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Military spending (1 Viewer)

timschochet

Footballguy
Some facts and arguments I heard today on the news: 

1. Our annual budget for the military: 715 billion. That’s the most ever. 

2. The most spent by any other country: 67 billion by Russia. Less than 1/10th of what we are shelling out. 

3. The above are facts. Now here’s the argument part: much of our spending is for the best 20th century military we can afford. 21st century conflicts aren’t going to be about conventional warfare and they’re not going to be nuclear either; they’re going to be about cyber and intelligence, and in these areas Russia is actually much better prepared than we are and China may be as well. 

Thoughts? 

 

Sand

Footballguy
Some facts and arguments I heard today on the news: 

1. Our annual budget for the military: 715 billion. That’s the most ever. 

2. The most spent by any other country: 67 billion by Russia. Less than 1/10th of what we are shelling out. 

3. The above are facts. Now here’s the argument part: much of our spending is for the best 20th century military we can afford. 21st century conflicts aren’t going to be about conventional warfare and they’re not going to be nuclear either; they’re going to be about cyber and intelligence, and in these areas Russia is actually much better prepared than we are and China may be as well. 

Thoughts? 
First thought - the Chinese are fudging their numbers.  They're spending a bunch.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Ten times as much as the next country. It staggers the mind. 

Back in the 19th century, the world’s #1 superpower, Great Britain, was determined to have a Navy twice the size of any competitor. They nearly went bankrupt with that plan, and it failed to save them in World War I. But it seems minor compared to what we’re doing. 

 

urbanhack

Fight The Power!
Some facts and arguments I heard today on the news: 

1. Our annual budget for the military: 715 billion. That’s the most ever. 

2. The most spent by any other country: 67 billion by Russia. Less than 1/10th of what we are shelling out. 

3. The above are facts. Now here’s the argument part: much of our spending is for the best 20th century military we can afford.
No.  It's used to prop up our economy. 

 

timschochet

Footballguy
No.  It's used to prop up our economy. 
That’s certainly true in certain areas, (like Long Beach and Burbank near me- both cities would be severely hurt if we radically cut military spending.) 

So you’re saying it’s essentially become just a form of welfare? 

 

urbanhack

Fight The Power!
That’s certainly true in certain areas, (like Long Beach and Burbank near me- both cities would be severely hurt if we radically cut military spending.) 

So you’re saying it’s essentially become just a form of welfare? 
Yes.  How many people are employed and are invested in companies that depend on military contracts?

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
Some facts and arguments I heard today on the news: 

1. Our annual budget for the military: 715 billion. That’s the most ever. 

2. The most spent by any other country: 67 billion by Russia. Less than 1/10th of what we are shelling out. 

3. The above are facts. Now here’s the argument part: much of our spending is for the best 20th century military we can afford. 21st century conflicts aren’t going to be about conventional warfare and they’re not going to be nuclear either; they’re going to be about cyber and intelligence, and in these areas Russia is actually much better prepared than we are and China may be as well. 

Thoughts? 
I feel about this the same way I feel about every policy area and budget under Trump - and that is that it’s impossible to have a normal policy discussion. We can’t rely on a lot of the data, what we’re told about the needs or why we need it in terms of policy goals. From the environment to labor to health care the whole discussion is ridiculous. Ordinarily I’m fairly pro-defense but right now I’d prioritize getting a Democratic Congress to provide some reliable oversight about what’s going on, and then after that I’d be happy with almost any level of decision making that occurred knowing that it would at least be reality based.

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
Ten times as much as the next country. It staggers the mind. 

Back in the 19th century, the world’s #1 superpower, Great Britain, was determined to have a Navy twice the size of any competitor. They nearly went bankrupt with that plan, and it failed to save them in World War I. But it seems minor compared to what we’re doing. 
I’m not kidding when I say it’s a fair guess that no one on Trump’s executive staff is capable of having this historical discussion. I like Mattis but the whole point of this budget was just to throw as much money at DOD as could be done without any explanation of global aims.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
I feel about this the same way I feel about every policy area and budget under Trump - and that is that it’s impossible to have a normal policy discussion. We can’t rely on a lot of the data, what we’re told about the needs or why we need it in terms of policy goals. From the environment to labor to health care the whole discussion is ridiculous. Ordinarily I’m fairly pro-defense but right now I’d prioritize getting a Democratic Congress to provide some reliable oversight about what’s going on, and then after that I’d be happy with almost any level of decision making that occurred knowing that it would at least be reality based.
I agree with this but we can’t just not discuss things until Trump is gone or hobbled. That’s pretty ostrich like IMO. He’s the President, this is the amount we’re spending now. 

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
I agree with this but we can’t just not discuss things until Trump is gone or hobbled. That’s pretty ostrich like IMO. He’s the President, this is the amount we’re spending now. 
I would never argue for ostriching and you do have a good point, however what policies are we debating? In Syria we’re fighting ISIS but we are told ISIS is defeated. We provide safe zones in the south of Syria but we just cut some oral secret deal whereby Russia seems to be under the impression we’re outsourcing security to them. We need forces in Europe to guard against Russian adventurism but the President just said small countries aren’t worth defending and Putin is “fine”. Our President gave a UN speech where he said America would only care about us and our interests but then also we wouldn’t stand any bunk from Venezuela, NK or Iran. 

 
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The Commish

Footballguy
Some facts and arguments I heard today on the news: 

1. Our annual budget for the military: 715 billion. That’s the most ever. 

2. The most spent by any other country: 67 billion by Russia. Less than 1/10th of what we are shelling out. 

3. The above are facts. Now here’s the argument part: much of our spending is for the best 20th century military we can afford. 21st century conflicts aren’t going to be about conventional warfare and they’re not going to be nuclear either; they’re going to be about cyber and intelligence, and in these areas Russia is actually much better prepared than we are and China may be as well. 

Thoughts? 
China is not.  Russia absolutely is.  And this has been a trend since I started my career in 1998.  It's pretty clear our "leaders" haven't a clue how serious the cyber world is and quite frankly that spills over into the electorate as well.  We could have the best of the best in this department for the cost of a couple F35s.  

 

widget

Footballguy
Some facts and arguments I heard today on the news: 

1. Our annual budget for the military: 715 billion. That’s the most ever. 

2. The most spent by any other country: 67 billion by Russia. Less than 1/10th of what we are shelling out. 

3. The above are facts. Now here’s the argument part: much of our spending is for the best 20th century military we can afford. 21st century conflicts aren’t going to be about conventional warfare and they’re not going to be nuclear either; they’re going to be about cyber and intelligence, and in these areas Russia is actually much better prepared than we are and China may be as well. 

Thoughts? 
Link?  What "news" source?

 
I have advocated capping our military spending at a level no higher than Russia, China, and India combined.  Seems reasonable to me. Also it may cut down on our tendency to be adventurous. That is plenty for defense put would restrict our offense and would require others to step up for their own needs.  Cutting to those levels would have to be responsibly phased as the military industrial complex would be angry, need time to compensate, and might start relocating and peddling their wares where we do not approve.  They would likely seek to relocate off shore. The world has buyers for the merchants of death, we need to be cautious in cutting them off.

 

KarmaPolice

Footballguy
It's sad and frustrating to me.  This has to be a huge reason why we are falling behind in so many other areas in this country and it really sets the tone as to what our priorities are as a nation.   We have two peaceful neighbors to the north and south of us, and we are separated by a freakin' ocean from any countries that might be hostile towards us on the other two borders.  

We could kick the world's ### in everything - health, education, military if we just spend 1/2 of that and "only" 5x our next competitor.   It's so dumb, but it's also to the point where it's taboo to bring up cutting military spending.  I can't take anybody seriously who is running for a major political office who doesn't bring this up as a top priority.  

 

KarmaPolice

Footballguy
I have advocated capping our military spending at a level no higher than Russia, China, and India combined.  Seems reasonable to me. Also it may cut down on our tendency to be adventurous. That is plenty for defense put would restrict our offense and would require others to step up for their own needs.  Cutting to those levels would have to be responsibly phased as the military industrial complex would be angry, need time to compensate, and might start relocating and peddling their wares where we do not approve.  They would likely seek to relocate off shore. The world has buyers for the merchants of death, we need to be cautious in cutting them off.
:thumbup:

it's still sounds ridiculous when you say that out loud, but that would be what - about 500B less than what we are doing now?  

 

Koya

Footballguy
Love our military.

Cant stand the beauracracy.  Hate the bloat. Disgusted by the privatization that monetizes warrantles killing. 

Dont ANYone say they are for "smaller govt" and CERTAINLY not "limited govt" and then push for a military anywhere close to the size it is today in raw numbers, in dollars, in perfent of GDP and spending. That would be pathetic hypocrisy of the highest order. 

The libertarian side of me just has so many issues with today's approach to an unchecked military aparatus, often handed over to selfish private interests who thrive with more conflict rather than ever seek to end it... and worse yet the encroachment of that into our local forces and prison system. It's become one tangled web of corruption and rampant over spending at the expense of our citizen's civil and economic rights.

 
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Nick Vermeil

Footballguy
It's sad and frustrating to me.  This has to be a huge reason why we are falling behind in so many other areas in this country and it really sets the tone as to what our priorities are as a nation.   We have two peaceful neighbors to the north and south of us, and we are separated by a freakin' ocean from any countries that might be hostile towards us on the other two borders.  

We could kick the world's ### in everything - health, education, military if we just spend 1/2 of that and "only" 5x our next competitor.   It's so dumb, but it's also to the point where it's taboo to bring up cutting military spending.  I can't take anybody seriously who is running for a major political office who doesn't bring this up as a top priority.  
In the “what do liberals want” thread I suggested spending half what we do on defense. Our military is important and I thank them but it’s sickening what we spend on this while we cut from education and environment and our poor. Must support our killing machine and those who profit from it. (Hi Eric Prince and your also scumbag sister).

 

KarmaPolice

Footballguy
In the “what do liberals want” thread I suggested spending half what we do on defense. Our military is important and I thank them but it’s sickening what we spend on this while we cut from education and environment and our poor. Must support our killing machine and those who profit from it. (Hi Eric Prince and your also scumbag sister).
Military is one of those hot button topics that elicit such knee jerk reactions.  

Not that I want my kids  to go off to war, but I do wonder if things might be different if we had some sort of mandatory service in the military of some sort in this country.  I think it would give a lot more people a reason to stop and think about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and if it is necessary for us to be doing that.  

 

Don't Toews Me

Footballguy
Someone should do a deep dive on defense spending. 

Some questions I have (some overlap with these):

1. What does our defense spending allow us to do that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise? What capabilities do we have that we wouldn't have? What technology do we have that we wouldn't have? What are the benefits of spending the amount we spend? 

2. What do we sacrifice if we severely cut our defense spending? Likewise, what do we sacrifice by spending the amount we spend on defense? What are the negative consequences of spending the amount we spend on defense?

3. What does $715 billion give you? Where does it go? How efficiently is it spent? (My guess is not very). What is our defense spending as percent of GDP? How does that compare to other countries? 

4. Are we appropriately allocating defense spending into the areas we should be focusing on given the threats we face today? What threats would we be unable to challenge if we severely cut defense spending (or would we be able to challenge these threats even if we cut military spending)? Back that up a step. What threats do we face today? What are our strategic objectives? What strategic obligations do we have? What should we be focusing on? What shouldn't we be focusing on that we are currently focusing on? Going to have to put pen to paper on those before answering the original first two. 

5. Is our defense spending a deterrent at all? Would our enemies be more bold in their actions if our defense spending was severely cut? We know what the world looks like with a defense spending of $715 billion. What does a world look like if we spent say $400 billion (just throwing out a random number)?

6. Does less military spending automatically mean a weaker military? 

7. Are we spending money in defense in the wrong places and not in accordance to the threats we face?

One quickly notices that any deep dive on defense spending isn't just a deep dive on defense spending. Intertwined with it is national security threats, foreign policy issues (what should we get involved in and what shouldn't we get involved in), etc. 

Theoretically, given our membership in NATO, we'd have to maintain 2% at minimum. This article and this article indicates we were at 3.6% for 2017. 

 

Dickies

Footballguy
So ####in' sad.  Like I said, we also have to be one of the safest countries in the world as far as surrounding threats as well.  There is no rational need to be spending even 1/2 of what we are.
Our domestic gun violence is a far bigger threat than terrorism IMHO

 

AAABatteries

Footballguy
Our domestic gun violence is a far bigger threat than terrorism IMHO
I’ve railed about our defense spending on numerous occasions so I’m glad Tim started this thread to discuss.  

Your point here made me remember something I was thinking about a few months ago.  We glorify and celebrate the military and those men and women are brave and are worthy of our respect and admiration (a vast majority of the time).  However, I do wonder if this is a contributing factor to our love of guns and thus is an indirect impact on our gun culture and some of our gun violence.

Protecting ourselves and our way of life is absolutely one of the main responsibilities of government and the men and women who serve are owed a lot of gratitude for keeping us safe - I’m just not sure we have to spend almost a trillion dollars to do it.

 

Godsbrother

Footballguy
3. The above are facts. Now here’s the argument part: much of our spending is for the best 20th century military we can afford. 21st century conflicts aren’t going to be about conventional warfare and they’re not going to be nuclear either; they’re going to be about cyber and intelligence, and in these areas Russia is actually much better prepared than we are and China may be as well. 

Thoughts? 
We are much better prepared in cyber and intelligence than you think we are.

 

msommer

Footballguy
3. What does $715 billion give you? Where does it go? How efficiently is it spent? (My guess is not very). What is our defense spending as percent of GDP? How does that compare to other countries? 

Theoretically, given our membership in NATO, we'd have to maintain 2% at minimum. This article and this article indicates we were at 3.6% for 2017. 
All very good questions in general for a national debate. I might add to #2 What are the negative consequences of not spending as the US does, e.g. if cutting spending would lead to bases being shut, regiments being eliminated, what would the socio-economic impact be in terms of unemployment etc. How do we deal with that, particularly those who have few other marketable skills than soldiering?

As for the share of GDP: With the 2018 budget set to rise about 15-16% and GDP much less than that you'd think the percentage spend of GDP would be close to in not above 4% in 2018

 

KarmaPolice

Footballguy
All very good questions in general for a national debate. I might add to #2 What are the negative consequences of not spending as the US does, e.g. if cutting spending would lead to bases being shut, regiments being eliminated, what would the socio-economic impact be in terms of unemployment etc. How do we deal with that, particularly those who have few other marketable skills than soldiering?
I would guess that we would still be saving a ton of money if we closed those bases, sent those troops back, but still paid them what they signed up for and kept their benefits.  Over time we would have less need for more recruits and I think that people who are proposing a drastic cut in the military are also hoping that would lead to a better education system and economy here so people would have a different set of skills.   There would be a bigger wave of people than usual if we closed a bunch of bases, but I am guessing this is already a problem as our troops come back if they don't have marketable skills besides soldering.  

 

KarmaPolice

Footballguy
Some questions I have (some overlap with these):

3. What does $715 billion give you? Where does it go? How efficiently is it spent? (My guess is not very). What is our defense spending as percent of GDP? How does that compare to other countries? 

4. Are we appropriately allocating defense spending into the areas we should be focusing on given the threats we face today? What threats would we be unable to challenge if we severely cut defense spending (or would we be able to challenge these threats even if we cut military spending)? Back that up a step. What threats do we face today? What are our strategic objectives? What strategic obligations do we have? What should we be focusing on? What shouldn't we be focusing on that we are currently focusing on? Going to have to put pen to paper on those before answering the original first two. 

6. Does less military spending automatically mean a weaker military? 
3.  a quick search found THIS. and shows us spending 3.1% on military.  Other countries are listed and they are all over the place - China 1.9%, Germany 1.2%, Russia 4.2%, Japan .9%, Saudi Arabia 10.2%.    If I am reading the bottom right, it shows the world average as 2.2%.  

4.  I am not sure how the #s would break down or how to figure it out, but my guess is that a lot of our budget is spent on being the world police, securing our resources (oil), and basically just being America and having to show the world that we have the most of everything and getting into missile penis measuring matching with other countries.  I think each could be debated separately and deciding the consequences of not doing those things anymore, or at least to the extent we are.  I find it hard to believe that a high % of this budget is going to direct threats to our country seeing how relatively isolated we are from our threats.  

6.  Weaker, no.  It's not like our troops would be less trained or our technology would be less, I think it would mean that we aren't as spread out or we can't fight 2-3 wars at a time.  OR probably even better, the troops are mainly just for protecting our actual borders. 

 

Dedfin

Footballguy
I'm a progressive and I am agnostic on overspending on our military. I think our spending priorities are misguided in parts because we throw money away on boondoggles and other vaporware projects. I'd love to see more money going to our soldiers, rather than defense contract executives. I think you could ask even the most authoritarian person in the country and they'd say the same, they are just largely uninformed. I think this is an opening for the Ds to exploit, but they never do.

Also keep in mind that the DoD is the largest employer in the western world, and has reach far beyond designing things to kill people. Two easy examples are The Army Corps of Engineers and DARPA, both of which I, as a civilian am/was receiving pay from that has very little to do with killing people. There are plenty of other programs like that. Now maybe some people here would like it if we regrouped the DoD, which would make plenty of sense but as of now there are many good parts of the DoD that deserve the funding it gets.

 

roadkill1292

Footballguy
Right, I agree.  What's the mission?  Right now it seems like indefinite war to loot our treasury is the mission.  
Well, it's kind of like the broken window theory of economics, where it generates a lot of activity that is positive in and of itself but, unlike the broken window theory, there is a hard-to-quantify benefit for us policing the oceans and making sure that the wheels of international commerce are kept greased. I think that can be achieved in other ways, mostly because I think those countries who pose the greatest military threat to us are more interested in becoming prosperous themselves than they are in strong arming their neighbors. I don't think a sizable portion of the electorate places as much faith in non-military means as I do, however.

 

Skoo

Footballguy
The golden goose that neither Democrats or Republicans have the nerve to mess with.

The number I saw for China was 200 billion, say we work with that. If we cut 300 billion out of our budget, we would still spend DOUBLE what any country on earth spends, and more than the rest of the world combined if you leave out China.

How many people could we educate and/or give healthcare to for 300 billion dollars EVERY YEAR?

My guess is quite a few.

Anytime someone says that we don't have the money to pay for X, this is my argument. We have the money. We just spend it on killing instead of educating.  :X  

 

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