Thursday, September 22, 2011

Military Spending or Social Security

via The Huffington Post

There's a fascinating little tidbit that I'd never heard before.  The defense industry contractors have spread their operations out so as to cover as many congressional districts as possible.  Any politician, Republican or Democrat, would be hard-pressed to favor defense spending cuts when it means job losses in his or her district. That's slick.

If the military contractors succeed in keeping the war budget intact, they'll likely do so at the expense of Social Security and Medicare.

I didn't really understand why that is.  Aren't there other programs which can be cut?  In any case, don't you think the military spending is too high? These are some of the most powerful companies in the world and they know how to play the game. That alone should indicate they're already getting more than they need.

What's your opinion?  Wouldn't cutting military spending and cutting back on the foreign wars be the right way to correct some of the country's economic problems?

Please leave a comment? 


  1. Good question … but before I comment, consider how long these two spending categories are funded and what their source of funding is ?

    According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security trust fund is funded through 2038 and is funded by contributions from workers …. The Defense Department is funded through annual appropriations at the discretion of Congress with no definitive contribution source.
    So, it is fair to say that Social Security currently causes no drain on the national debt while the Defense spending is borrowed money (you know that 40 cents that Republicans are currently reminding us about).
    Of course, that could be corrected by making a defined tax for military spending … in other words, every taxpayer (including corporations) would pay a set percentage for defense …. Do you think that if every corporation and citizen had to pay a “National Defense Sales Tax”, there would be more scrutiny of Defense spending ? This was proposed a few years ago, as H.R. 4130, the "Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010." It would establish a 1% surtax on everyone's federal income tax liability.

  2. OK, now, let me answer your question.

    First, let's remember that entitlement programs are not Job-programs.

    As John Kline (R-MN-02) explained why he voted for an earmark authored by Rob Bishop (R-UT) to purchase additional F-22 that the White House and DoD did not want, military “pork” are “good jobs” … of course, Mr. Kline wrote a paper asking the question “How Will We Know When the War Is Over?” for which Mr. Kline concludes “as long as there is a single country on the list [countries as state sponsors of international terrorism], a single refuge for terrorists, the war is not over.”
    BTW : Mr. Kline is opposed to a “war tax” … suggested reading this commentary for more background.

    Some Republicans know this … such as Tom Coburn (R-OK) … read this commentary for more background. The fact is that the US Navy has eleven carrier groups but no other country has more than one … why are American taxpayers paying to be the world’s policeman ?
    Or, why is American taxpayers expending over a BILLION Dollars a year (okay, to be more accurate at least $1.23 billion) with 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea …. when South Korea is not a defenseless country … it has a force of 686,000 active troops and 4.5 million in reserve, supported by 538 combat aircrafts, 2,300 tanks and a 230-ship navy. And as Senator McCain (R-AZ) remarked at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, “there is no doubt…that South Korean forces are among the most capable and best equipped in the world.” (read this.)

    Even watchdog groups, like Citizens Against Government Waste have objected to various military programs, yet Congress keeps funding them.

    And it’s not just military spending that we should look at … how about military “loans” … for example, the Israeli Cooperative Program including its three joint defense programs — Arrow 2, Arrow 3 and David’s Sling appropriated at $235.7 million in funding for the coming year. Oh, and don’t forget America paid for Iron Dome. Not to mention that this funding is separate from the $3 billion in U.S. defense assistance Israel receives each year.

    To answer your question, YES, we can reduce spending on the military and we should long before we ever consider defaulting on the promise that we made to taxpayers who paid into the Social Security program.

  3. Minnesota Central:

    To paraphrase Josef Stalin, how many divisions does the SSA have?

  4. The Problem MN Central is that the right dislikes "entitlement programmes" particularly ones that help the needy.

    They also want to see the money invested in private retirement schemes, such as IRAs, 401k, and so on. But those take the money out of secure government trusts and place them in the capital marketplace. The fact that they are in the capital marketplace means they are subject to market fluctuations, which can be very severe. In fact, the fact that people could lose their retirements due to a market crash was the major reason for social security in the first place.

    The military is big business and benefits the few. Lately, the focus has been on shifting wealth toward the rich with those who are less fortunate seeing their standard of living drop, or disappear completely.

    Of course, it is very easy to distract the masses and make them vote against their economic interests. That is part of the reason there is little outcry about this.

    The other reason is that US media is in the hands of the few. One of the tricks of propaganda is to limit the marketplace of ideas. That is why the US appears to have headed toward the extreme and irrational right. The voices of sanity have been drowned out. Conservativism has gone from being reality based to Michelle Bachmann.

    That, in and of itself, should point out why the country is so out of touch with what was constitutionally intended.

  5. I saw, last evening, that the Dow dropped 500 points, yesterday. Oh, yeah, I want MY social security disappearing into the rabbit hole that is WS's wallet.

  6. Minnesota Central thanks for those thoughtful comments. Can we get out of Afghanistan now though?