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Cutting Defense Spending, cont.

By Taylor Marvin



Another insightful post by Daniel Larison on why, despite the current national debt obsession, the least useful large portion of the federal budget is off limits for everyone with any actual influence in government, Democrat or Republican:

“That makes things sound rather grim, and perhaps they are. The constituencies that strongly support reductions in military spending are progressives, libertarians and deficit hawks, which also happen to be three constituencies with the least influence in their respective parties when it comes to national security policies. Obama’s military budgets are huge because there are no significant political obstacles to making them that way and there are no political incentives to make them smaller. A first, small step in changing the way we talk about military spending involves referring to military spending as just that. If military spending is ever going to be reduced, most Americans will need to acknowledge that the vast majority of military spending has a tenuous or non-existent relationship to the defense of the United States. At the very least, critics of that spending should avoid casually referring to it as defense spending, when that is not the purpose of most of these expenditures.”

This is completely true. The vast majority of the military budget has absolutely no bearing on the security and safety of the United States. And unlike the entitlement programs that, together with military spending, dominate the federal budget our defense spending doesn’t really buy us anything. America is no safer for our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spending half of the planet’s military budget is far, far beyond what is necessary to provide a reasonable deterrence to our potential enemies. Entitlement spending, while rapidly becoming unaffordable, does real good- it improves the lives of our seniors and America’s poor in a way that has an enormous positive impact on society. I’m not sure you can say the same for what we spend on war.

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