Our Bloated Military Budget Is Increasingly Unnecessary

One of the longest-standing and most intractable American policy debates revolves around our massive military budget.

Efforts to cut the military budget, enormous though it is, encounter genuine anxieties about endangering national security, as well as more parochial concerns from lawmakers representing districts with economies heavily dependent upon military bases or contractors. Those concerns may explain why U.S. military spending in 2017 was over 30% higher in real terms than it was in 2000. The United States will spend $716 billion in 2019, and annually spends more than twice what Russia, China, Iran and North Korea spend collectively.

The problem with our incredibly costly approach to national defense is a lot like our other retrograde policies: it equips us to fight the last war and leaves us unprepared for the kinds of attacks that are becoming much more common.

The New York Times recently reported a story about a man who helped avert a cyberattack.

In May 2017, a cyberattack called WannaCry infected hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries. Among the victims: FedEx, the French carmaker Renault, the Russian Interior Ministry and Britain’s National Health Service. The effect on the health service was particularly devastating: ambulances were diverted, patient records were inaccessible, surgical procedures were canceled, telephone calls could not be received.

In the midst of all of this, Marcus Hutchins, then a 22-year-old British security researcher, stumbled upona “kill switch” in the WannaCry code — and slammed the brakes on a global crisis. “The kill switch is why the U.S. hasn’t been touched so far,” one expert told The Times then.

WannaCry is a type of malware that locks down a computer and forcibly encrypts its data until a ransom is paid. As the incident in 2017 highlighted, the security status of computer systems around the world is (in the Times’ estimation) “dismal”–  and cyberwarfare is accelerating. After all, it’s so much easier –and cheaper–to wage a cyber attack than to deliver warheads via missiles.

The Pentagon does recognize the threat, but inertia and an increasingly erratic Commander-in-Chief combine to impede the imperative changes.

Just last week, Trump overruled the Acting Secretary of Defense, the Navy Secretary and the Chief of Naval Operations by reversing a February decision to retire a 21-year-old nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. That decision will cost the Navy more than $20 billion over the next two decades, most of it money the service had planned to spend on advanced technologies, especially cyber defense.

There are also better ways to win “hearts and minds” than with tanks and platoons. Here’s another report  from the Times. 

While neither guided bomb nor armored vehicle, a gray oblong water pump sticking out from the brush along a remote dirt road is intended to be just as clear a sign of the United States’ efforts to stop the spread of the Islamic State….

 If all goes to plan, water from the pump will help impoverished farmers establish trust in the government, and, in turn, seek to undermine the militants’ influence.

The soldiers involved in the effort to defeat ISIS insurgents in the Philippines  wear civilian clothes and are part of the military’s counterinsurgency strategy for winning over local populations.

The massive amounts America spends on the military are supporting bases and troops that are increasingly irrelevant and ill-suited to the conduct of modern-day defense. Even the Pentagon admits that base capacity exceeds need by at least 20%.

A case can be made that this enormous military capacity creates an insidious incentive to substitute military intervention for the exercise of diplomacy and soft power (as the Japanese proverb warns, when the tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.) Be that as it may, armies are ill-suited for counterterrorism–and terrorism, not state-sponsored military attack, is increasingly the real threat we face.

The bad news is that we are ill-prepared to combat it.

The good news is that, if we ever get an administration capable of figuring it out,  defending the country against the threats we actually face will become much, much less expensive.

 

 

33 thoughts on “Our Bloated Military Budget Is Increasingly Unnecessary

  1. One of the problems with “over-weaponizing”, whether it be for home or for country, is the oft unrecognized urge to “use it or lose it”. Why have it if you don’t ever use it? Thus we see these days a national administration seemingly hell bent on starting a war somewhere…anywhere.
    Talk about frightening times!

  2. We certainly need a strong military but we need a smart military as well. By that I mean we need forces that can stand up “overnight” to a crisis and then have reserves ( literally in my sense) who can fairly quickly be activated, trained up for the mission, and be on scene. Reducing our current world wide military footprint would free up a lot of money. Shrinking the active duty while increasing the reserve and guard components could provide the taxpayers a lot of savings while keeping a ready force prepared for whatever we might need. The 1 weekend a month, 2 weeks a year training cycle wasn’t adequate when I left active duty and entered the guard, and most in the guard put in a lot more time, some voluntarily some not so much it won’t be in the future but it can be part of a smarter, less expensive solution. When in Iraq I spoke with some brit reserves and found they were expected to be in uniform about 3 months out of a year when not in a war. With American businesses increasingly more interested in maximizing profits and to hell with everything else that kind of requirement for the reserve component would keep a lot of qualified people out but we should be able to find a way to draw down the active forces, get smarter about our missions ( removing trump and sending Bolton to someplace he can’t influence anyone would help), keep good people in the guard/reserves and employed at home. We can’t afford to completely stop helping those nations who want our assistance but we can’t afford the forever wars. Something needs to give.

  3. “why can’t we just nuke ’em?”

    “we have nukes, why don’t we just use ’em?”

    “we have a national emergency at our southern border.”

    As long as Trump and McConnell are running the Executive and Legislative Branches of this government, with SCOTUS at their disposal; there will be no rational, logical, protective, safe or financial military decisions made and acted on in this country. Or on all other issues before this nation. Trump’s lies never more blatant than yesterday when he boasted about the successes in the stock market as it heading toward bottoming out.

    “A case can be made that this enormous military capacity creates an insidious incentive to substitute military intervention for the exercise of diplomacy and soft power (as the Japanese proverb warns, when the tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.) Be that as it may, armies are ill-suited for counterterrorism–and terrorism, not state-sponsored military attack, is increasingly the real threat we face.”

    Our years-long allies have become alienated, our years-long enemies have been befriended; we are becoming a country standing alone while our president is “playing soldier” with our military by ignoring the threats, overt and covert, from those he has befriended whose nuclear powers equal or bypass our own. Where will our troops be and how well supplied with up to date weapons will they be when we are in the cross hairs of North Korea, Russia and Iran, to name but a few? And who will stand with us? Trump is taking a knife to a gun fight with his “I know more than all of the generals!” diplomacy.

    “The good news is that, if we ever get an administration capable of figuring it out, defending the country against the threats we actually face will become much, much less expensive.”

    The bad news is that the current Democratic party is splintering off into separate groups (20 or 21) backing novice political figures who perform exceptionally well in their current positions but do not have the knowledge, experience or qualifications to lead the entire party to victory in 2020, then take over leadership of this country. “Due to the loss of a nail a shoe was lost…” But we all know that story and we all know the ending; we lost our “nail and our shoe” in the 2009 election when we gave the House and Senate to the Republicans. Just how protective is our current “bloated military” if it comes to war?

  4. Theresa said “Why have it if you don’t ever use it?”
    That is what Dumb Donald said regarding our Nuclear Bombs
    Expect a Presidential war in the Middle East or Central America to divert attention from his many misdeeds and crimes and Russian involvement. Hang on tight. This may get ugly

  5. we have become the worlds corporate mercenary army. our footprint is relevant in places that needs for global resourses to supply the corprate needs of the,”friends” of the u.s. are dictated.
    the high costs is relevant to the spread of corporate needs. when king geo the 2nd waged war,it was s direct move for our need for oil resources,and damn anyone who disagreed. (cheney) lying to sec of state powell didnt help. when he and tony blair were booooed out of the world human rights meeting in durban,s,africa after the invaision of iraq,still little is said about the half million who died over a needless military option when we could just buy the damn oil. sadam may have kept a quiet that we ignored. again we fail because of a status quo that needs to be eneded, fact, if the military is sucking up 3/5 ths of the budget,and food stamps gets 1 1/2% of that budget, we have a real issue. recent local argument, im told if,Bernie or Warren is elected, they will pass a 75% income tax on everyone.. this is in land/mind lock north dakota,i sent him the story, frrom EPI.org, he says its fake news. we have a propaganda machine called fox,and mcconnel. and they have delivered the mindset were all doomed if those damn liberals get in office. so, fox has a good start, me,im dodging bullets,because they cant read past a headline,,,best wishes..

  6. We’ll need to continually increase our military budget, to offset our tremendous loss of RESPECT throughout the world. I downloaded a report, yesterday, from a combination of European experts, they no longer see us as a world leader. The only thing LEFT, for us, to do is to find a second rate country to start a war with, which will allow Trump and Pence to use SEDITION, as a weapon against POLITICAL CRITICISM.

    Venezuela is a wonderful opportunity.

  7. First off, our military is a scam just like charter schools and our healthcare system. Add our education system or any other “department” listed in our corporatist Oligarchy.

    Secondly, what are the goals and objectives of the MIC?

    In a nutshell, we are the world’s largest terrorist organization next to Israel for which we work hand in hand. It’s grotesque.

    Don’t forget, we have a media department designed to tell great stories and gather national support for our “guys and gals” in uniform. We have a satellite defense system to protect us from anything launched within seconds.

    So, what’s the point of our “defense”?

    To defend against our offensive maneuvers. Period.

    We are using our military to steal resources around the world from dictators installed by our MIC. Do you think that might make some people mad??

    Russia has put their foot down several times and I suspect we’ll see it again, but we have a great corporate PR department to spin it and make it look like “Russia is interfering in democracy.”

    Democracy my arse…Einstein called it “predatory capitalism” which is a nice name for piracy. We are nothing more than pirates.

  8. The long out of control of the military budget whether smart or dumb is the major reason for deficit annual budgets and long term debt, not Social Security and other right wing whipping boys to explain our eternally rising debt (which also puts us at the mercy of China and others who our debt via treasuries). We the big show off in the world with our military, but we are starving worthier goals back at the ranch. To do > more diplomacy, less saber-rattling.

  9. From the History channel:

    “On May 16, 1918, the United States Congress passes the Sedition Act, a piece of legislation designed to protect America’s participation in World War I.

    Along with the Espionage Act of the previous year, the Sedition Act was orchestrated largely by A. Mitchell Palmer, the United States attorney general under President Woodrow Wilson. The Espionage Act, passed shortly after the U.S. entrance into the war in early April 1917, made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces’ prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies.

    Aimed at socialists, pacifists and other anti-war activists, the Sedition Act imposed harsh penalties on anyone found guilty of making false statements that interfered with the prosecution of the war; insulting or abusing the U.S. government, the flag, the Constitution or the military; agitating against the production of necessary war materials; or advocating, teaching or defending any of these acts. Those who were found guilty of such actions, the act stated, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both. This was the same penalty that had been imposed for acts of espionage in the earlier legislation.

    Though Wilson and Congress regarded the Sedition Act as crucial in order to stifle the spread of dissent within the country in that time of war, modern legal scholars consider the act as contrary to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution, namely to the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. One of the most famous prosecutions under the Sedition Act during World War I was that of Eugene V. Debs, a pacifist labor organizer and founder of the International Workers of the World (IWW) who had run for president in 1900 as a Social Democrat and in 1904, 1908 and 1912 on the Socialist Party of America ticket.

    After delivering an anti-war speech in June 1918 in Canton, Ohio, Debs was arrested, tried and sentenced to 10 years in prison under the Sedition Act. Debs appealed the decision, and the case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where the court ruled Debs had acted with the intention of obstructing the war effort and upheld his conviction. In the decision, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes referred to the earlier landmark case of Schenck v. United States (1919), when Charles Schenck, also a Socialist, had been found guilty under the Espionage Act after distributing a flyer urging recently drafted men to oppose the U.S. conscription policy. In this decision, Holmes maintained that freedom of speech and press could be constrained in certain instances, and that The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

    Debs’ sentence was commuted in 1921 when the Sedition Act was repealed by Congress. Major portions of the Espionage Act remain part of United States law to the present day, although the crime of sedition was largely eliminated by the famous libel case Sullivan v. New York Times (1964), which determined that the press’s criticism of public officials—unless a plaintiff could prove that the statements were made maliciously or with reckless disregard for the truth—was protected speech under the First Amendment.”

  10. Yes, we spend way too much, but our real problem is the mad men at the helm.

  11. Fascists like Trump and Attorney Generals like Barr could care less about Amendments, like the FIRST, when they finally show their REAL FACE.

    An example into the future: I’m now incarcerated for speech considered seditious, awaiting trial, and also waiting for the Republican-controlled Supreme Court to help me out. WISH ME GOOD LUCK!

    BY THE WAY, DON’T FORGET ADOLPH HITLER WAS ALSO ELECTED. What we are NOW observing comes right out of an UPDATED, NAZI PLAYBOOK.

  12. Irrespective of Todd’s rage against the machine, Ike warned us about the MIC in his parting speech in 1961. Since then, his warnings have been fundamentally ignored and now, cleverly, the MIC has a job provider in virtually every Congressional district in the country. Who is going to campaign for cutting out those jobs? Easy answer.

    The Trump/Bolton/Pompeo cabal of idiots and fools is the worst-case scenario in today’s world. Their single-“mindedness” will surely get us into another war so Trump can have cover for his lies, corruption and criminal activity. Obviously, he has hired lawyers who will get rich on our tax dollars to protect him from Congressional oversight and indictments for his criminal activities.

    AND, those Trump cultists who follow the next shiny, glimmering object will flock like “good” Germans to his every whim. Disgusting. When true statesmanship is seen as a weakness, we are in more trouble than just having a criminal idiot as president.

  13. Based on my personal experience, the only way to rid ourselves of this type of VARMINT, short of domestic warfare, must come from forces INSIDE his regime, not from the OUTSIDE, such as the impotent Democrats.

  14. Bottom line people the USA has NOT won a major war since 1945. Oh we punished Grenada and Panama when they stepped out out of line. We have invaded numerous countries since 1945, but no victories. The Middle East has become a perpetual war, with no definition or goal of what victory looks like. A succession of Presidents since Bush the Elder have carried out wars all over the Middle East.

    The McMega-Media is in the pocket of the Wall Street-Security-Military-Industrial Complex. Both of our Corporate Political Parties and the McMega-Media are neck deep in rallying around Hyper Nationalism.

    Hell every damn sporting event has to start with the National Anthem. Then in some cases we have military jets flying over. We are in many respects no different than the Warrior Cults of past Fascist states.

  15. ML,

    And now we have the fascist, warrior cult hero the MIC has always wanted. It doesn’t matter that he’s a criminal, because it’s easier to manipulate him. It’s true that our culture is based on guns and war. We’ve only been “at peace” for 8% of our existence. BTW, the truly evil Dick Cheney was pushing for permanent hegemony for the U.S. in the middle east. He is, of course, a major sponsor for the MIC.

    War is necessary for our capitalists. Military/security spending doubled after 9/11/2001. The terrorists have won.

  16. By 1938, led by Hans Oster, second in command of military intelligence, many military generals were in revolt against Hitler. The resistance was coming from the INSIDE, not the outside.

    “The Oster Conspiracy of 1938” by Terry Parssinen (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2003).

  17. The German Generals planned to revolt because they knew Adolph Hitler was leading them into a CATASTROPHE. That’s, exactly, our fate if Trump & Pence are not stopped RIGHT NOW.

  18. The German Generals failed in their revolt because of the weakness of the leadership in Great Britain. We have the same type of weakness in the U. S. as represented by the Democratic Party leadership and its leading contender, at the present time, Joe Biden and his proposed platform of APPEASEMENT.

  19. “more parochial concerns from lawmakers representing districts with economies heavily dependent upon military bases or contractors.”

    As much as I detest the current occupant of the Oval Office and his erratic policies, the above sentence from your post is the reason, in my opinion, cutting military spending is nearly impossible. The outcry from Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle is deafening when a military base or military supplier is set to have funding cut. It is always posited in he premise of protecting jobs in their state/district; however the only job they are really interested in protecting is their own.

  20. Marv @ 9:47 am – I agree with you 100% Biden represents Appeasement. The Clement Attlee of the Democratic Party and thus a favorite of the CNN and MSDNC.

  21. ML— Sports events (as oppossed to sporting events) now begin with the National Anthem in part because a dribble of the military budget was diverted to pay for the anthem to be played. You know, circus music to entertain the masses.

    We’re told the military budget in necessary to drive our country’s economic engine. WWII probably did pull the US out of the great depression, but post-war, the country found plenty of ways to spread the same amounts around for such such and expensive projects as the interstate system* and putting a man on the moon.

    Today, we could redirect that military budget to rebuilding those interstate roads and bridges. We could continue to explore space. We could EVEN provide clean water to Flint!

    And we could could address cybersecurity, which is how the next wars will fought, while the US still wants to colonize portions of the world for their oil reserve.

    *A/K/A National Defense Highway System. We don’t have time to debate whether this was a good idea, but it certainly reshaped the face of America and impacted city decay and promoted urban sprawl.

  22. The real world of today and the one coming at us from the future has solved the problem of our arms race with nobody with the concept of asymmetrical warfare. Nobody can compete with our military if they let us choose the type of warfare so they choose theirs. We out gun them, they go after our civilians rather than our military. We employ warriors, they employ terrorists. We want the battlefield to be their home but they bring it to us. Both types of warfare are effective, ours is very expensive and theirs is much less so.

    So far the most effective asymmetrical response launched at us so far is from Russia led by Putin and occurred in the 2016 Presidential Election and it led to the elevation of Russia, China and North Korea from also rans to ahead of us in global influence.

    Terrorism has beaten technology as an effective threat. Why don’t we learn from that experience?

  23. One argument for keeping a strong conventional army is to defend against Erik Prince and the over 300,000 private professional warriors, as well as the over 1000 private, crazy militias, he has at his disposal…and his pet whim to enforce a religious takeover of the United States.

  24. Marv,

    “We’ll need to continually increase our military budget, to offset our tremendous loss of RESPECT throughout the world.”

    This assumes that we purchase respect by spending far more on our defense industry than any other country. Perhaps efficacy or smart strategies or spending on the right things would constitute better measures of our defensive strength than how fast we can grow Lockheed-Martin and their fellow Beltway Bandits. Measuring strength by estimating how many people we can kill in the shortest period of time is not effective (I observed this process at the HQ of the European Command near Stuttgart. It included a particularly snotty first lieutenant bragging about how his approach theoretically reduced civilian deaths from 30 million to “only” 20 million). Stopping conflicts before they get underway seems like a smarter approach, but that requires respecting the State Department.

    We now spend disproportionate amounts on hundred-million-dollar weapons like the F-35, ships that can be sunk by a single missile, MOAB bombs, and tanks that are sent to the Nevada desert to rust than we do on stopping the next crippling cyber attack. That allows Russia to parry our military thrusts for pennies on the dollar while we home in on the wrong targets and misidentify our objectives.

    We seem to be on the precipice of sacrificing a lot of young American lives in Iran to enhance Trump’s chances of winning in 2020. How about if we have the president contact families before soldiers are sent into combat to tell them of the sacrifice he expects. How about if we reinstate the draft so some of Trump’s and Wilbur Ross’s and Mike Pompeo’s and John Bolton’s and Betsy DeVos’s friends’ children get to participate. How about if we reconsider killing as the chief means of projecting American power and reintroduce the possibility of peacemaking? When did we adopt homicide (currently being pursued in Yemen) as our go to approach to problem solving. Surely we are better than this. Surely we are not the thugs that our president seems to respect.

  25. You don’t want to know how much the MIC spends on lobbying and PAC money…and….the waste that goes on is incredible. Several years ago the Washing ton Post investigated contractors working on cybersecurity and found tons of overlaps and redundancy and lack of oversight. Regarding oversight….see Boeing….a HOODGE MIC member.

  26. Thank you Sheila, as always,

    While I am not disagreeing that are national defense budget is bloated; in actuality they always have been and very likely always will be. Nevertheless, fiscal responsibility in regard to the Department of Defense will always be a necessity. Right now, however, there are a great deal of funds within the current DOD that are absolutely necessary. Right now, all of the armed services are dealing with if recovering from the damage of the sequestration that was imposed by Congress on the Obama Administration as tribute to that moronic Congress to prevent it from not shutting down the Federal Government now nearly a decade ago.

    This sequestration played total havoc with the funding for extremely necessary maintenance budgets that grievously affected the readiness of our armed forces to be able to respond to possible contingencies that involve the use of military force with a chance of being successful. The Navy, as an example, was left with insufficient funding for maintenance on aircraft, ships, facilities and other very necessary budgetary items that bordered on being criminal. Combat aircraft that were listed as being available for use were, in actuality, reduced to the level of being “hangar queens”, an in-house term used by aviation personnel, something I used to be a long time ago myself, to describe aircraft that had so many maintenance problems they were unable to fly. This problem became so acute that it affected by our ability to respond in a crisis with enough force to ensure that we would prevail.

    Likewise, maintenance budgets for ships of all types were cut to where it affected their readiness is well and the ability of their crews and shipyard personnel to keep them ready to sortie, which means them being able to leave port without breaking down or being unable to leave or because of mechanical deficiencies. That the Congress did this to spite President Obama ordered on being criminal and contrary to the actual needs of the services, such as the Navy, to have equipment that was safety helmets let alone be able be used in an armed conflict and prevail.

    Another huge and overarching problem that this country has in regard to formulating balanced and cost effective defense budgets is that we still, after decades and decades of studies and pronouncements, do not have the gray and strategy that spells out what our military forces are to be used for; contingencies that would in all likelihood require the use of military force in either defensive or offensive postures necessary for the defense of this country and its interests which is the military’s job number one. We seemingly cannot bring ourselves to be able to take a long look necessary to be able to do this while other countries, some of which are potential adversaries, can do this. Is inability to forecast what our military is to be used for handers our ability to properly configure procurements of weapons systems, associated equipment, facilities, or even be able to fund how many people we need to have available within our armed forces. This problem permeates everything the Defense Department does in regard to budgetary considerations.

    So, to say that our defense budget is bloated is a very convenient thing to say and on many levels it’s a much deserved description but there are things within those budgets are absolute necessities. There’s always been a lot of fat built into the system, some being on purpose, to give personnel necessary budgetary “wiggle room” given what the mission of our armed forces is – defending this country. Years ago I served in the unit called the Executive Missions Detachment which is based at Marine Corps Air Station Quantico, Virginia. Its primary function today as it was then, in the early to mid-1970s, was to support and operate the very small fleet of Presidential/VIP helicopters with one in particular being known as Marine One. We were essentially at the top of the logistics heap in regard to the Defense Department and, in particular, the Navy Department since we provided direct support to the President of the United States. In essence, we got anything we wanted given what our mission was which, according to the people that I worked for back then, had a priority only one step down from war. Budgets to operate the squadron that flies Marine One, known as HMX-1, operates as all Navy and marine aviation squadrons do with budgeting revolving around fiscal year budgetary operational targets or OPTARs (in the military there’s an acronym for everything). The idea was you had so much money to operate the squadron each Fiscal Year and that funding included flight operations, maintenance, housing, and personnel, everything that you had to operate within those constraints.

    The rub was that if you ended up having a surplus at the end of a given Fiscal Year you ran the risk of having less funding for the one that followed. Since there were normally negative consequences involved if you did run over your OPTAR we always had parties right before the end of the Fiscal Year to make up for any shortfalls in the use of those funds. That’s not to say that we were frivolous about spending the money budgeted to us, just “creative”, but we had to ensure that we received the same amount of funding the following year and that was all based on by our ability to conduct flight operations for the President and the President was Richard Nixon. Marine One always has to be able to fly as were the two other VIP Sikorsky VH-3A/D Sea Kings that are decoy birds and are also used to transport other dignitaries. No doubt, every other aviation squadron in all of the armed forces has to deal with the same quandary and very likely resolves it the same way we did back then. Spending those leftover dollars that were left on hand the way we did was necessary given how the budgetary system worked.

    No doubt it still does.

  27. Thank you Tom – another great explanation of why things are not as simple as “all or nothing”….

  28. Tom,

    Despite your excellent analysis and strong argument for a healthy defense budget, we have a president who is clueless about the role of the military and is unwilling to listen to anyone with expertise. We have top military advisers who disagree with his whimsical approaches to military issues. We have a Congress which puts up D-Day-like battles when any defense facility that provides jobs to constituents is threatened with closing. We have an Acting SECDEF who believes his job is to pass our tax money to Boeing and associates. We have entire theaters where no one has any idea what we are doing there or why we don’t get the hell out. We have military families living in bug-ridden, dilapidated housing – and that’s in CONUS. We have armaments manufactured at great expense that have no users.

    What I am arguing is that there are astounding economies to be had in our $750 billion defense budget that, if addressed thoughtfully, might allow for reallocating funds for infrastructure or education improvements. Why do we elect to spend more than twice as much as second place China and more than all other NATO members combined? Should we spend three times as much as China? Five times? 1.25 times? We should ponder these possibilities in an effort to derive answers that are anchored in some sort of reality, not just in the interests of powerful senators and the military -industrial complex.

  29. we gave wall street a tax break, new judges are conservitive, govenours want tax cuts, mconnel wants to give it all away,so the liberals dont have any power. its a 35 year game. ignorance prevailed,and the average joe,gets a future he worked for,less than he invested in. if were to succeed again,we have to educate the less than mindful of their existance is in peril. i never want to see the working class get any deeper. we still talk about it,here,and we have the basic same view. im talking in places where we work,with unlike minds. when Bernie calls for a donation,its my own money,worked for. and my day is full of the ignorance of people who will not budge,and will allow our democracy to die.

  30. Jack,

    “and my day is full of the ignorance of people who w.ill not budge, and will allow our democracy to die.”

    Same here. It’s already on life support. It’ll take a miracle to keep it alive.

  31. I enjoy and think about all of Sheila’s Posts, but the diverse and well articulated comments from my fellow readers are even more edifying. Praise to all of you who take the time to think and compose. I thank you!

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