Posts tagged ‘Military budget’

November 30, 2010

Windowsill Reads

by Vince
  • Some say that America is summed up in this one picture. I disagree. If you consider Georgia, Kansas, and a handful of other states below the Mason Dixon line America, then ok?
  • A list of the top 50 Bob Dylan covers.
  • Another article on America’s military budget continuing to burgeon (119% since 2001, thanks George W. and Barack).
  • Choose America or your spouse.
  • Below is a neat map. It is re-arranged so to match the nation with its number of inhabitants to its suitable sized country. Follow up reax here and here. Look for the nations that stayed in the same spot. 
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November 25, 2010

Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and Pretending to be Fiscally Conservative

by Vince

The old acronym for Republicans in name only is RINO. If there was such an acronym for Republicans who claimed to be staunch fiscal conservatives and indeed were not, the Tea Party and Sarah Palin would take the crown. They stand on excluding any reform from the biggies in our budget and want to pop polemic shots at politicians as they repeat verbatim what the talking points teleprompter tells them. Perfect example:

Palin’s drive to lead the charge against defense cuts on the right was on display in a June 27 speech at “Freedom Fest,” a conservative gathering in Norfolk, VA, where she sent a clear message to Republicans that deficit reduction can’t come at the expense of the military.

“Something has to be done urgently to stop the out of control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine, and no government agency should be immune from budget scrutiny,” she said. “We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military. If we lose wars, if we lose the ability to deter adversaries, if we lose the ability to provide security for ourselves and for our allies, we risk losing all that makes America great! That is a price we cannot afford to pay.”

Palin refuses to have her Americanized Christianity take a back seat. She and Marco Rubio wrap themselves in the American flag, worship it nearly, and refuse to have our country say sorry for anything. America seems to be the present day ancient Israel; blessed by God (a nationalist God at that!) that has a perfect, beautiful, and divine mission to kill the pagans (terrorists and the fake religions such as Islam) and stand as the only country that is good and free (meaning all other countries are second rate). What a load of theocratic bullshit.

One final and striking Palinism in reference to our armed forces:

Palin also directly took on Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican, challenging his drive to reign in procurement spending and reevaluate the need for certain huge weapons systems and platforms.

“Secretary Gates recently spoke about the future of the U.S. Navy. He said we have to ‘ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines, and $11 billion carriers.’ He went on to ask, ‘Do we really need … more strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?’” Palin said. “Well, my answer is pretty simple: Yes, we can and, yes, we do, because we must.”

Doug Mataconis goes in for the kill:

If we are going rein in Federal spending and make a serious move toward cutting the budget deficit, then there is no area that can be completely off the table, including a $ 700 billion defense budget. To say otherwise while claiming the mantle of fiscal conservatism is to be a completely hypocrite and, if Palin is serious about her comment that defense spending is untouchable, and similarly serious about her previous comments that tax increases are out of the question, then she is demonstrate an astounding amount of economic illiteracy.

You can’t pay for something with nothing, Mrs. Palin, and you can’t call yourself a fiscal conservative if you’re not really serious about spending cuts. And your comments demonstrate a distinct lack of seriousness.

November 7, 2010

Defense Spending Cuts

by Vince

“Republicans also should resist pressure to take all defense spending cuts off the table. Newly elected Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky had the courage to say he’d go after defense waste during his campaign, and I look forward to working with him. We should start by taking common sense steps like freezing defense spending until the Pentagon can pass an audit and remove all nondefense spending from the Pentagon’s budget.

Our nation’s military leaders understand the need to cut spending. As Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.” History shows that every nation eventually adopts the foreign policy it can afford. Taking defense spending off the table is indefensible. We need to protect our nation, not the Pentagon’s sacred cows,” – Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

Please let there be more rational Republican leaders out there!

October 13, 2010

Death, Taxes, and Money!

by Vince

55+ congressional co-signers wrote a letter to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform advocating defense cuts. Read their full letter here. Here are some excerpts:

We also think that significant savings can be found if we subject to similar scrutiny strategic choices that have led to the retention and continued development of Cold War-era weapons systems and initiatives such as missile defense.While the Soviet Union and its allies nearly matched the West’s level of military expenditure during the Cold War, no other nation today remotely approaches the 44% share of worldwide military spending assumed by the United States. China, for instance, spends barely one-fifth as much on military power as the United States. Instead of protecting us against a clear and determined foe and enemy, Defense Department planning and strategic objectives now focus on stemming the emergence of new threats by maintaining a vast range of global commitments on all continents and oceans. We believe that such commitments need to be scaled back.

A really neat chart can be found here to buy. It explains it all!

October 6, 2010

The Warfare State

by Vince

WW at The Economist responds to the “bomber boy” mentality:

The folks of the tea-party movement are clearly upset at what they see as out-of-control spending, and frequently express a desire to slash the size of government. A quick glance at the federal budget is enough to see that military spending is far and away the largest expense after Medicare and Social Security. That fact combined with the observation that America’s titanic military budget is larger than the military budgets of China, Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Japan, Saudia Arabia, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, and Australia combined is more than enough to suggest to common sense that there’s room here to cut a bit of fat.

The meat within each article centers on the thought of America’s military defending freedom abroad (free trade routes, being prepared for nuclear Iran or the army of China if they put up a fight, etc). While WW entertains hypothetical numbers relating to the military budget and how much we could drop it and still have others capable of keeping order, it is questionable whether the WSJ op-ed supports maintaining the status quo out of a “world wide cop” mentality. In the end, I do not believe that either side makes an overwhelming case for point. One last question for the small government loving Tea Party:

Will it follow the example of the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Weekly Standard and fight, fight, fight for big government, just as long as it’s big government bristling with the tools of conquest and mass death?