One of the many leftist groups active in the US today calling for deep cuts to the defense budget and for the gutting of the US military is a group calling itself “Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities”. It’s not actually a group businessmen, but rather a project of the extremely leftist, George Soros funded “Center for American Progress”, and it includes well known anti-defense hacks such as Franklin C. “Chuck” Spinney, who has been proven to have been lying numerous times. BSLP calls for deep (15%) cuts in defense spending and for the money currently spent on defense to be redirected towards (federal spending on) education, healthcare, “alternative energy”, foreign aid, and deficit reduction.
This proposal is downright destructive (not to mention unconstitutional), and I will show you why.
But first, it must be pointed out that the US already spends more than enough on education, healthcare, and failed “alternative energy” projects, and far more than any other country in the world.
Regarding education, America already spends more money on it – in absolute terms and per student – than any other country in the world by far, yet, there are no results to show for this huge spending. American schools and students consistently rank among the worst in the OECD. In the latest available (2009) PISA rankings, they ranked 17th in reading, 31st in maths, and 23rd in science.
This is in part because the federal and state governments spend so much on education without asking schools, students, or teachers and their unions for anything in return. This is also in large part due to federal meddling with education, which must be completely ended if American schools are to improve substantially. This means abolishing the unconstitutional federal Education Department and federal education spending (or returning it back to the states without strings attached).
Regarding healthcare, again, the US spends far more on it than any other country in the world by far – well over $2 trillion every year. Half of it is government spending (federal, state, and local), and half of it is in the private sector. It amounts to 17% of America’s GDP and is headed towards 20% of GDP. $2 trillion per year is spent on treating cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s diseases alone (the four most common diseases and causes of death in the US.) The federal Department of Health and Human Services alone has an annual budget of $900 bn, making it by far the largest department of the federal government. State, local, and private expenditures increase the annual healthcare cost to well over $2 trillion. Yet, apparently, this is not enough for these BLSP/CAP Soros-funded liberals.
And as knowledgeable people from both sides of the aisle – Republicans as well as Democrats like Sam Nunn – recognize – America’s healthcare spending, both governmental and private – is too high and unsustainable and constitutes a drag on the economy. Accordingly, it needs to be reduced. (Ordinary Americans could reduce healthcare costs by $1 trillion per year by adopting healthy lifestyles.)
“Alternative energy sources” and projects have proven themselves to be totally useless and uneconomical. As decades of Western experimentations with these green boondoggles have proven, they are not, and will never be, even close to economical. They require huge capital and ongoing subsidies, without which they would die. In a free market, they could never compete. (And it is NOT the proper role of any government – federal, state, or local – to pick winners and losers in a market.)
Foreign aid has been a total waste of money. The US has tried, and continues to try, curry favor with various regimes that either turn against the US or waste the money on their leaders’ lavish lifestyles.
Furthermore, foreign aid and federal spending on education, healthcare, and “alternative energy sources” are unconstitutional, because the Constitution does NOT authorize the Congress to spend money on any of these things. The Constitution limits the objects on which the Congress can spend money to those listed here.
Under the Constitution, education, healthcare, and “alternative energy sources” are just a few of the myriad of issues reserved to the states and the people.
And the federal government is supposed to operate according to the Constitution, not the wishes of a few extremely leftist “businessmen” and anti-defense hacks.
Last but certainly not least, cuts of the depth demanded by BLSP – cuts as deep as 15% – would gut the US military, thus jeopardizing national security. The DOD’s FY2012 base budget was $531 bn, and cutting it by 15% would mean cutting it by $79.65 bn, i.e. down to just $451.35 bn – not even nearly enough to fund even the military’s basic functions, such as nuclear deterrence. This is because a strong military – let alone the strongest military on Earth – cannot be maintained on the cheap. It requires substantial, continuing funding. It cannot be done with a paltry annual budget like $451.35 bn. It would not be enough.
Maintaining a strong military requires substantial funding for missions such as:
- Providing air superiority to control the airspace over America itself (and Canada), which requires a large number of advanced 5th generation aircraft to defeat incoming enemy aircraft (including bombers and their escort fighters);
- Providing a large ground army to protect America’s land borders, or at least, the long border with Mexico, where a full-scale war with drug cartels is already ongoing (don’t take my word for it – visit Arizona);
- Patrolling America’s long coasts: the two vast ocean costs and the Gulf Coast (where the Russians sometimes sent Akula class subs), and protecting the undersea resources and fishing areas in US territorial waters;
- Providing a large, modern, survivable nuclear deterrent (which requires a large, survivable, modern nuclear triad and a large nuclear stockpile);
- Providing a multi-layered missile defense system to protect the homeland;
- Providing the human, space-, air-, sea-, and ground-based intelligence capabilities to collect all pertinent intel data about America’s enemies and making informed decisions about national security issues;
- Providing the administrative support required;
- Providing the healthcare, retirement, housing, and family support programs for the military’s members;
- Providing a military judicial system; and
- Other national security requirements.
And that’s just for the purpose of defending America itself (to say nothing of protecting America’s allies). Each of these missions requires substantial funding for the US military to be able to carry it out successfully and thus defeat America’s enemies.
The fact is that a strong military cannot be maintained on the cheap. Substantial, continued funding is required to provide the troops, training, fuel, ammunition, spare parts, maintenance, base infrastructure, and equipment needed to keep the US military strong and to provide for America’s security.
While there is some waste in the budget of the DOD (and every other government agency), there isn’t enough waste in it to cut it as deeply as sequestration would require. (Note: crucial weapon programs such as the Next Gen Bomber, the SSBN replacement program, or the V-22 are not “waste.”)
Better business practices such as fixed-price contracts, multi-year orders, base closure, and TRICARE reforms (all of which have to be authorized by Congress, BTW) can save money, but not enough to allow for deep defense budget cuts. The reality is that high-quality people, weapons, base infrastructure, and training are not and will never be cheap. In other words, defense on the cheap is not possible.
In short, defense on the cheap is not possible. Deep defense cuts are exactly that – deep cuts in America’s defense capabilities. With a significantly reduced defense budget, it will not be possible to pay for the missions that need to be carried out and for the weapons, units, and training the military will need to carry out those missions and counter our enemies’ current and projected capabilities.