Tag Archives: deficits

Bullets or Deficits?

22 Apr

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll demonstrates how “the american people™” want to address the deficit.

Cut Medicare?  Support: 21% Oppose:  78%

Cut Medicaid?  Support: 30% Oppose:  69%

Raise taxes on incomes of $250K and higher?  Support: 72% Oppose: 27%

Cut military spending?  Support: 42% Oppose: 56%

These figures are in line with traditional polling results, yet the entire national discussion about deficit reduction is built on privatizing Medicare, drastic cuts in Medicaid, and another 10% tax cut for the wealthy.

One way to look at those numbers is that when given a choice to cut one of the three biggest costs centers in the American Government, the people pick the military over their government healthcare by a wide margin.  And why shouldn’t they?  Our defense budget is absolutely out of control.  The USA is responsible for 46.5 per cent of the world total of defense expenditures, distantly followed by China (6.6% of world share), France (4.2%), UK (3.8%), and Russia (3.5%):

Current basing numbers and force deployments are hard to come by, so we’ll go with Wikipedia for the sake of a roundabout number.

As of 31 March 2008, U.S. Armed Forces were stationed at more than 820 installations in at least 135 countries. Some of the largest contingents are the 50,000 military personnel deployed in Iraq, the 71,000 (101,000 as of 3/2011) in Afghanistan, the 52,440 in Germany, the 35,688 in Japan (USFJ), the 28,500 in Republic of Korea (USFK), and the 9,660 in Italy and the 9,015 in the United Kingdom respectively. These numbers change frequently due to the regular recall and deployment of units.

So, why are we not having a national discussion about drawing down those numbers, bringing our troops home and cutting off development for useless Pentagon projects like the F-22 or Osprey?  Why are we so focused on making sure old people have to use coupons for healthcare rather than demanding a drawdown of deployed military forces?  Once upon a time a retiring Republican President warned us about this.

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In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed – Dwight D. Eisenhower

If only we had listened…