Is Military Spending The Third Rail Of Budget Cutting?
This Huffington Post article by Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barney Frank (D-MA) is interesting:
As members of opposing political parties, we disagree on a number of important issues. But we must not allow honest disagreement over some issues to interfere with our ability to work together when we do agree.
By far the single most important of these is our current initiative to include substantial reductions in the projected level of American military spending as part of future deficit reduction efforts. For decades, the subject of military expenditures has been glaringly absent from public debate. Yet the Pentagon budget for 2010 is $693 billion — more than all other discretionary spending programs combined. Even subtracting the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spending still amounts to over 42% of total spending.
It is irrefutably clear to us that if we do not make substantial cuts in the projected levels of Pentagon spending, we will do substantial damage to our economy and dramatically reduce our quality of life.
The military spending issue is a key political one given the talk about austerity. Clearly, entitlement programs and military spending are the lion’s share of the US federal budget. If you can’t cut there, you really can’t cut. And we know people don’t like tax increases.
Here’s a political question: why is Ron Paul the only Republican defending Michael Steele? People are calling his comments on Afghanistan a gaffe.
"If he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that’s the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right? Because everyone who’s tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed… And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan."
The Republican leadership is clueless if it doesn’t realize that a Democratic President committing American troops to a ground war in Afghanistan where the British and Russians lost is a gold mine for the mid-term elections. Hello? Barack Obama is the anti-war President, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for crying out loud. Don’t you think emphasizing the fact that he is escalating a war with ground troops would remind liberals of this? You don’t even have to talk about pulling troops out; you just need to attack the President on following the path of the Soviets. It’s ‘Obama’s War’ now the Republicans could say. If they can’t get that, they are hopeless. This is good for the Democrats because they get to turn out voters who would have stayed at home thinking about the Afghanistan conflict as ‘Obama’s War.’
Here’s Ron Paul in video:
Source: Why We Must Reduce Military Spending – Ron Paul and Barney Frank
Also see U.S. vs. Global Defense Spending at the Center for Arms Control And Non-Proliferation. This shows that the US is responsible for 44% of all global military spending and that military spending has increased 67% in real terms in the last decade.
In 2008, the most recent year for which complete global data is available, the U.S. approved $696.3 billion in defense budget authority (fiscal 2010 dollars). This figure includes funding for the Pentagon base budget, Department of Energy-administered nuclear weapons activities, and supplemental appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan.
This number is eight times more than Russia, 15 times more than Japan, 47 times more than Israel, and nearly 73 times more than Iran.