U.S. defense spending is far higher than any other nation and needs to be slashed immediately
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As some of you may know from the debt ceiling talks last year, a super committee was created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to propose a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction package to be implemented over the next decade. If they were to fail there would be automatic, across-the-board cuts known as a “sequester,” that would be for the same amount ($1.2 trillion) over the same period of time. Unfortunately, the committee did not reach any kind of agreement that led to legislation being passed, and the cuts are due to kick in next year.
The reason I am bringing this up is because Congress passed legislation recently demanding that President Obama submit his own plan to stop the sequester. They are now attempting to blame him for the cuts that are set to take place, stating that he is not showing any leadership because he is helping neither Congress nor the Senate pass legislation to prevent the cuts.
The cuts include discretionary domestic spending and equal cuts to defense, with the latter being what Republicans are really upset about. It is interesting that these people are the same ones who agreed to the sequester in the first place in an attempt to be fiscal hard asses. Unfortunately, reality has set in and the defense industry is down their throats. They now want to renege and pass the blame onto President Obama.
Defense spending by the United States in 2011 totaled $711 billion, which is roughly 4.7 percent of our GDP. This gives the U.S. the dubious honor of being the top military spender in the world by $568 billion, almost double the amount of every other Western nation combined. China is second with $143 billion and Russia is in a far third with $79 billion.
When the cuts take place in 2013, defense spending will be cut by $55 billion across all contracts with the total coming down to $500 billion in a decade. After that, the U.S. defense budget will still be over $350 billion more than China’s (assuming they keep their defense spending as is).
Republicans are trying to spin this by stating that it will affect our troops in Afghanistan, even though spending on wars is exempt from the cuts. The CEOs of the largest defense contractors are mailing letters to legislators warning them of the layoffs that will occur. They go on to state how small or disadvantaged businesses that they utilize will be affected by the cuts.
I am going to go out on a limb and say if you are supplying anything to a defense contractor you may be small in size, but definitely not small in terms of revenue. These scare tactics are ploys to appeal to our compassionate nature. They want us to visualize a little old lady who supplies side panels for Raytheon’s cruise missiles turning out the light to her shop and flipping the window sign to “closed.”
The attempts that these defense contractor’s make to convince Americans, who are experiencing tough economic hardships, that they shouldn’t be affected by tough deficit decisions are almost comical. They feel that they should be exempt because they employ people, use small businesses and develop a wide array of things for the military. I am not saying that they have not served our country, but the defense industry has such a huge budget that continually seems to only grow, and I feel it is time for it to be downsized. After all, other countries defend their freedoms, liberties and interests for far less than $711 billion.