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Thread: US Defense Budget Is Insane

  1. #1
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    Default US Defense Budget Is Insane

    I've known for years that the US spends more on defense than any other ten nations combined but somehow this really put that in perspective for me.

    Are there any sane arguments to justify this?

    I'm sure guys like MOTO feel the US needs to have the biggest military but, holy fuck, you could halve that military budget and still have more than Russia, China and India (the next biggest three) combined.

    Of course being an evil socialist type I'd like to see that money redirected towards things like universal healthcare and education but surely even die-hard right-wingers have to see that's a fuckload of money being wasted and if you just trimmed it down to a less obscene number you could even just cut taxes or club more baby seals or whatever it is right-wingers really want.

    Point is, the size of this budget is insane and that should be apparent no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. Right?

    So why is it like this? Can anyone suggest some good reading material for how things got this way and why it continues?
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    Well, you never know.
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    Russia and the US spend the same proportion on of their countries' GDP on defence (both at around 4.4%) - some countries spend even more (I think Saudi Arabia is 8%+). The total dollars number seems so big, simply because the US has a larger, and wealthier population /economy than Russia. So within that perspective, the US really isn't overspending on defence .

    The entirety of US foreign policy and its global position are based around military might. Could the defence budget be trimmed? Sure - and it probably will be in the following decade or so, but its unrealistic for the country to radically alter how it manages its foreign relations. As China's global reach increases, so will its defence spending - it's what great powers do. Plus, there's the whole "war Keynesian" angle - that should appeal to godlests socialists like yourself - all that defence money is essentially poured right back into the US economy through soldier's salaries, or via private firms (research and development, weapons systems manufacturing, ect).

    tl;dr - Yes the US spends too much on its military, but the number needs to be viewed within the proper context
    Last edited by jacknife737; 12-19-2013 at 10:47 AM.
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    http://militarywaste.org/ - This site was a good watchdog group that posted about outrageous waste in military spending, often regarding expensive projects that were unessential or ended up being completely useless. It is no longer updated, but I think the concept is good and would like to find a similar organization.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacknife737 View Post
    Yes the US spends too much on its military, but the number needs to be viewed within the proper context
    Well yeah, and that had crossed my mind, but I was struggling to think of any context that could justify the sheer enormity. I'm not convinced that military spending needs to be based on a percentage of your GDP or population or really anything at all. I would have thought there's simply a number that is enough regardless of anything else. But ok, let's talk percentages. The US has something like five times the population of the UK and its GDP is unsurprisingly also about five times as much. So the military spending should be about five times as much too, right? Except it's more like ten. Within this perspective the US really is overspending on defense, surely. But again, I'm really not convinced this should be based on percentages. The US military budget may look balanced with Russia if you compare GDP percentages but in reality we're talking about 90 billion dollars for Russia compared with 682 billion dollars for the US. If Russia can protect itself on 90 billion I just don't see why the US needs almost 600 billion more. I'm pretty sure income disparity doesn't answer it. And Russia has been just as jingoistic. Admittedly if Russia could throw another 600 billion dollars into its military it may well do so, but that's not the point. Then we'd just have two nations spending an obscene amount of money on defense. If the US could somehow double its GDP next year would that mean they should also double their military spending? That would be ridiculous, right? So then the whole notion of basing military spending on GDP is kind of ridiculous too, right? Maybe a percentage of your GDP would be a good way of setting a maximum limit to things like military spending to ensure you can't wreck your economy with it. But never as a goal to be reached.

    For me the military Keynesian angle is a silver lining. It's something good you can say about something that is still inherently bad. I tend to agree with Noam Chomsky's criticisms and think the money would be far better spent on healthcare, education, infrastructure and whatnot.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    I love a strong, battle ready military. It costs huge dollars to have a military prepared 24/7 for basically any invasion conceivable. Along with this, as with EVERY bullshit federal program, comes a HUGE amount of waste and fraud. I saw it first hand when I was a fed. I especially love America because if we were ever invaded by a foreign army on the 48's land, I could not even begin to imagine the fire power that would be unleashed by average armed citizens. It would be a massacre of epic proportions. You have a strong battle ready military, you have a relatively safe and stable nation.

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    MOTO, I'm not disagreeing with anything you just said and I honestly find your opinions in this area interesting, but that really wasn't what I was asking. Would you feel less secure if your military budget was, I don't know, 500 billion instead of 600 billion? Your military would still be extremely powerful. Would you feel any less safe and stable? And remember, that 100 billion we're saving could potentially be used for anything you want, even just lowering taxes.

    Also, out of genuine curiosity, could you explain your comment about being a fed?
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    There is no question $10's of billions are considered waste when you have a budget for your military greater than some countries GDP. The military is your first line of defense when the shit hits the fan. And believe me, lots of countries exist for no reason than to spread shit. This defense is what guarentees (to some degree) your ability to breath. What's your next breath worth? The US has built-in redundancy to our defense and this is horribly expensive. But saving $100,000,000,000, yeah, I'd like to see that happen for sure. One problem though, they'd find a way to fuck it up and waste or spend it somewhere else. Our military is so large and so complex, it's almost beyond the point of downsizing. If you take away funding, you literally may have to junk a large portion of our defense that depends on constant mainteance or upgrades that would otherwise render the equipment utter junk. Then you have a completely wasted investment.

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