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View Diary: Changing the Conversation on the Budget: An Idea for Good Governance (29 comments)

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  •  Truemajority.org has been talking about this (6+ / 0-)

    for many years.  Last month one of the founders, Ben Cohen of "Ben and Jerry's" fame, published an editorial along with Jeff Blum of USA Action about cutting defense spending without affecting our military capability.  From the editorial:

    If we are serious about cutting or redirecting our federal spending to important priorities like health care and education, we need to go where the money is, too. Roughly 59 percent of discretionary federal spending is military spending. That’s where we need to look.

    The amount of savings we can realize by eliminating unnecessary weapons systems and scaling back our military’s ever-expanding role could total nearly $800 billion during a seven-year period, beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2018. That’s a cut of just under 15 percent.

    Some of their suggestions for savings in the defense budget:

    We could cut the F-35 fighter jet. That aircraft runs $90 million a pop. Stocking up on the 2,443 F-35s Washington wants will exceed $1 trillion. The Atlantic wryly notes that this is more than Australia’s gross domestic product.

    We could scrap the V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft designed to fly like a plane and take off and land like a helicopter.

    Despite the $18 billion the Pentagon plans to spend on this gizmo beginning next year, the Osprey tilts too much. During testing, some 30 service members were killed in four well-publicized accidents.

    We could drop part of our missile defense program, leaving in place our Patriot system but saving $34 billion beginning next year. We could cut the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, saving $24 million a pop. This vehicle, intended for amphibious assault, seems entirely superfluous, given that no amphibious landing has taken place in combat conditions for decades.

    I don't know how to post it here, but the True Majority website has a great pie chart illustrating your point about the disproportionate amount defense and security are of the discretionary budget.

    •  Indeed... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Mr MadAsHell, Eric Nelson

      The percentages of discretionary spending vary between what True Majority and I are talking about because of how you calculate things like "defense and security" spending.  I just simply looked at things broken out by department...you could also add in things like Homeland Security, or you could look deeper and find specific things like Ben Cohen did.

      "Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one." -- A.J. Liebling

      by Ross Lampert on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 07:01:39 PM PDT

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    •  And that doesn't even touch... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      ... the God-knows-how-many billions of dollars in outright fraud committed by defense contractors.  

      We need a top-to-bottom, front-to-back audit of the DoD.  That alone would probably slash the defense budget by $100 billion a year without reducing our war fighting capability one iota.

      When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

      by CharlieHipHop on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:59:31 AM PDT

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      •  DoD budget and the "Shock Doctrine" (0+ / 0-)

        Read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine;" especially the section about Iraq and the privatization of the military. It'll make you throw up in your trashcan.

        "And that's the way it is." --Walter Cronkite

        by Barnaby Grudge on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 07:46:41 PM PDT

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