While politicians, insiders and experts may be divided over how much the government should spend on the nation’s defense, there’s a surprising consensus among the public about what should be done: They want to cut spending far more deeply than either the Obama administration or the Republicans.
Anyone who has even casually followed this blog knows that I am an advocate of major reductions in our war machine spending. I often cite that the U.S. spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined and we are only five percent of the world’s population. Doesn’t anyone else see how ridiculous this situation is? Well it turns out that there are actually other, many others in fact, that want to see deep cuts in our military spending!! Hallelujah !!
Lets look as some of the details of this report:
By far the most durable finding — even after hearing strong arguments to the contrary — was that existing spending levels are simply too high. Respondents were asked twice, in highly different ways, to say what they thought the budget should be, and a majority supported roughly the same answer each time: a cut of at least 11 to 13 percent (they cut on average 18 to 22 percent).
In one exercise, a larger group chose to cut the defense budget (62 percent supported this) than to cut non-defense spending (50 percent) or to raise taxes (27 percent). They then chose to cut deeply as a means to address the deficit. In yet another exercise, respondents first read pro and con arguments for the nine major mission areas that now compose almost 90 percent of the budget; then a majority of Republicans and Democrats selected lower levels in eight of the nine areas.
If this is the general perception among the public at large then why do our military budgets continue to consume half of all our discretionary spending? One answer is politics. The politicians just don’t want to see military spending in their districts go away so they scratch each others backs and vote to keep it all. This, as the report indicates, includes items which have long since served their purpose.
The exercise in the second paragraph above might just be the most enlightening. When it comes to severe reductions in military rather than see their taxes raised. Unfortunately instead of heeding these statistics most of the politicians have chosen to cut the safety net out from under the lower classes than to do either of the above. Since it is a fact that lower-income folks vote far less frequently than the public at large this is probably the inevitable and shameful result.
But what do I know…