Archives For military budgets

Class Warfare….

May 18, 2012

The leaders in the Republican party are constantly complaining that the Democrats are trying to start a class war with all their comments about how the rich are getting a free ride in the U.S.  But what they don’t say is that they are doing what they accuse their opponents of but in a different area.  They are constantly trying to incite voters against the older generations saying that we have gobbled up all the resources and left the debt to others.

I hear comments on this blog and in almost daily news articles that seniors are gobbling up the healthcare dollars on themselves and there is very little left for others. That is simply pitting one group of citizens against another. In reality the U.S., if we follow the examples of the rest of the developed world, should be easily able to provide quality healthcare for all its citizens. There is no need to say if one group has healthcare then another can’t have it.  Beside being untrue it is very obnoxious.

But this is not the only place where my conservative friends seem to lack compassion. Their current budget that just passed the house reneges on the promise of 10% pentagon cuts because of the super committee’s failure to come to any agreements. Instead their budget shows no decease in military spending. They want to get the deficit under control by cutting spending on things like feeding poor kids a free breakfast so they can have at least one nourishing meal a day.  They want to cut spending on HeadStart which provides pre-school opportunities to kids of single parents below the poverty scale.  They want to cut food stamps to the poorest of the poor.

I simply cannot understand the process my conservative friends go through to justify these cuts in place of keeping their promise to reduce our extremely bloated military budgets. It is beyond my beliefs. If anything their budgets should justifiably incite a class warfare in this country. It seems the compassion for anything besides the super-rich and the military contractors is quickly disappearing from the Republican party and that is very depressing to me. I dream of the day when the voters will finally say “enough is enough” but I just don’t see that day coming anytime soon….

source: Try, try again: Senate ‘Gang of Six’ hatching plan on US debt reduction – CSMonitor.com.

Warner and his colleagues in the Gang of Six are putting the debt-reducing plan produced by the Simpson-Bowles commission into legislative language (some 800 pages and counting, by Warner’s estimate). That legislation should be in final form within the next six to eight weeks, Warner said. The bipartisan commission, chartered by President Obama, offered a widely commended path to financial balance but has yet to be actually put down in legislative form.

In addition, Warner plans to spend some of his congressional recesses taking trips around the country, alongside Republican colleagues, to talk up the case for a big debt-reduction plan.

It seems that the Senate of old, meaning when compromise actually happened and addressed the needs of the people, has been reduced from one hundred down to six. That seems to be all that is left after the  partisan bombs have cleared the landscapes.

One of the reasons that this compromise might actually be accomplished is the deadly fear of some that the pentagon budget might actually be cut ten percent if they don’t. The Pentagon has already blatantly stated that they won’t even consider such a reduction in their budgets. If the senate takes the Pentagon at their word then some type of compromise is going to have to happen. It seems almost impossible for these guys to sa “no” to the generals for any reason.

Wouldn’t it be nice to finally get back to something constructive in our political processes. But in reality I personally will be cheering for the 10% war budget cuts. I would like to see that as the beginning of many reductions in this area. If we keep at it maybe we can come to some parity with the rest of the world on military matters before the end of this century. Then we can finally start using our money for helping the citizens of this country.

But what do I know….

Here is a rather straight forward graph showing military spending by country. Are you like me and see a very basic problem here? If we look at is per citizen it is even more skewed.

No wonder our budgets are in so much trouble. No wonder the world always comes to us to solve their problems. We are taking on massive debt to be the policemen of the world. When will it end????

Success: Senate Supports Quicker Afghanistan Withdrawal

Good news! For the first time, the Senate has approved legislation calling for an end to the U.S. war in Afghanistan and your support was a big factor in this success. Last week, the Senate added the amendment, offered by Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) and Republican Senator Mike Lee (UT), to the military authorization bill.

The near-unanimous approval of this amendment shows the significant and growing dissatisfaction with the war in Congress and the power of your action.

I got this from an email from the FCNL a few days ago. It seems like the cost of our endless wars in terms of our time, money, and especially our young people’s lives is starting to sink in with some members of Congress. I pray that the power mongers in Congress do not stifle this new-found awareness among its members.

That is a question being address by a group of young people who descended on Capital Hill challenging lawmakers to address the bloated defense spending that imperils their schools, communities, and futures.

American Friends Service Committee (A Quaker organization) is proud to be associated with this group of young people.  See the article about these young people at http://afsc.org/story/1-trillion-contest-winners-visit-capitol-hill

The basic question being asked is what could we have done with the money we spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?  As a result of all this spending many in the U.S. congress today are stripping aid to towns and cities and also agencies that give at least a small safety net to those who have fallen on desperate times.

The following are words in a petition currently being sent to our Washington representative. If you are interested in supporting this petition click this link: http://afsc.org

3-11-2011 6-20-35 PM

One thing we must all realize is that it is not patriotic to allow our citizens to starve or lose their homes. It is not patriotic to allow military budgets to divert urgently-needed funds from our communities. We should be asking our congressional representatives to do their duty to cut military spending instead of the social safety net.

We spend forty time more per citizen on our military complex than any other country on this earth. It is unbelievable that we would continue to support this bloated condition by stripping the safety net from the least of our citizens and putting the debt associated with this condition on our children and grandchildren.

Someone has to stand up to this totally absurd condition…

But what do I know.

There is an article in the Christian Science Monitor (see the link at the bottom of the post)  about how the Republicans want to cut spending on the federal budget. When Mr. Bush was in office and borrowing hundreds of billions of off budget dollars to fund his wars there was not a squeak from any of them. They suddenly got religion after the fact I guess. I wonder if it has anything to do with a Democrat now holding the White House???   Anyway, here is an excerpt from the article.

One of the plans is the measure passed by House Republicans, which cuts nearly $62 billion from fiscal 2010 levels. It’s also $100 billion less than President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal. The GOP measure makes cuts in virtually all elements of nondefense, discretionary spending.

I applaud budgetary constraints, but how they get there is very troubling! The Republicans are proposing taking it all out of “nondefense”. There is something terribly wrong with this.  The military budget currently makes up 60% of the discretionary spending and is not taking any of the hit in budget tightening? Military spending has doubled in less than eight years where the rest of discretionary spending has only gone up a fraction of that.  But their view is that all of the savings must come from the other 40%.  In other words we should eliminate policemen on our streets so that we can maintain “peacekeeping” forces in Iraq, Japan, England, South Korea, Germany and dozens of other places.  As if none of those countries can afford to do that themselves?  Instead, we should lose 200,000 jobs in the U.S. so that we can keep the Afghan tribal leaders appeased.  I might agree with the $62 billion if it were to be apportioned consistently; that is taking $38 billion of it out of our war machine and then the remainder from maintaining stability and safety in our own country.  Taking the military spending off the table is insane to me. But who said the current crop of Republicans are sane!

But what do I know…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20110305/ts_csm/367633

We spend 40 time more per citizen on our military than any other nation and hundreds of times more than most other nations.  How can we say we are devoted to peace with this gross disparity?? Something just doesn’t seem right here? Where are all the peacemakers?

Title quote from American Friends Service Committee

www.afsc.org


Dear Mr. President

On the chance that you got time to see my last post I wanted to come through on my promise to give you a sure fired solution for our deficit problems. This one seems like a no-brainer so it is surprising that no one has come up with it yet. Before I give you the solution we need to look over some graphs and tables.  After all both government and private corporations thrive on graphs and tables.

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These graphs show military spending by country. Something seems to be very strange here? It seems that the U.S. spends more on it’s military than the next twenty countries combined! Why is this? I have my own theories and here they are.

If we look at the world as one big playground then our military budgets are kind of like the sticks we carry around on the playground in order to get our way. Let’s reference this to China which is the number two military spender. Their stick is the size of a baseball bat. Going down the list South Korea’s is the size of a very small branch. It can only be used for poking. That might be annoying but not harmful. Ok, now lets get to the U.S. Our stick is the size of a redwood tree. Anyone who has seen a redwood tree knows that they are huge! Well so is our military budget and it is about easy to maneuver as a redwood! Lets look at it another way. China spends about $90/person/year and the U.S. spends about $1800/person/year! That stick is now the size of a whole forest! Why??

How can South Korea who has a population of about 50 million people have a military budget that is only 5% of ours. One of the reasons is because the U.S. has so many soldiers still there almost sixty years after the Korean war.  So why should South Korea spend their valuable money on the military when the U.S. will do it for them.  I wonder if this has anything to do with why their economy is growing while ours has been stagnant for almost a decade now? We have so many soldiers and weapons strewn throughout the world that is seems impossible to even keep track of them.  Germany is another example; we still have thousands of soldiers there to do what the Germans could easily do for themselves. Why? Like South Korea, Germany’s economy is prospering while our is stagnant. And then there is China; I don’t think I have to give you any examples here!  Surely I’m not the only one who sees this relationship between military spending and deficits?

Mr. President, you are a pretty smart fellow so I think you get the idea. When you were campaigning in 2008 you said you would do something about this but it seems you are going the way of your predecessor and also making us the world’s policemen. How can we expect to reduce our deficits when we spend so many times more than anyone else for our war machine? How can we, like the rest of the industrial world, manage to provide healthcare for all our citizens when we spend so much for bombs and other weapons of mass destruction?

I am not suggesting that we drop down to parody with our the rest of the world, I know the Republicans who now control the House would never go for that,  but how about we only spend four time more per person more than anyone else? That would still leave us with a darn big stick and one that is manageable too. That would save us around $300 billion per year? I’m not up on the latest numbers but I think that would put a pretty big dent on our deficits.

I am just a simple guy with a calculator but this seems like a no brainer to me. I like the old saying that “If all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail”. Well with our super colossal war machine everything seems to look like a military conflict ready for us to go into. Maybe if we brought our peace efforts even to within a minute fraction of our war efforts we could start seeing things in a different light.  Maybe everything would no longer look like nails? When you were campaigning in 2008 I thought I heard you promise to do that. What happened?   Please get that zeal back. Put a few more peace makers on your team and a few less generals.

Feel free to use any of this info in your State of the Union on Tuesday. You don’t even have to give me any credit for bringing them up.

RJ