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We Have A MILITARY Spending Problem: U.S. Military Spending 1947 to 2014
When it comes to spending, boy do we have a MILITARY spending problem. Even if we end the war operations in Afghanistan more quickly, we are still spending approx $150 billion more than the post-WWII average in inflation adjusted dollars.

In addition to the 4,000 military bases in the U.S., we have an estimated 1,000 military sites overseas — ranging from huge installations to small "lily pads." Why do we still need over 200 military sites in Germany? Why does the Pentagon maintain several resort hotels, ski resorts and more than 230 golf courses overseas?

Because the Dept of Defense is the only government budget that is not subject to a financial audit, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of all these overseas military sites. Including the $115 billion spent in Afghanistan and Iraq last year, estimates range from $170 billion to $250 billion.

Hey, remember when Thomas Jefferson argued against even having a standing army in America? He’s probably turning over in his grave at the sight of USA’s growing military empire — domestic and abroad. How is it any different than that old-time British imperialism?

Surely we can trim some of the Pentagon pork and still maintain our security. Defense spending is not immune from waste, fraud and the law of diminishing returns. In addition to closing many of our overseas military sites, let's eliminate the weaponry that the Pentagon hasn't even asked for and doesn't even want. As retired Congressman Barney Frank quipped, “We have three ways to annihilate the former Soviet Union. Let’s pick two.”

Why is that the same folks who argue that "throwing more money" at education or healthcare doesn't do any good are so quick to throw endless money at the Pentagon? (I’m talking to you Senator John McCain). One could argue that our occupation of and drone strikes on foreign countries are not making us safer in the long run, but rather just breeding the next generation of America-haters. How would you feel if China put bases in the U.S.? If your innocent family member were killed by a Pakistani drone?

We should help the defense contractors and their employees transition to more useful activity like building America’s 21st century infrastructure and power grid. Let's make sure we have jobs for the returning soldiers by investing some of the savings into hiring lots more teachers, firefighters and police officers, offering free pre-K to every child, providing free college education or technical training to anyone who's willing to work hard, and rebuilding our 70,000 failing bridges. As an engineer who works at a Tucson defense contractor put it, “I'd rather be building bridges than bombs.”

Oh, and the next time we decide to wage war, let’s be sure to institute the draft and a dedicated tax to pay for it. Something tells me Americans won’t be so eager to go put a boot in their A**.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for doing this ConnecttheDotsUSA. (13+ / 0-)

    This plot shows clearly the message many of us have tried unsuccessfully to spread. The problem with the budget imbalance is not and has not been excess social spending but George Bush taking the Clinton budget which was in surplus and then intentionally smashing it with an enormous increase in military spending and an enormous cut in taxes.

    With the unwise New Year's Even Biden - Boehner compromise we inexplicably, even to this day, locked in the majority of the Bush tax cuts without getting the extra $1 trillion in revenues that Reid and previously even Obama Obama had agreed was necessary to prevent significant and ongoing cuts to social programs.

    How tragic and unwise.

    The solution is still another $150 billion reduction in military spending.

    BTW this is just the base military budget. If you add off budget items including more than $100 billion still being spent for off-budget wars and $200 to $300 being spent on  intelligence it come to over $850,  

    There is even one group that has made a plausible case that if we counted every off book they way we should, total military spending is over $1 trillion a year.. I'm not certain how credible this is. They include the Fusion Intelligence centers that have been added at outsource domestic intelligence centers in all 50 states or at least most regions whose job it is to integrate intelligence from all 16 separate intelligence functions and is counted as part of the Homeland Security budget bud added after 9/11 purportedly for the War on Terrorism, but is really domestic intelligence. Should that be counted as military spending?

    For our purposes here, I would say so, to the extent we trying to make iron clad rhetorical points with centrists it might be better to leave those possible tangent distractions out of the argument.  

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 07:20:16 PM PDT

    •  However Even Clinton Was Spending at Cold War (8+ / 0-)

      average a decade after our only peer enemy had collapsed.

      Today our baseline spending equals the lunatic Reagan era surge which is inexplicably labeled "Cold War."

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 07:56:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, so if your point is we could take even more (3+ / 0-)

        than $150 to $200 billion out of the current military spending without any significant extra risk to national security I would agree.

        I think $150 billion a year would probably be enough to balance the budget,or run a small surplus, if we raised modes revenues by closing loopholes in corporate taxes and had more progressive estate taxes. ie death taxes. i.e. back to 50% on estates over $5 million or even $10 million.  

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:12:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We ought to have a rule of thumb of 4% of GDP (2+ / 0-)

        maximum for defense spending unless we are in some emergency. Then we should diligently avoid creating national emergencies.

        The one possible exception I might support to the Bill of Rights is to place the top 50 Neocons who signed the PNAC and worked full time to drive our country into war in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are now trying to drive us into war with Iran under house arrest requiring them to wear ankle bracelets and have a large red "N" permanently tattooed on their forehead.

        Exceptions could be made for those that have repented, and recanted their support of the Iraq war and Neocon ideology.

        There are a few.

        Under no circumstances will I support any waivers for Dick Cheney, Donald, Rumsfeld, Frank Gaffney, John Bolton, Richard Pearle, or the worst of the non-indicted co-conspirators.

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:19:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm rather surprised at this proposal... (4+ / 0-)

          ...of 4% GDP from you. Did you know that this is Mitt Romney's view?

          Romney’s national defense plan calls for setting the “core defense spending … at a floor of 4 percent of GDP.” [Travis] Sharp determined that it would cost $7.8 trillion to phase in an increase in the Pentagon’s base budget to a minimum of 4 percent of GDP over the next 10 years, from 2013 to 2022, using the Congressional Budget Office’s projections (page 57) for economic growth. Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal (page 240) says the president would spend $5.7 trillion on the base defense budget during that same 10-year period — a difference of $2.1 trillion.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:06:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe a smaller percentage of GDP? n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

            by JeffW on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:26:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm saying 4% as a max for total defense spending (2+ / 0-)

            not core defense spending. Or even one of the intermediate defense spending that is now around 6%.

            At nearly every opportunity I've had I've called for reductions of "at least $150 to $200 billion" and have received support for this specific call from no on this site if memory serves me correctly.

            I used to call for $200 billion reductions but as it seems increasingly clear that few, if any in the Democratic Party, have any serious interest in taking on the military industrial complex I've been coming down gradually like the Dutch auction MB.

            Does every one here agree that I've been willing to make a proposal of a tangible amount of "defense spending cuts" of at least $150 billion plus or minus $50 in every single serious discussion of the budget deficit that has come up on this site in the last 9.5 years?

            Can anyone here remember stepping up and agreeing?

            I think in near desperation to find one ally willing to put their name behind a hard number I may have one time express willingness to support one of the President's budget compromises if he stuck to his original promise to seek seek $1.7 trillion in additional revenues.

            When Biden finally rushed in and agreed to the Boehner proposal for about $600 billion that Harry Reid appropriately tossed in the fire place in disgust and virtually no one here seemed to understand it I sortt of gave up hope that we were capable of any collective discussions of budgets with hard numbers in them even rounding off to one or two significant digits.

            After writing several attempts to explain that we are going to have serious trouble sustain government spending of over 21% of GDP after Biden and Obama agreed to Boehner's plan to lock in tax revenues at somewhere between 16% and 18% depending on economic growth I pretty much gave up and stopped even trying to post here for over a year.

            Yes we agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts to those earning less than 98% but the crucial part of the total bargain was to use that last bargaining chip for the extra $trillion in revenue enhancement that even President Obama said he understood.

            Or agree to reduce military spending by enough to come close to balancing the deficit.

            After this blunder Boehner told the President you got all the tax increases you are going to get. Potentially until a new census in 2020 when we might have a chance at winning back the House.

            The total military spending is nearly twice core or base military spending shown above as I've mentioned many times before, and can be found in my archives from many years ago.  

            "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

            by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:57:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I certainly do not support Mitt Romney's proposal (3+ / 0-)

            of having 4% for core military spending. When I suggested a maximum cap on the total military budget I mean the way of accounting that includes all the off budget items and the intelligence budgets that make current total defense spending near $1 trillion in my book, or nearly twice what the above plot of base spending shows. Here's one post I did on Rachel Maddow blasting Mitt Romney's plan I agreed with from October 8, 2012.  

            Rachel Maddow Puts Romney's $2 Trillion Proposed Defense Budget Expansion into Historical Context

            Rachel Maddow just called attention to the extreme nature of Mitt Romney's proposal for a $2 trillion expansion to base defense spending with this historical plot published in Foreign Policy in an article entitled Budget crunched: The facts of Romney’s proposed $2 trillion defense increase, by Thomas E. Ricks.  After adding in wars, off-budget expenditures, and expansions to the Homeland Defense and intelligence budgets, total defense spending is more than  twice this. (See update.)


            Mitt Romney fails to articulate any compelling national security risk which would require such expansion. President Obama has noted the Joint Chiefs have not requested any such expansion. So Romney insists we need to slash nearly all social spending including Medicaid, Amtrak, funding for the National Foundation for the Arts, Humanities, and even PBS to pay for this, and tax cuts for the wealthiest.

            We need to find ways to communicate Romney's absurd and unnecessary expansion to voters in as many ways as is possible, and also link this to the bigger picture discussions of balancing the budget. President Obama's plan is vastly more sensible.  

            DOD's 2013 base budget excluding war funds is $525 billion, which equals 3.3 percent of GDP. Under Obama's plan, it will continue to grow modestly in future years. Romney has said that he wants to reverse the Obama-era cuts, return to the 2010 plan crafted by Robert Gates, and set the goal of spending 4 percent of GDP on defense. Those three objectives are different, so he'll have some wiggle room should he become president.

            Let's compare Romney's third objective to Obama's plan. We'll run two scenarios for Romney. Under "Ramp Up," he increases defense spending by 0.1 percent of GDP per year until it reaches 4 percent and keeps it there. Under "Immediate," he increases defense spending to 4 percent of GDP immediately and keeps it there.

            The table compares the Obama and Romney plans. The data are derived from OMB and CBO and denominated in billions. (I first did this calculation at the request of CNN Money in May. The resulting article has received some attention. The New York Times ran a signed editorial on the issue in August).

            7:32 PM PT: Here's another historical plot putting defense spending into better perspective.  This base budget above is but a fraction of total defense spending and the other parts have been dramatically increased in the last decade.  Key message, we have not been reducing defense spending,nor is our national security imperiled by excess defense spending cuts.  

            Center For American Progress

            7:43 PM PT: More evidence suggesting the tremendous opportunities of balancing our budget by modest steady reduction to defense spending rather than slashing social spending such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, NSF, NFA, NFH, and firing BIg Bird!  

            In addition to the below, I just read a few days ago that we have one more aircraft carrier groups than all the other countries of the world combined.  13 or 14 I think.  



            8:05 PM PT: Chris Hellman explains the additional components of the over $1.2 trillion annual total defense budget.


            For 2012, the White House has requested $558 billion for the Pentagon’s annual “base” budget, plus an additional $118 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  At $676 billion, that’s already nothing to sneeze at, but it’s just the barest of beginnings when it comes to what American taxpayers will actually spend on national security.  Think of it as the gigantic tip of a humongous iceberg.

            To get closer to a real figure, it’s necessary to start peeking at other parts of the federal budget where so many other pots of security spending are squirreled away.

            Missing from the Pentagon’s budget request, for example, is an additional $19.3 billion for nuclear-weapons-related activities like making sure our current stockpile of warheads will work as expected and cleaning up the waste created by seven decades of developing and producing them.  That money, however, officially falls in the province of the Department of Energy.  And then, don’t forget an additional $7.8 billion that the Pentagon lumps into a “miscellaneous” category -- a kind of department of chump change -- that is included in neither its base budget nor those war-fighting funds.

            So, even though we’re barely started, we’ve already hit a total official FY 2012 Pentagon budget request of:

            $703.1 billion dollars.

            Not usually included in national security spending are hundreds of billions of dollars that American taxpayers are asked to spend to pay for past wars, and to support our current and future national security strategy.

            For starters, that $117.8 billion war-funding request for the Department of Defense doesn’t include certain actual “war-related fighting” costs.  Take, for instance, the counterterrorism activities of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. For the first time, just as with the Pentagon budget, the FY 2012 request divides what’s called "International Affairs" in two: that is, into an annual "base" budget as well as funding for "Overseas Contingency Operations" related to Iraq and Afghanistan.  (In the Bush years, these used to be called the Global War on Terror.)  The State Department’s contribution? $8.7 billion.  That brings the grand but very partial total so far to:

            $711.8 billion.

            The White House has also requested $71.6 billion for a post-2001 category called “homeland security” -- of which $18.1 billion is funded through the Department of Defense. The remaining $53.5 billion goes through various other federal accounts, including the Department of Homeland Security ($37 billion), the Department of Health and Human Services ($4.6 billion), and the Department of Justice ($4.6 billion). All of it is, however, national security funding which brings our total to:

            $765.3 billion.

            The U.S. intelligence budget was technically classified prior to 2007, although at roughly $40 billion annually, it was considered one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington. Since then, as a result of recommendations by the 9/11 Commission, Congress has required that the government reveal the total amount spent on intelligence work related to the National Intelligence Program (NIP).

            This work done by federal agencies like the CIA and the National Security Agency consists of keeping an eye on and trying to understand what other nations are doing and thinking, as well as a broad range of “covert operations” such as those being conducted in Pakistan. In this area, we won’t have figures until FY 2012 ends. The latest NIP funding figure we do have is $53.1 billion for FY 2010.  There’s little question that the FY 2012 figure will be higher, but let’s be safe and stick with what we know.  (Keep in mind that the government spends plenty more on “intelligence.”  Additional funds for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP), however, are already included in the Pentagon’s 2012 base budget and war-fighting supplemental, though we don’t know what they are. The FY 2010 funding for MIP, again the latest figure available, was $27 billion.)  In any case, add that $53.1 billion and we’re at:

            $818.4 billion.

            Veterans programs are an important part of the national security budget with the projected funding figure for 2012 being $129.3 billion. Of this, $59 billion is for veterans’ hospital and medical care, $70.3 billion for disability pensions and education programs. This category of national security funding has been growing rapidly in recent years because of the soaring medical-care needs of veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars. According to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, by 2020 total funding for health-care services for veterans will have risen another 45%-75%.  In the meantime, for 2012 we’ve reached:

            $947.7 billion.

            If you include the part of the foreign affairs budget not directly related to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other counterterrorism operations, you have an additional $18 billion in direct security spending.  Of this, $6.6 billion is for military aid to foreign countries, while almost $2 billion goes for “international peacekeeping” operations. A further $709 million has been designated for countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism, and clearing landmines planted in regional conflicts around the globe.  This leaves us at:

            $965.7 billion.

            As with all federal retirees, U.S. military retirees and former civilian Department of Defense employees receive pension benefits from the government. The 2012 figure is $48.5 billion for military personnel, $20 billion for those civilian employees, which means we’ve now hit:

            $1,034.2 billion. (Yes, that’s $1.03 trillion!)

            When the federal government lacks sufficient funds to pay all of its obligations, it borrows. Each year, it must pay the interest on this debt which, for FY 2012, is projected at $474.1 billion.  The National Priorities Project calculates that 39% of that, or $185 billion, comes from borrowing related to past Pentagon spending.

            Add it all together and the grand total for the known national security budget of the United States is:

            $1,219.2 billion.  (That’s more than $1.2 trillion.)

            "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

            by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 10:11:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Interest on the debt (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I actually am more alarmed given your numbers that we are paying $471 billion dollars of interest (netting out to about $220 billion a year) in a zero interest rate environment.

              We can cut the Pentagon budget, but if rates move even a percent or 2 (and they have to at some point as the Zero rate is not sustainable in perpetuity) within a decade interest on the debt is going to rival the baseline defense budget if not surpass it.

              Let that sink in for a minute. We almost can't afford a real economic recovery because upward pressure on interest rates will cause the interest cost in the federal budget to explode and start cannibalizing other spending that actually does good for people.

              Japan is dealing with that phenomenon now. That is the problem with living beyond your means for decades. The nut you accumulate ends up being so big that just the cost of carrying it eats up a socially untenable portion of the budget, but it is spending that can't be cut.

              The defense budget is an albatros, but in many ways serves as the shiny object to distract from the bigger picture problem that on our current spending trajectory within a decade SS, Medicare and Interest will likely eat up most if not all of the government tax receipts before dollar 1 is spent on defense or anything else.

              I appreciate you putting numbers to things because too many people don't seem to understand the current budget situation beyond just yelling defense spending bad.

              Interest on the debt is my personal pet peeve and a pox on this country.

              This is as good as rates will ever be and we already have hundreds of billions of dead money on the books that can't be used for things like education, food stamps, extending UI benefits. The money is already spent and the debt incurred, so basically we are left praying the economy stays shitty enough that rates will stay like this for as long as possible before the pain inevitably has to kick in.

              Didn't mean to get in the way of your comments, but I like seeing people fleshing numbers out like this instead of just talking in platitudes.  

              •  I saw Janet Yellen give a televised speech where (0+ / 0-)

                she said in the Q&A that it is short term unemployment rates that are inflationary.  She seemed to think it would be OK to let the long-term unemployment rate get back to normal levels.  

                The speech was given at a banquet.  Unemployed people were probably not invited.  

                Cutting military pork would be a good start.

                Estate taxes on estates over $5 million will help mitigate the raids bankers and wall street insiders made on the middle class .  People over 55 who are put on Medicaid by ACA may have to reimburse the state for 100% of the medical care they get.  This is grabbed out of their estate, but liens can be used to make sure the state gets the money when they die. Rich people could afford to start paying their share.

            •  Thanks HoundDog for the great link and data. (0+ / 0-)

              This graphic illustrates how much military spending there is beyond the base budget in the breakdown of where our federal income tax dollars go:



          •  MB Please note the 8:05 update from Tomdispatch (3+ / 0-)

            which shows incrementally how he takes the core or base defense budget and adds different off book elements or even on book elements such as CIA operation that are in different places on book until he gets up to numbers like $850, to $1 Trillion once he includes the money added to Homeland Security after 9/11 to expand the War of Terror to domestic surveillance with the Fusion Centers.

            It is this total that I was agreeing to a compromise "absolute max" of 4% of GDP. If I discovered even one other person willing to propose and put there name behind any solid proposal less than that I would quickly endorse it.

            President Obama original plan to essentially freeze spending at current level and let inflation adjust it downwards was truly inspiring, but to the best I can tell Democrats in Congress have gone alone with every Republican proposal to not only boost it for inflation but also add pork to it that is not needed.

            The DOD has proposed military base closings that even Democratic Congresspeople indignantly grandstand against, we have several redundant fighter programs experts tell us can be rationalized with no lose of capability, that few if anyone will discuss because "we" do not want to consider closing any production in anyone congressional districts.

            Please don't get me started, MB,  or the new folks may get the impression I have unresolved issues about this, just when my  "Happy HoundDog" new image campaign is going so well.  

            "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

            by HoundDog on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 10:25:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Mitt Romney's view (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
             I'm rather surprised at this proposal....of 4% GDP from you. Did you know that this is Mitt Romney's view?
               Romney’s national defense plan calls for setting the “core defense spending … at a floor of 4 percent of GDP.”  [Travis]
            The difference is that Rmoney wants that 4% GDP to be the floor, i.e., the minimum.

            HoundDog said:

            We ought to have a rule of thumb of 4% of GDP maximum for defense spending unless we are in some emergency. Then we should diligently avoid creating national emergencies.
            (emphasis mine)

            The difference is that Rmoney wants that 4% GDP to be the least we spend; HoundDog wants it to be the very most we spend in peacetime.

            "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

            by thanatokephaloides on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 11:06:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And that least is still a huge increase from... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:


              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 11:17:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  military spending (0+ / 0-)
                And that least is still a huge increase from...current.
                Perhaps I am guilty of error, then.

                I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

                Hereabouts, military spending is one hell of a lot more than 4% of our economy. (More like 85%, in fact.) And it's still true that we spend more on military than any other nation, and essentially as much as all other nations combined.

                So the idea that 4% of GDP is still greater than what we're now spending is a little hard for me to grasp.

                "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

                by thanatokephaloides on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:17:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In terms of the core defense budget... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

        's considerably more, as the analysis I linked upthread shows: $2.1 trillion over 10 years more than spending at the level of the Obama proposed Pentagon budgets for that period. Crank in the other national security-related spending makes it even higher than 4%, to be sure.

                  Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                  by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:34:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Don't see that at all in Graph... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Can't blame Clinton for this clusterf...
        Thing's were going pretty good with President Clinton.

        String theory says t'is an alternate future somewhere without President Obama's predecessor almost destroying our country.

        It's really about 2000-2008.

  •  Two thoughts... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, Shockwave, HoundDog, Operation Plowshare, with the worst possible example of fracking for natural gas, and

    Boeing's attempt to produce rail vehicles in their rotorcraft division.

    Just sayin'...

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 07:26:53 PM PDT

  •  The military/industrial complex is... (8+ / 0-)

    ...champing at the bit for a new war.  Syria, Iran, Russia, China, anything.

    If these $trillions were invested at home and abroad we would rule the world peacefully and end poverty and achieve sustainability.  But this would take imagination.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:02:13 PM PDT

  •  The Pentagon will be happy to cut (7+ / 0-)

    the military budget by cutting pay and "entitlements" (deferred pay). Meanwhile, profligate spending on questionable weapons systems and military contractors will go on unabated.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:25:53 PM PDT

  •  All those past trillions ... (5+ / 0-)

    ... sure didn't do anything to stop a handful of suicide pilots with box cutters.

  •  We have an imperialism problem. And a (4+ / 0-)

    major problem in that we have zero say in the matter.  But it's more than the military now of course.  It's used to be the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC), now it's the MIilitary/National Security/Intelligence/Law Enforcement Industrial Congressional Complex.  It's all melded now actually globally.  That's why the faceless helmets beating protesters in Egypt look the same as they do in Berkeley.  
    Up to a total of $1.4 trillion per year or nearly 70% of discretionary spending, it is exactly what Orwell predicted.  

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:48:47 PM PDT

  •  I think we need to cut defense spending, but (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, HoundDog, thanatokephaloides, cfm

    the more accurate measurement is how much we spend on defense as a percentage of GDP, and by that measurement we are spending far less than we have historically.  In the 1950s and 1960s, 10% or more of GDP was military spending, whereas today it's more like 4-5%.  As a share of total federal spending, military spending was over 60% in the 1950s, but today it's 20%.


    Yes, it's ridiculous that we spend more on defense than almost the rest of the entire western world combined.  But as Krugman noted in the link above, it's a modest part of our budget issues compared to, for instance, health care costs

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 08:50:41 PM PDT

  •  This message needs to be repeated... (5+ / 0-)

    ...often. Here's my most recent version from Thursday, The 'inadequate' defense budget? Compared with when? With whom?.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:01:42 PM PDT

  •  Why are we still keeping troops in Germany? (5+ / 0-)

    Do we fear the Nazi's will regain power? Or that the Soviet Union will come charging across the East German boarder?

    NATO did what it was to do: Defeated the USSR.  Now it is time for the US to stop spending $45+ Billion directly on NATO support and another $14 billion indirectly to subsides Europe's civilian military support.

    Why the "solution" to cutting the military budget is to freeze pay, cut benefits, end the single payer health insurance system, and gut retirement of Soldiers instead of not sending troops into Latvia, Poland, Africa, Chile, and a 112 other nations is beyond me.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 09:22:37 PM PDT

    •  Cold War (TV series) wiki link: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War that aired in 1998. It features interviews and footage of the events that shaped the tense relationships between the Soviet Union and the United States.

      The series was produced by Pat Mitchell and Jeremy Isaacs, who had earlier in 1973 produced the World War II documentary series The World at War in a similar style. Ted Turner funded the series as a joint production between the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, and was first broadcast on CNN in the United States and BBC Two in the United Kingdom.

      Saw Hungary episode this morning on CNNI (international). T'was very good. Have distant memories.
  •  4,000 bases in the U.S. ? (3+ / 0-)

    There are 10,350 7-Eleven stores in the U.S.


    Kinda puts things into perspective.

    I ♥ rock crushers.

    by fly on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 10:28:54 PM PDT

  •  the oddest thing about the military budget is that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martinjedlicka, allie4fairness

    ...when Republicans are constantly harping that we're spending too much money and we can't sustain it, they then propose everything they can except the biggest single federal outlay, the military budget, which makes up about three-quarters of our entire federal budget these days.

    The only thing odder about the fact that these so-called "fiscally conservative" Republicans don't want to touch the largest single part of the budget (and the biggest source of fraud, waste and abuse in our budget), is that...Democrats rarely, if ever, call them out on it.

    If your average everyday American citizen were aware that our military budget makes up three-quarters of our entire budget and is more than all other industrialized countries combined...and that it's the source of massive amounts of fraud, waste and abuse...our spending priorities would probably change overnight.

  •  military is as big an addict as there is. (0+ / 0-)

    Its past time to expose the black hole that has dragged our economy and our country so far off track that we now have pundits and politicians proffering apologies for torture and ecologic nightmares with impunity.
    The GOP has been in effect blaming the poor in this country for the economy and are using that racist conundrum to keep from going after the real elephant in the room. Themselves and the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, the same MIC warned of by Eisenhower, with all the predictions and costs exactly outlined.
    There are so many good election platforms available to us if we can just get connected and united on how to present them and not get distracted by the professional distractors.
    Can we govern ourselves, or will, we the people, let the same oligarchy that the country was formed to avert take full control of our courts, legislatures and media.

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