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View Diary: Cato: taxes must be increased to stop Bush's Big Government (121 comments)

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  •  $512.9 billion : 2007 Defense Budget (7+ / 0-)

    On May 11th, 2006, the House passed 396-31 a $512.9 billion defense budget. (This is just for one year and doesn't include all the supplemental requests that will inevitably be requested.) If we're going to get our fiscal problems fixed in this country, we're going to have to stop wasting money on bombs and guns, wars and occupation. Raising taxes until we fix our Nation's priorities is like giving a drunk keys to the liquor cabinet and keys to your car.

    Our national debt is $8,344 billion. We can use this misguided defense budget to eliminate our deficit in thirty years (a nice mortgage to secure our country's future) and still defend our borders.

    We have money now and we're wasting it on the military-industrial complex. Stop that and then see if the I.R.S. needs to collect more taxes.

    •  Even without war, we need a military (1+ / 0-)
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      It is indeed true that not fighting wars will reduce our defense budget pretty dramatically in the long run.  That said, the sad reality is that even if we plan to be at peace, we will need a military.  That means paying soldiers and seamen and pilots, providing them with equipment, maintaining our military bases, and paying the cost of consumables used in training.

      •  Why? (8+ / 0-)

        Why do we need to spend so much? Why do we feel threatened and are so afraid?

        United States: $399.1 billion
        Russia: $65.0 billion
        China: $47.0 billion

        Source: U.S. Military Budget Still the World's Largest, and Growing

        Should we be spending money readying for the coming oil wars? Is that what America fears?

        Do we need to scare other nations into line? Our misuse of the military in Iraq is ample evidence of our impotence. Our sabre rattling is the mere clinking of flatware to other nations.

        Are we trying to stop terrorism by shooting it? The military is proving not to be the solution to stop terrorism. The Iraqi insurgency can stop us with home made roadside bombs. Is spending tax money on this kind of military what we need to do?

        Land of the Free? Home of the Brave?

        Hardly, we're are afraid of our own shadow. We're at war with ourselves.

        •  How a decent life for our troops? (1+ / 0-)
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          If I were running things, I'd pay our troops more, and provide them with better access to medical care (eg: fully fund the VA) and housing that's more comparable to what you'd get in civilian life.  That kind of thing costs money, and ends up putting a floor on how much of a reduction in the US military budget I see as acceptable.

          •  Which wouldn't cost over half a trillion to do (2+ / 0-)
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            parrothead, boofdah

            If I were running things, I'd pay our troops more, and provide them with better access to medical care (eg: fully fund the VA) and housing that's more comparable to what you'd get in civilian life.

            For example: the military would rather fund stealth fighters than soldiers.

            Trace the military budget back a quarter-century. You will find that each and every year, no matter what kinds of threats we were or weren't facing, the money has been divvied up in the same way—35 percent to the Air Force, 35 percent to the Navy, and 30 percent to the Army. In no year, at least since the mid-1980s, has this formula varied by more than 1 percent. (The figures do not include costs related to the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, which come out of budget supplementals.)

            Far more than the other services, the Army spends a huge share of its budget—about 40 percent—on personnel.

            So, if we need$512.9 billion and 40 percent of that is to support the troops. Let's give the military a sizable 60 percent of that proposed budget, or $307.7 billion. Then, let's get our soldiers out of Iraq and bring them home. Then pass universal health care in the United States and reduce the burden on the VA. After that, eliminate more weapons programs and make sure the military can provide all the services its needs without outsourcing to private companies.

            •  No, but it WOULD cost a lot (1+ / 0-)
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              It would still cost a lot -- tens of billions.  Plus we need to maintain (and replace) equipment.  Cover the cost of safely disposing unneeded nuclear weapons, etc.  Best case, we're still talking about something like $300 billion/year for the immediate future.

              That's a nice cut from where we are, but not enough to avoid needing to raise taxes from current levels.

              •  If we wanted to spend less we could (0+ / 0-)

                We're in a very cushy position thanks to geography.  $100 billion a year would still be the largest military budget on earth and plenty for any imaginable threat.   Whether it's politically feasible to get to get all the wage slaves to give up their proxy phallic symbols is another matter.  It's compensation for being at the mercy of corporation bosses half their waking lives.

                •  commitments to allies (0+ / 0-)

                  We might be able to spend that amount, but we've got a whole lot of commitments to our allies.  I'd be astonished if we could live up to them if we cut our military budget to 100 billion per year.

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