Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ignoring the bloated Defense budget in "fiscal cliff" discussions

We hear lots of talk about the “fiscal cliff” and Republicans demanding budget cuts but no one ever seems to talk about the elephant in the room called the Defense budget. The U.S. spent $680 billion on our Army, Navy and Air Force in 2011 accounting for 45% of the worlds military spending. In addition over $50 billion was spent on civilian intelligence agencies.

The U.S. has ten active aircraft carriers and three more under construction, no other country, not even China currently operates more than one and al-Qaeda has none.

According to the Arms Control Association the U.S. has over 5100 nuclear warheads, Russia has about the same number but roughly half are awaiting dismantlement. China has 240, France under 300 and the United Kingdom about 225, India and Pakistan about 100 each, North Korea may have ten if they’re able to build functioning warheads and al-Qaeda has none.

The U.S. has over 800 military bases on foreign soil, that’s over four for every nation on earth.

Surely we can retire four aircraft carriers, a few thousand nuclear warheads and close several hundred overseas bases to help bring our federal deficit under control. It’s time we faced the fact that this nation can no longer afford to maintain the empire we established over the first half of the last century. We won’t be the first super-power to recognize it but if we do it now we’ll be the first to avoid waiting until we’ve wrecked our economy.


  1. The days of empire should be long gone and we can't afford to be the world's police. If we'd cut defense spending and use just some of that savings for things like infrastructure and education, imagine how great our nation could become. We could cut our spending by half and we'd STILL spend more than any other nation!

    I fear that we are becoming more like the old Soviet Union- spending and spending on military and ignoring the needs of our people. I wonder if we'll end up like the old Soviet Union- toppled from within when our people demand that we get something from our government other than military spending.

    The defense industry is very smart and very powerful. They manufacture in just about every state so that if someone says "cut" they can say "oh, but look how many jobs you'll lose"- but what if we turned the defense manufacturing into solar power manufacturing? Why can't we turn "swords into plowshares"?

  2. Published in the NB Herald-Zeitung 12/15-2012

  3. Published in Seguin Gazette 12/20/2012