Time To Cut Defense Budget

The Pentagon is bloated and needs to be knocked down a notch.

Really?

Yes the defense budget is $740 billion only the Social Security has a larger budget……

We have endless wars and endless military waste…it is beyond time for the Pentagon get a haircut.

The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout provide ample reason to reconsider what truly constitutes national security.

Such a reassessment is long overdue. Despite the trillions of dollars Congress and successive administrations have lavished on the Pentagon since the turn of the century, the massive U.S. arsenal and fighting force deployed worldwide are powerless against grave, nonmilitary threats to national security—from a raging pandemic to the fact that tens of millions of Americans breathe foul air, drink tainted water, and struggle to pay for food, housing and health care.

When it comes to U.S. spending priorities, the numbers seem especially misguided in an era of tight budgets to come. By the Department of Defense’s own accounting, taxpayers spent $13.34 trillion on the U.S. military from 2000 through fiscal year 2019 in inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars. Add to that another $3.18 trillion for the Veterans Administration, and the yearly average comes to a whopping $826 billion.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-time-to-rein-in-inflated-military-budgets/

Of course the Pentagon will issue reports that point to the need for more and more cash….the cycle never stops and their budget gets more and more bloated….

Many of the steps that can be taken to reduce the Pentagon budget now are contained in a new letter to key members of Congress from a coalition of over two dozen groups from across the political spectrum (my organization, the Center for International Policy, is a signatory of the letter). The letter outlines roughly $80 billion in proposed savings in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, including cancelling additional purchases of the F-35 combat aircraft ($11.4 billion in savings); eliminating the Space Force ($500 million to $2.5 billion in savings); reducing service contracting by 15% ($28.5 billion in savings); canceling the Pentagon’s new ICBM program, formally known as the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, or GBSD ($400 million to $2.4 billion in savings); and eliminating the Pentagon’s slush fund, the Overseas Contingency Operations account ($20 billion in savings).

https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhartung/2021/03/24/theres-plenty-of-room-to-reduce-the-pentagon-budget/

This waste needs to be curtailed…..and it can be but it will take guts to stand in opposition to the Pentagon…..

Reducing the Pentagon budget – once a non-starter in official Washington – has a growing constituency in Congress and with the broader public, and for good reason. The greatest challenges we face as a nation – pandemics, climate change, racial and economic injustice, white supremacy, and the rise of global authoritarianism – are not military in nature and overspending on the Pentagon won’t help resolve them. It’s time to rethink what constitutes security rather than relying on the same old arguments for sustaining the status quo of a militarized foreign policy and a bloated Pentagon budget.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhartung/2021/02/16/three-reasons-to-reduce-pentagon-spending—now/

This country needs a lot of work and we need to stop our continuing adventurism internationally……time to shutdown out of control military spending.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Screw Service People!

Closing Thought–21Aug20

The Congress and Trump have just approved the new massive Defense Budget…..with the help of Democrats I might add…..and now with all the cash for new weapons and such the attack will be on the miltary health care…..

Shortly after both chambers of Congress approved a $740 billion Defense Department budget for fiscal year 2021, Pentagon officials are reportedly pushing for more than $2 billion in cuts to military healthcare over the next five years, potentially threatening the coverage of millions of personnel and their families amid a global pandemic.

Politico reported Sunday that the proposed $2.2 billion cut to the military healthcare system is part of a “sweeping effort” by Defense Secretary Mark Esper to “eliminate inefficiencies within the Pentagon’s coffers.”

“Ever notice that it’s never a cut to things used to send kids to war?” asked Josh Moon of the Alabama Political Reporter. “It’s always—always—a cut to the promises we make to get them to volunteer for us. What a disgrace.”

According to Politico, “Esper and his deputies have argued that America’s private health system can pick up the slack” for any servicemembers who lose coverage.

“Roughly 9.5 million active-duty personnel, military retirees, and their dependents rely on the military health system, which is the military’s sprawling government-run healthcare framework that operates hundreds of facilities around the world,” Politico noted. “The military health system also provides care through TRICARE, which enables military personnel and their families to obtain civilian healthcare outside of military networks.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/17/what-disgrace-pentagon-weighing-22-billion-cuts-military-healthcare-just-after

This is one of the “entitlements” that is promised to the serving military and their families

Recently I read about the poor condition of military hospitals…..

Incredible waste is, of course, natural to Washington, particularly in the trillion dollar national security budget—which includes nuclear bombs, intelligence, and veterans’ costs. Three years ago, when I suggested “16 Ways to Cut Defense Spending,” one of the cost savings I wrote about was duplicative hospital costs, this from a system of separate Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services. They should be combined into a single system, but imagine the screaming about lost jobs.

The system was designed after World War I, when wounded could not be easily transported from one part of America to another and long before helicopters and super highways. It is part of the Tricare network, which takes nearly $50 billion yearly out of the Pentagon budget. It includes 55 hospitals and 373 clinics and gives free treatment to military retirees and their families for the rest of their lives. Then there is also the Veterans Administration hospital network with 152 medical centers and almost 800 outpatient clinics.

Why Military Hospitals Are Unhealthy and Inefficient

This is unacceptable…we ask so much from our troops and their families then we should hold good our promises to them…whatever that may be.

This is shameful on so many levels and no American seems willing to speak up…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Gimme Your Money!

Closing Thought–23Oct18

Our Dear Supreme Leader’s infamous tax cuts have exploded the deficit…..

Thanks in large part to Republican tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations, the latest tallies are jaw-dropping.

The U.S. budget deficit is reaching levels that are abnormally high for a robust economy, and lawmakers from both parties are proposing ideas that would make the deficit swell even further.

The government spent $895 billion more than it brought in from taxes and other revenue sources during the past 11 months, the Congressional Budget Office said this week, a 33 percent increase from one year before.

Even the Supreme Leader was shocked and he has a plan to lessen the deficit……

President Trump instructed his cabinet secretaries Wednesday to reduce their departmental spending by 5 percent or more next year.

“Some of you will say, ‘Hey, I can do much more than five,’” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting.

……after the U.S. Treasury reported that the budget deficit hit a 6-year high of $779 billion in fiscal year 2018. The 17 percent year-over-year increase in the deficit was driven in large part by the tax cuts pushed through Congress by Republicans late last year, along with a $300 billion increase in spending for this year and next.

The Trump administration has been hinting recently that it would seek to cut spending for fiscal 2020, with Kevin Hassett, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, saying last week that “deficit is absolutely higher than anyone would like” and that “you’ll see a much more aggressive stance” soon as far as the budget is concerned.

(yahoo news)

Will that include the Pentagon?  If so we can kiss that new Space Force good-bye for now.

I have a feeling that the Pentagon will be exempt.

Now watch the game that the GOP will start about Social Security, Medicare, etc……it is always the fault of so-called “entitlements” that explode the deficit…not the mindless policies of the GOP (that is sarcasm)…..

The Day Diplomacy Died

There is no secret that I am a liberal….and no I am not talking about some political BS (so you mental midgets on the Right can hold your twisted tongues) in this case I am referring to a theory of international relations which states…..

Liberalism emphasizes that the broad ties among states have both made it difficult to define national interest and decreased the usefulness of military power. Liberalism developed in the 1970s as some scholars began arguing that realism was outdated. Increasing globalization, the rapid rise in communications technology, and the increase in international trade meant that states could no longer rely on simple power politics to decide matters. Liberal approaches to international relations are also called theories of complex interdependence. Liberalism claims the following:

  • The world is a harsh and dangerous place, but the consequences of using military power often outweigh the benefits. International cooperation is therefore in the interest of every state.
  • Military power is not the only form of power. Economic and social power matter a great deal too. Exercising economic power has proven more effective than exercising military power.
  • Different states often have different primary interests.
  • International rules and organizations can help foster cooperation, trust, and prosperity.

That also means that I believe that diplomacy is the best way to deal with conflicts than the use of military might be only the last resort.

The title says “the day diplomacy died” and I use it with good reason…..

The Trump administration is proposing a 37 percent spending cut for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), according to multiple reports.

U.S. officials say the suggested decrease would likely require laying off employees, including security contractors at diplomatic facilities overseas, The Associated Press said Tuesday.

The AP said development assistance would likely take the biggest hit, citing officials familiar with the proposal.

(thehill.com)

This move will seriously injure the State Department and its efforts internationally.

In essence this could kill any and all diplomatic missions around the globe…..the State Department will not be needed….so turn over all international situations over to the Defense Department…..and we can settle all disputes with our military might.

Without the influence of the US in diplomatic situations the hegemony will go to those that use diplomacy over military……our so-called “exceptionalism” will be greatly diminished.

And not to mention the harm this could do to our national security…….

Source: President Trump’s Proposed Budget Is Bad for U.S. National Security – Center for American Progress

This is all a purposed policy change……we can only hope that sanity will return to the process…..but I have my doubts.

When Is Too Many Too Many?

With every incoming president there is the endless promises of budget cuts and easing of the deficit…..and almost always one of the first issues is the closing of military bases….of course the Congress people will protect the ones in their district because it is worth billions to keep them open.

Sadly there needs to be some reality injected into that debate…..and an opinion piece has been written and a realistic look at this issue……

Members of Congress have a hard time agreeing on virtually anything, and they’re already butting heads with the new president. But one issue should unite them: a new initiative to shrink the Pentagon’s massive overhead.

President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have pledged to cut waste. And key leaders in Congress have renewed their calls for rationalizing the Pentagon’s base structure. Now is the time for Congress to come together, put the national interest over parochial interests and finally support a new round of base closings.

Source: America Has Too Many Military Bases | The National Interest Blog

Anyone that comes here knows my feelings on this…..but in case you are new reader…I do not see why some of these bases cannot be closed….even some of the ones overseas….we have our troops stretched to the limit as it is…..plus the Pentagon budget never takes a hit….most times it is increased at the expense of other need programs….time for some realism in our approach to this situation….

Downsizing?

I have always disliked that term……

Let’s go back to pre-Cold War….in those days military service was not the “hero” worship it is today……the peacetime military was small, skeletal force whose nain function was to train the civilian population to be used militarily if the need were to arise.

We are getting more and more involved in the situations around the globe…..and we have only a limited amount of troops to carry out the policies of our admins…..and it appears that those troops will lessened even further……we appear to be trying to return to the days of the skeletal force……

In 1940, the head count for active-duty soldiers in the US Army was 269,023, a low that hasn’t been reached since, the Army Times reports. But due to budget cutbacks, a drawdown plan announced last summer to whittle manpower by 40,000 troops has left the Army with its lowest post-World War II count yet: 479,172 soldiers, which is 154 fewer than those on active duty during the previous post-WWII low hit in 1999.

“These are not cuts the Army wants to make, these are cuts required by [the] budget environment in which we operate,” the Army’s vice chief of staff said in July when the plan was first announced, Fox News reports. Per the Defense Manpower Data Center, there are also just over 548,000 soldiers in reserve, bringing the total number of Army troops to 1,027,196. The ultimate goal: to hit a total force number of 980,000 by the end of September 2018.

Back in the day we had the draft to make up the difference in case of dire need…..but the Congress may finally eliminate that fall back position…..

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) looks set to decide the question of whether women aged 18-26 will have to register for the military draft in the United States, with a vote likely next week on Rep. Pete Sessions’ (R – TX) legislation attempting to block language that would require women to register.

The debate has happened off and on for decades and came up again with calls from the Army and Marine chiefs of staff calling for women to be brought into the Selective Service system in the name of “equality.” The Selective Service Act requires all men 18-26 to register, though none have been conscripted since 1973.

This led to some bipartisan efforts to satisfy the desire for equality in the more straightforward way, ending the Selective Service outright, though ultimately this didn’t happen and the committee put language into the NDAA forcing women to register. Sessions’ bill would remove that language.

Questions about who is or isn’t eligible for conscription have long been treated as purely academic, and officials have downplayed the money wasted on the unused Selective Service system. Secretary of State John Kerry, however, recently spoke out in support of bringing back the draft, saying he has “deep reservations” about America’s all-volunteer military.

Let’s say we drop the draft….what then when the country needs recruits fast?  Or will we start limiting our international entanglements?  (Raucous laughter…like that will EVER happen)

Have Vets Been Screwed Enough?

Apparently the answer is a resounding NO!  I mean it is bad enough to take young men and send them off to war….and even worse sin is to bring the wounded home and then have to deal with a country that cares little for their care…..to the point that charities have to pop up to get the severely wounded the help they need…..the country is way too busy to think seriously about the vets….sorry…they are important enough to be trotted out during campaigns as some sort of prop and then lied to their faces….I hope this country is PROUD of the way it treats veterans.

Like I said they have NOT been screwed enough……Politico is reporting……

Congress and the Pentagon agree that it’s time to tighten the defense belt, including tackling spiraling personnel costs. The question is how and when to do it.

The recent small cuts in pension cost-of-living increases for working-age military retirees have laid bare the divisions on how to appropriately rein in the military’s personnel costs.

Pentagon officials, however, emphasized that reforming the military’s compensation system is unavoidable.

“Secretary [Chuck] Hagel, the Joint Chiefs and the service secretaries agree that we cannot afford to sustain the rate of growth in military compensation that we’ve experienced over the last decade,” said acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox.

And Vice Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Sandy Winnefeld told the committee the Pentagon “can and probably should gradually place compensation on a more sustainable trajectory.”

Under the recent two-year budget agreement, military retirees under the age of 62 would see their pensions increase at a slower pace, with their cost-of-living adjustments pegged to the rate of inflation minus 1 percentage point. Once they turned 62, they would go back to receiving adjustments pegged to the full rate of inflation.

The pension cuts, set to take effect Dec. 1, 2015, initially extended to all working-age military retirees. But the $1.1 trillion spending bill that cleared Congress earlier this month gave a pass to disabled veterans and surviving families, a move the Pentagon supports.

Pentagon officials, to her knowledge, were not consulted on the details of the budget agreement brokered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Fox said. But the department “fully supported” the provision in the omnibus spending bill that restored the cuts for disabled veterans.

Another slap to the face of vets……if the Congress wants to cut anything let these self-righteous morons start with their pay and their benefits….at least the vets did what was asked of them….the Congress is ordered by money not the people…..

The treatment of vets is shameful and as a vet …..DISGUSTING!

What The Hell Is ‘Chained CPI’?

Two days left before the sequestration kicks in…two days left of endless accusations….two days left of the tragedy that is our Congress……..the drama continues and with every drama we have had our buzz words….remember ‘death panels’?  Or maybe fiscal cliff?  And the ever popular…..’Obamacare”………and now we have a new one….’chained CPI’………but what the Hell are these people talking about?

The National Journal has a good explanation……..

“Chained CPI,” writes Quinton, “is an idea that almost everyone supports in theory but hardly anyone is willing to risk in practice.”

Chained CPI is a measure of inflation created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that has been touted as a more accurate way to factor rises in the cost-of-living into, among other things, social security benefits and the tax code. Chained CPI doesn’t rise as quickly as the measure of inflation that the government uses now, so if the government switched to chained CPI to calculate social security benefits, benefits would increase more slowly over time. Similarly, if chained CPI was applied to the tax code, tax brackets would change at a slower rate, moving tax-payers into higher brackets faster.

Chained CPI rises slower than the measure of inflation that the government currently uses by making different assumptions about how people spend money. Chained CPI hinges on the idea that when the price of one good rises, people are more likely to buy a similar, cheaper good. Or, as a former staffer for President Obama’s fiscal commission told NPR, when the price of apples goes up, maybe you’ll buy oranges or bananas instead. The current measure of inflation assumes that you’ll just keep on buying apples, raising your cost-of-living faster.

What chained CPI does here is “chain” together groups of goods. This change could save $200-300 billion over the next decade by slowing the growth in cost-of-living adjustments, trimming social security benefits and increasing taxes.

So, why the controversy? Many Democrats have scoffed at the social security benefit hit that comes with chained CPI — especially to older seniors who rely most on the social security income. Also, it isn’t always as simple as chaining apples and oranges, especially when broader necessities like medical care and heating come into play. There are also of course ways of making chained CPI less severe to the social security benefits of needy seniors. Sophie Quinton points out that the Simpson-Bowles plan, among others, features such protections.

There you have it….now when the mouths start rattling on and on……..you will hgave an idea on what the Hell the blowhards are talking about…..and with luck uyour ears will not bleed.