

He did not suggest that Al Qaeda's motive for attack was on account of U.S. weaknesses. However, a cost-benefit approach might well have made the decision easier. In any case, the major point is that any enemy can readily calculate the impact of the growing cost disadvantages confronting the U.S. military. Al Qaeda believed that the effort of attrition against the Soviet Union had some relevance to the U.S.

From CNN:

"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript.

He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers."

"We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.
 

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My guess is that it would be too controversial. Procurement is a highly political exercise as the process is currently designed. Political needs/desires play a significant role.

Imagine, for example, if Congress told Lockheed Martin that it must deliver the F-35 at the cost under which the program was recertified (now more than 60% above the contract price) or that it would terminate the contract and seek reimbursement for the expenditures to date. Lockheed Martin would plead that many jobs would be lost in Congressional districts without further cost increases (very likely given the program's history). As often happens, local Congressmen would put the interests (jobs) of their districts ahead of the greater national interests (cost control).

IMO, the procurement process requires an outside independent board for major projects. That board would turn procurement into a purely military-economic exercise. It would rigorously oversee the bidding and, most importantly, enforce the contracts that are established. The Pentagon has demonstrated little capability in the area of procurement. The recertification process almost always ratifies cost overruns. Termination of bad projects is rare, with the sunk cost and escalation of commitment falacies all but eliminating the risk of termination.


i agree with that, and you can't be the only person who thinks that way. so i guess the real issue is no guts on the part of our elected officials, no surprise there.
 

mbig

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It's straight from the horse's mouth, as cited in Michael Scheuer's excellent book Imperial Hubris.
The "Horse's mouth" would be Osama statements Before 9/11, not a subsequent book regretting the consequences of our botched invasions.
 

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why isn't any administration willing to tackle this? military-industrial complex? it's not a badly perfoming system, it's a corrupt system.
Every facet of our national budget is a corrupt system. Until we have an administration in power that is immune to criticism and rallies the American people behind a huge mop-up operation, we're going to keep spending ourselves broke.

Saying (paraphrased), "Let's just cut military spending by 25%," is simplistic...never going to happen. Having said that, even a 25% cut amounts to only $200 billion. DSutherland is, of course, correct. Not $1.3 trillion (that's our whole discretionary spending level). Nothing good's going to happen until we tackle our mandatory spending...our social programs.
 

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Every facet of our national budget is a corrupt system. Until we have an administration in power that is immune to criticism and rallies the American people behind a huge mop-up operation, we're going to keep spending ourselves broke.

Saying (paraphrased), "Let's just cut military spending by 25%," is simplistic...never going to happen. Having said that, even a 25% cut amounts to only $200 billion. DSutherland is, of course, correct. Not $1.3 trillion (that's our whole discretionary spending level). Nothing good's going to happen until we tackle our mandatory spending...our social programs.

dod spending is about the same as spending for social security. and debt service is a pretty good chunk as well. we need to tackle EVERYTHING.
 

Winston Smith

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And what they "saw" in 2001 and the years preceding/planning was Not escalating Military spending/"strain" but a booming US economy with less strain than in the previous Cold War years and Balanced Budgets for many years under Clinton.
Nor could they know which president would even be elected on the inception of planning or that the Unrelated invasion of Iraq would be a consequence.

They were taking a longer view, and rightly so. We were casting about for a new crusade barely a year after the Soviet Union collapsed. We'd chosen the Middle East, starting with Iraq.

Blackwater was founded in 1997, before Bush was elected and before the planning of 9/11 was even underway. How do you think we had 100,000 mercenaries trained and ready to deploy in 2003? They could see where events were leading. Elections don't drive the policy; money does.

mbig said:
The "Horse's mouth" would be Osama statements Before 9/11, not a subsequent book regretting the consequences of our botched invasions.

The book quotes statements from before 9/11, not from Osama but from his associates. There are also the statements from Bin Laden that Don quoted. I'm not sure whether those are from before or after 9/11, but it hardly matters.
 
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Aunt Spiker

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Every facet of our national budget is a corrupt system. Until we have an administration in power that is immune to criticism and rallies the American people behind a huge mop-up operation, we're going to keep spending ourselves broke.

Saying (paraphrased), "Let's just cut military spending by 25%," is simplistic...never going to happen. Having said that, even a 25% cut amounts to only $200 billion. DSutherland is, of course, correct. Not $1.3 trillion (that's our whole discretionary spending level). Nothing good's going to happen until we tackle our mandatory spending...our social programs.

And the Gov spends more on healthcare and education than it does defense. . .no one's daring to discussing the nippage of educational waste.
 

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I woudn't mind a national debt...I wouldn't mind deficit spending...if there was any 'principle' being paid back on what is essentially a loan. If I apply the same criteria to our national debt as I would my own household, our national debt stands at 41% of our income. No bank in the world would lend me money with that debt ratio. And it just keeps getting worse.

@ Aunt Spiker and LibLady--Agree with you both. Until no program is sacrosanct, we're skrood. We need to cut spending!! We need to cut spending!! Don't you DARE gore my ox!! And our politicians stand with their heads up their ***** and don't have the guts to tackle it because there are no term limits.

There. I feel much better now.
 
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mbig

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They were taking a longer view, and rightly so. We were casting about for a new crusade barely a year after the Soviet Union collapsed. We'd chosen the Middle East, starting with Iraq.
We were "casting about"? But even if true.. that's not Straining. And not straining You said was Osama's reason.
Everyone is aware of Osama's main stated reasons.

Blackwater was founded in 1997, before Bush was elected and before the planning of 9/11 was even underway. How do you think we had 100,000 mercenaries trained and ready to deploy in 2003? They could see where events were leading. Elections don't drive the policy; money does.
What does the have to do with Osama attacking on 9/11 "because" he wanted us to strain our military?
This is beyond fallacious.

The book quotes statements from before 9/11, not from Osama but from his associates. There are also the statements from Bin Laden that Don quoted. I'm not sure whether those are from before or after 9/11, but it hardly matters.
We all know what Osama said before 9/11 and your assertion wasn't his reason.
In fact, he wanted our troops Out of Saudi Arabia.. and succeeded in that non-strain/retrenchment.
 
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