Should U.S. cut military spending while China/Russia are increasing?
For all the conservative fiscal hawks who are fully prepared to let Sequestration run its course (including military cuts), it's fascinating to watch the pushback from what I would call internationalist conservatives, often at conservative Washington media and think-tanks.
Indeed, from my vantage point, the alarm is NOT coming from conservative Main Street U.S.A., but from around the Beltway.
The critique typically takes this form: An unreformed Vladimir Putin in Russia has called for military expansion, and the Chinese are greatly bolstering their defense budget.
(Although, to put things in proper context, China's defense spending would still represent but a fraction of America's, in both absolute and per capita terms. That said, the per capita calculation may be misleading, given China's vastly bigger population. And despite endemic corruption in the Chinese system, doubtless China gets more bang for the buck - or Yuan - than we do!)
Nonetheless, this article from The WASHINGTON TIMES is typical...
By the way, I've been unable to find a comprehensive answer to this question: What happens to military sequestration if the United States goes to war against Iran?
Addressing the American-Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC) in Washington, Vice President Biden said while the United States is continuing to pursue a diplomatic solution with Iran, President Obama's policy "is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period. Period. End of discussion. Prevent. Not contain -- prevent."
Posted at 7:43am on March 5, 2013 by Allan Loudell
Although you diminish China's military capacity, the startling fact remains, that if they chose to march across the Bering Strait in Winter and down the West Coast, without using nuclear weapons en masse there is absolutely nothing us or Russia could do about that... Even with losses as high as two Chinese for every American, they could eliminate every single man, woman, and child in America, and still have three times our ex-315 million population left over......
If they ever choose to move like lemmings, it is going nuclear or else....
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 8:15am
And without sounding like a broken record, if these cuts are seriously impinging upon America's readiness, all we have to do is raise one penny more per dollar earned over the one-million mark....
The $85 billion is that easy to solve, and was... in the bill that was up the Senate, until the Republican's filibustered, and froze it out....
Let's not kid ourselves. The entire sequestration is simply happening because Republicans won't raise revenue on just the billionaires who control that party's purse-strings....
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 9:16am
The increase in military spending by both China and Russia does not bother me per se. There are times when increased spending is justified to move a country’s defenses to a level of “comfort.” Perhaps the rate of growth has been too low in recent years. But if the levels of offense are being increased to a level above normal needs, I worry.
The sequester can be removed from military spending by declaring a state of emergency. Even our current Congress should be able to figure that out. But that is not the most serious threat to our war-bound nation. The military is now limited by operating under a Continuing Resolution. New contracts are held-up, payments to vendors are even now being delayed. Congress is meeting this crisis by planning a new Continuing Resolution vote Thursday! Until this country’s elected leader develops the courage to submit a viable budget to Congress, one that could actually pass, we are in serious trouble.
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 10:08am
I think you've misrepresented the views of 'conservatives' on the issue of military. Conservatives like Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul have been very clear we need to cut military spending and that our nation is safer if we don't randomly start a war every three years because of boredom.
So, if China and Russia are stupid enough to waste their precious resources on bombs, we can prove that we are smarter in the U.S. by investing our limited resources in free public college. Then we'll truly have the advantage over China and Russia 30 years down the road.
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 12:57pm
This may seem naive and foolish, but how much does it cost each day at Dover AFB to run all those test flights? If each AFB stopped those training flights for one week, how much of a savings would that be?
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:16pm
Maybe they should actually AUDIT the Pentagon and find some sources of government fraud, waste and abuse.
After that AUDIT the FED!
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:16pm
The fuel cost is approximately $ 26,500 per hour of flight of a C 17 Globemaster, if that gives you any idea... The other costs are fixed so whether the planes flew or not, they would not be affected...
And although Buchanan and Ron Paul are correct that during peace time a lot of the nation's money is wasted, should that peacetime ever end, then the upstart to rebuild will take years... Perhaps putting this nation at risk.
Therefore it is cheaper to pay half a trillion each year for ten years and maintain the peace, than it would be to abandon our military, get attacked in 10 years, and lose our total net worth as a country which is around $65
It was the lesson of WWII... We were attacked near the beginning of '42, and it took 11 months at full production before we could begin taking back ground.... And that was during a time where technology was unable to attack us and we were able to rearm ourselves with no interruption.....
So, it can be said that both Buchanan and Ron Paul are old men and their vision on our military threats may be a bit too simplistic.... Just like thier pining for a return to the gold standard....
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:21pm
Rather than reducing the number of TSA agents in our airports (and thus longer lines) why not get rid of them all and PRIVATIZE instead? San Francisico privatized...why don't more cities/states follow suit?
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:25pm
Jim H. Every year the budgets are made by the President and are passed by the Senate and every year the Republicans in the House refuse to do any work. It is no different than having the Baltimore Ravens have half their defensive line being paid off by San Francisco. The day our president can lead, is the day the American people rise up and decree that there will be no Republican voted back into office. We are rapidly moving that direction, so help us God. Republicans are a dying breed. A dinosaur. They deserve to be interned and fossilized and the sooner they are completely eradicated, decimated, and made extinct, the sooner this nation will again be the proud United States of America it was when we were growing up, back when incidentally, there were very few elected Republicans... .
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:28pm
Kavips, if your estimates are correct, then curtailing just one hour of flight time from Dover Airforce Base, could save enough money to give a college student one year of free education. That student may grow up to discover a cure for cancer, or serve as president for the United States. This just illustrates how the vast wealth in this nation if mismanaged and misallocated.
By the way, the fear mongering about China and Russia is just good old fashioned jingoism.
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:31pm
I'm sure you are aware. Audits are done on the Federal Level all the time. Furthermore, severe penalties are in place for those that do not follow the law.
There is very little waste in government itself. The problem and waste are all in the private sector, which is paid on a "cost plus" program, one that was actually put in over a filibuster by the Republican Congress of Bush and Cheney.
It works like this: If you are paying me my cost plus ten percent, and I, as a private sector enterprise, can figure out how to legitimately double my cost, in the end my profit will be twenty percent, not ten....
Again. It is one more problem that was given to us by your Republican Party and one more problem that will be eradicated when the American people finally get tired and kick every Republican out of office....
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:33pm
teatime. That is a great point. Every time we see one of those planes in the air... we should say to ourselves... "well, there's another kid not going to college..." That will drive the point home at what cost we must always be prepared. It is a huge cost.
It is sad, but true.
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:37pm
I am more worried about the new bacteria that is now out, than either China or Russia. I'm wondering how many of my children will survive.
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 3:52pm
Earl... Airport security was privatized before 9/11.
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 9:52pm
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Hugo Chavez is dead!
Now the job in Venezuela for the Obommunist is finally open!
Please, Mr. President, resign, and go take over for Mr. Chavez. You're much better suited for the job there!
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 10:46pm
kavips, You honestly believe there is very little waste in government? I don't care if it's Democrats, Republicans or Whatevers...any large bureaucracy will have huge amounts of waste. The only way to reduce the waste is to reduce the size of government.
"Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."~Ronald Reagan
Tue, Mar 5, 2013 10:54pm
TSA will now allow knives and various other weapons on flights...still feel safe?
TSA is a farce (ridiculous situation in which everything goes wrong or becomes a sham). Real safety is the Israeli model not a bunch of low-level government employees with badges and power.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 7:55am
Earl... when you speak of waste in government, if you include those contractors in the private sector who depend on government contracts, then we can agree. There is waste with what is done with our tax dollars. However if you insist, that our waste is because we have people in Washington (outside of Congress) who are just sitting in a room doing nothing because they were hired as someone's favor with nothing to do, then I would have to say, all fat like that was trimmed out long ago....
You use Ronald Reagan's campaign speech (long before his run for president btw) as a prop... but were you aware that our government today, is smaller per GDP than when he turned over the reins to George H. W. Bush? It is. And since then, we have had Clinton-Gore carve more off....
To say we need smaller government because we used to have smaller government, ... requires we have fewer states because we used to have fewer states, have fewer roads because we used to have fewer roads, have fewer citizens because we use to have fewer citizens, and especially have fewer concerns because we use to have far fewer concerns...
Getting rid of policemen doesn't make us safer. Getting rid of teachers, doesn't make us smarter. Getting rid of taxes, doesn't make us richer... In fact they all work the other way...
So, Earl, the waste is in the private sector, and the fault lies in those misguided Republicans who cut out large pieces of efficient government dedicated to helping its citizens, and replaced it with money sucking businesses interested in only helping themselves at yours and my expense.....
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 7:58am
And last night I was seeing mentions across the internet that the TSA rolled out their $50 million dollar new uniforms the day they were knuckling down on the sequester....
Lol.. in reality these things were orchestrated months in advance and who could have known how the timing would be perceived, but it was ... a bad time to roll that out...
Kavips, have you ever worked in government? I did and let me tell you the reason why government workers have a bad reputation is cause there is a lot of truth in it. I watched for several years people sleeping, 4 hour daily lunches, 'working from home' where there was no policy allowing that and many other examples. Many times in state and local government they are alloted funds for projects or positions and if they see that position isnt needed they keep it filled solely to not lose the funds. That to me is waste.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 1:10pm
Arthur, can you give me a time frame? Your depiction sounds like the Washington of the 80's... and if so, I would give you that.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 1:11pm
"Getting rid of policemen doesn't make us safer. Getting rid of teachers, doesn't make us smarter. Getting rid of taxes, doesn't make us richer... In fact they all work the other way..."
As I predicted, the only government programs to be cut are the ones that the public actually benefits from...police, firefighters, paramedics, teachers, etc.
Maybe instead of getting rid of policemen/women, firefighters or teachers, this administration can get rid of a few redundant government programs; maybe they should stop purchasing 1.6 BILLION hollowpoints, and maybe they should return the 2,700 light-armored tanks DHS has recently ordered (while at the same time laying-off large numbers of Border Agents and releasing thousands of illegals from prisons)
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 2:36pm
Kavips - 2002-present day. Last Friday as a matter of fact.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 2:44pm
EarlGrey - I have been bitching about the same thing for years. Politicians only want to instill panic and fear so the people will believe them when they say they are going to help. It's always police, teachers, and firefighters getting hurt. It's never Congressional aides or cuts at the Department of Interior or the Department of Labor. It's much easier to get what you want when you scare the people. Federal, state, local all could cut from their various redundant and obese layers, but they won't because that would lose them votes.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013 3:04pm
arthur: Here's another portion of the budget we could cut/reduce instead of police, fire, teachers, etc....the Obama family budget for 2012 = 1.4 BILLION
Thu, Mar 7, 2013 1:41am
oops. I missed that one.
Thu, Mar 7, 2013 2:00am
Earl. Thank you for the two items you provided on alternatives where we could be cut.
As you said, it is a shame that the labor of our first-responders and teachers is always the first things that get cut.
But there is a reason. It is the only thing that can be cut. If you have a business, and a competitor undersells you, you can't cut inventory; you've already paid for it. You can't cut power; you need it to stay open. You can't cut contracts, with security, phones, services. They will sue you and cost you more. Nope. As a business, the only thing you can cut is your labor, and so you send them home and wait on customers yourself, since your labor is free....
The hollow points and light tanks were deals probably signed a long time ago. Money has already been advanced to the purveyors in order for them to purchase the materials required, and some deliveries have already been made.
Some may say. Just stop the process, pay them for what they bought, and let them throw it away. At least you'll save some money. Now you are talking about real waste. Let's say all the seats for those tanks were made. Now we have seats for 2700 tanks that will never be used. So we will have paid all that money, and have nothing to show for it...
That is why it is better if the contract has been signed, to allow the contract to go forward. At least Americans will get something of value for those dollars spent......
Then there is the economic cost. Shutting down the tank plant would furlough about 1000 people in one community? How much will the unemployment cost? Are we trading the cost for the tank for the cost of unemployment and training? If so, we didn't cut much money at all, and again, we still have all those half-completed tanks which we are going to probably set on fire and then scrap the parts....
These examples show why the sequester - if nothing changes - won't hit hard until late summer and early fall.....
And why it is always first-responders and teachers, who get dropped first.....
Thu, Mar 7, 2013 2:07am
And Earl... the timing of this was too good to be true... I agree that some parts of that 1.4 billion for Obama is excessive, and partly waste...
lol. Any money spent on Republicans is a total waste.... :)
Thu, Mar 7, 2013 1:55pm
"lol. Any money spent on Republicans is a total waste.... :)"
Republicans like McCain and some other the others...yep, total waste. Of course, when he (the president) picks up the tab we (the taxpayers) pay the bill :(
That's why those representing our country were at Rand's filibuster instead. Even many Democrats were supportive of Dr. Paul.
Thu, Mar 7, 2013 2:56pm
"The hollow points and light tanks were deals probably signed a long time ago. Money has already been advanced to the purveyors in order for them to purchase the materials required, and some deliveries have already been made."
In private industry a project gets shelved if funds run out or if demand is no longer there for buyers (otherwise they would go bankrupt)
Quite a few private citizens wouldn't mind if the 1.6Billion hollowppoints were delivered to the local Walmarts or Cabelas instead of to DHS. The local store's shelves are bare.
Thu, Mar 7, 2013 8:04pm
Kavips: Thanks for the Venezuela restaurant guide. It does look rather interesting. However, due to the fact I work in a pizza joint, I don't usually order pizza when I go out to eat because I'm so overexposed to it. But I do like a good steak and baked potato, and I'm sure there's plenty of that in Venezuela too.
I did find some great simple places to eat during my trips to Belarus. Just plain home cooking for pennies on the dollar.
I don't know that I'll ever go to Venezuela, but I have dreamed of Rio. I've also thought I'd like to take a mission trip to Cuba when the doors open.
Fri, Mar 8, 2013 1:24am
What foods do you miss from Belarus? With such a short growing season, I'd guess one's favorites would include lots of vegetables?
Sat, Mar 9, 2013 11:27pm
Belarus has the finest potatoes ever known to man.
Add your comment: Attention: In an attempt to promote a level of civility and personal
responsibility in blog discussions, we now require you to be a member of
the WDEL Members Only Group in order to post a comment. Your Members
Only Group username and password are required to process your post.
You can join the WDEL Members Only Group for free by clicking here.
If you are already a member but have forgotten your username or password, please
Please register your post with your WDEL Members Only Group username and password below.