Monday, September 30, 2019

This week on Right, Left, Center

Lets talk about Defense Spending!


Conservatives, especially leadership feel that the majority of our tax money should go towards defense spending. A strong military is an important part of national security. However Conservatives also believe in smaller government and lower taxes.


Liberals and Progressives (there is a difference) believe that the majority of the governments spending should be domestic. The Left is more willing to pay higher taxes but want the money spent wisely and according to their priorities.


Both sides agree that a strong military is vital to protecting the country. The dispute between them is a matter of how much is enough and where the priorities are. Unfortunately this is also confused with pork barrel politics and lobbying. Defense contractors lobby Congress for further increases in spending so they can make and sell more stuff. A Corrupt Congress will do what gets them the most money, influence, and power. Also defense contractors may operate factories, research facilities and other things in a Congress persons district which can affect voting. And House Reps especially are supposed to look after their districts and the people who voted them into office. Senators look after their states but are generally supposed to have a long view on whats good for the country and act that way.
All too often when the Budget is figured out Republicans raise military spending, even above what the military requests. If Democrats object they are called unpatriotic and if they want to match the increase domestically they are called wasteful and accused of just wanting to raise taxes.
This leads to a partisan mess that hurts the country and wastes tax payers money.

Choosing Priorities

No one really likes paying taxes or wants them to go up. However money has to be raised to be spent.
So the question is not do we spend it but how do we spend it and when is enough enough?
US Military spending is typically over  half the US budget in discretionary spending. So if taxes are to be lowered its an obvious place to look for cuts. If we cut too much we make ourselves vulnerable, which is unacceptable. So again how much is enough?
The US outspends every other country in the world on defense, and by a large margin. In fact we typically spend as much as the next 5 to 10 top spending countries combined! The count varies from year to year but its always a lot more than others.
Here is a fairly recent example but this has been measured for various years by many companies.
In deciding if we spend enough the question has to be asked. Why do we need to spend more than everyone else year after year to be safe?
Is Congress saying the American military is so bad it can only win if it costs so much more than anyone elses?
Regime change wars are ineffective and usually turnout bad for us. We win the war but turn the people of the country against us and build up more anti-US sentiment which spawns more problems, including terrorism.
I think we need a strong defense but not t be involved in so many wars or prop up defense contractors. Imagine if we put a hundred billion into repairing our roads, airports, new dam and water projects to better manage flooding, renewable energy to combat climate change, etc. We could create thousands of new jobs very quickly and save more American lives.

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