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Should we look to the Defense Budget to Cut Wasteful Government Spending?

A question for our conservative Tea Party Patriots?  If you want to cut wasteful government spending, at what point do we cut the defense budget?

With the Obama administration’s support for the Automobile industry reviled as creating “Government Motors,” a point lots on so many “thirfty” Tea Partiers was the vast number of businesses in the automotive industries supply chain — many small business — that employ hundreds of thousands of people (drive by the Old Sunset Ford in Westminster to see what I mean).  Now that the automobile industry has stablizied, the Government’s helping hand helped to save tens of thousands of jobs. 

In yesterday’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof suggested the US spends too much on defense and has bases in places in the world where we simply don’t need to be any longer.

From the column:  ”

• The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.

• The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago. Do we fear that if we pull our bases from Germany, Russia might invade?

• The intelligence community is so vast that more people have “top secret” clearance than live in Washington, D.C.

• The U.S. will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined.

Kristoff makes a case that our security depends on not only a strong military but a strong diplomatic effort.  And he says there are other ways we can bolster our security, mainly through improving our educational and economic flanks as well.  California and Orange County both rely heavily on the Defense Industry.  Many companies and workers here are part of the military supply chain.  How many of those employed by or who manage companies in this supply chain spoek out against the government assistance given General Motors?  The only difference is that the Military doesn’t have a P/L statement for shareholders. 

There is no question we must be the world’s mightiest military force.  But do we really need to spend six times the budget that China does?  Or spending significant;y more than the rest of the world combined?  Paying soliders better might encourage greater recruitment and less need for mercenaries from Blackwater (sorry, Xe Corp.) which cost taxpyaers a lot more.  Closing some bases might also make sense.  How about paying for weapons systems that actually work.

They should remind themselves that in the 21st century, our government can protect its citizens in many ways: financing research against disease, providing early childhood programs that reduce crime later, boosting support for community colleges, investing in diplomacy that prevents costly wars.

“As we cut budgets, let’s remember that these steps would, on balance, do far more for the security of Americans than a military base in Germany.”


  1. Toni Gilmont Toni Gilmont December 28, 2010

    The people of this country need to push the “powers that be” to start closing some military bases -our country is in dire need presently, the need to replenish our “job opportunities” in our own country for it has been decimated by more than 10 years of moving jobs overseas — and bringing to the U.S., employees from other countries instead of using U.S. workers. We need to start pushing the Administration to change many things to make jobs begin to “happen” in our country again – (“free trade” which has proven not to be “free at all” -along with taxes that reward corporations for shipping our jobs overseas -all need to be withdrawn — or changed, along with the creation of new manufacturing — it would seem most is done overseas these days -you have to look long and hard to find anything made in the U.S.) so far we have made other countries wealthy while in our own country, we have a tiny percentage of the very wealthy and a huge percentage below “middle class” (poverty is all too prevalent these days, along with homelessness).

  2. Ltpar Ltpar December 28, 2010

    Dan, every single government Agency and Program, including Defense and Social Entitlements should go under the knife of zero based budgeting. Starting from scratch, each Government Agency would have to be justified or eliminated. Then those Agencies specific programs would be cost out one by one and prioritized. Defense, being a big money animal has a lot of fat that could be cut without jeopardizing national security. Foreign Aid, is another cash cow where some real savings could be gained.

    Of course, we both know that such a process is merely a fantasy in our minds, because of a corrupt Congress influenced by Special Interest Groups. Such is life in Washington D.C.

  3. Robert Lauten Robert Lauten December 29, 2010

    In order to cut wasteful military spending we need to cut from the top. Impeach the Commander in Chief, President Barack Hussein Obama, for giving aid and comfort to the enemy, the Taliban, by Obama’s policy of protecting Afghanistan’s opium/heroin drug trade.

    Scroll down, – a picture is worth a thousand words.

    • Ltpar Ltpar December 30, 2010

      Robert, Obama is not one of my favorite people, but it does absolutely no good to beat a dead horse. Right wrong or indifferent, he was elected President by a majority, although a slim one. End result, we were saddled with him for four years. Two of those are up and it is critical to minimize the damage that can be done in the last two. The recent election will slow down the process, assuming of course that the Republicans in Congress stop acting like the big spending Democrats. The things we should be demanding from all elected officials is; stimulate the economy, create jobs, reduce the size and scope of government and reduce the national debt. If those jokers in Washington can’t get their arms around that message, then in 2012, we need to fire them all and send in people who will get the job done.

  4. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski December 29, 2010

    Sorry Robert, but the cult of LaRouche has little to no sway.

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