Skip to main content

View Diary: Come to Hawai'i and blow up paradise! (60 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I am uncomfortable with using statistics... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denver11

    in this way. In the top of the diary, the author quoted the often cited stat about how the US military budget is bigger than any other countries budget, which is also misleading.

    The US economy is much larger than any other countries economy, by a big margin. So of course we have a bigger military budget. While I agree that it needs to be reduced, it is never going to be as small as China's military budget. Our economy is simply much larger than China's, and will be for decades to come. That's simply a factor of the US being an economic juggernaut. A better way to represent the military budget is as a share of GDP. I was less than 3% of GDP by the time Clinton left office, then spiked to nearly 6% under  GW Bush. It's been hovering around 4-5% under Obama, so there's certainly room for cuts, and I'm all for that. But the chart so often used by those advocating cuts in no way reflects the reality of the issue.

    The chart you use is also pretty misleading, as it only considers what Congress calls discretionary spending. What about non-discretionary spending? There is that little mom and pop program called "Social Security", isn't there? In fact, using the same method used by the OP describing US military spending, I can argue that that the US spends far more on helping the disabled and the elderly than any other country by far. And that's true. But again, we have the largest economy. So that doesn't exactly make the US a socialist utopia, does it? But we do spend quite a bit on Social Security, Medicare, and a good deal of the VA budget is also non-discretionary in nature.

    I'm not disagreeing with your basic point that it would be good to spend less on new weapon systems. I also agree that the idea of going to war with China is pretty much insane. But God I hate propaganda. It doesn't help people understand the issue, and shockingly few people in this country understand the big issues which they read about in the papers everyday.

    I ask people I know every now and then how much of the US debt is held by China. Every time the answer I get is that China basically owns most of the US debt. The PRC owns less than 10% of our debt, and that number is likely falling in the years to come. I really believe the main reason our politics are so fucked up is that there is all this propaganda out there and people have no clue how our government works and what the actual choices we face are. People need to know these things.

    The United States currently puts about 4-5% of it's annual economic output into the US Military, and that is an insane amount of resources. We could reasonably get that number down to less than 3%, and we'd have all this extra shit to use to solve other problems with. That's simple, and accurate. What's wrong with that?

    You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

    by Eric Stratton on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 10:13:20 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  This is true (3+ / 0-)

      But take a look at the sizes of the economy and their relative proportions of defense spending. China's economy is somewhere between 50% and 75% of ours, probably, and they spend one-fifth as much on defense. Germany's is a fifth of ours, and they spend less than one-fourteenth as much. So we're subsidizing other country's defense spending with our own.

      However, I agree that we could easily cut defense spending by 25% without affecting our preparedness. We just have to be willing to take some of the billions away from defense contractors. (Or let them have it to put people to work in repairing domestic infrastructure. Let them do something to actually earn their ill-gotten gains over the decades.)

      •  Good points. (0+ / 0-)

        I admit I have trouble keeping track of exactly where China is in relation to the US these days. The world is changing rapidly.

        You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

        by Eric Stratton on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 12:18:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  how about we compare the number of nations China (0+ / 0-)

      has invaded since 1949 with the number of countries the US has invaded since 1949 . . . . . .

      Or the number of foreign military bases the US has and the number of foreign military bases China has.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 07:59:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, so long as you assume Tibet isn't a country (0+ / 0-)

        that works fine. But lets get serious, trying to suggest that the US is an evil oppressor while the PRC are noble defenders of all that is good is just silly.

        You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

        by Eric Stratton on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 12:22:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  let's count Tibet, then (0+ / 0-)

          (which then allows us to count the 470 Native American Nations we invaded and killed).

          that works fine. But lets get serious, trying to suggest that the US is an evil oppressor while the PRC are noble defenders of all that is good is just silly.
          I don't recall anyone saying any such thing. China is a single-party police state.

          But the fact remains that the US has invaded or bombed virtually everybody around the world, while China has invaded or bombed virtually nobody. If anybody should have their toys taken away, it is us.

          It always amazes me how empires manage to convince themselves that they are always the good guys.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 04:26:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Just out of interest, I took a look at what you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Stratton

      said. And found the answer right in Wiki.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...
      Using military expenditure as percent of GDP, US places 4th in terms of military expenditure (4% of GDP). Behind Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Russia.

      China is 2% of GDP.

      •  The imminent threat of China's (0+ / 0-)

        advancing hoards has always been overblown. I worry a little about the hawks in Beijing finally making good on their threats to take Taiwan, but the idea that they are going take over the Pacific is laughable.

        You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

        by Eric Stratton on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 12:24:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site