A question for our conservative Tea Party Patriots?Â If you want to cut wasteful government spending, at what point do we cut the defense budget?
With the Obama administration’s support for the Automobile industry reviled as creating “Government Motors,” a point lots on so many “thirfty” Tea Partiers was the vast number of businesses in the automotive industries supply chain — many small business — that employ hundreds of thousands of people (drive by the Old Sunset Ford in Westminster to see what I mean).Â Now that the automobile industry has stablizied, the Government’s helping hand helped to save tens of thousands of jobs.Â
In yesterday’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof suggested the US spends too much on defense and has bases in places in the world where we simply don’t need to be any longer.
From the column:Â ”
â€¢ The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.
â€¢ The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago. Do we fear that if we pull our bases from Germany, Russia might invade?
â€¢ The intelligence community is so vast that more people have â€œtop secretâ€ clearance than live in Washington, D.C.
â€¢ The U.S. will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined.
Kristoff makes a case that our security depends on not only a strong military but a strong diplomatic effort.Â And he says there are other ways we can bolster our security, mainly through improving our educational and economic flanks as well.Â California and Orange County both rely heavily on the Defense Industry.Â Many companies and workers here are part of the military supply chain.Â How many of those employed by or who manage companies in this supply chain spoek out against the government assistance given General Motors?Â The only difference is that the Military doesn’t have a P/L statement for shareholders.Â
There is no question we must be the world’s mightiest military force.Â But do we really need to spend six times the budget that China does?Â Or spending significant;y more than the rest of the world combined?Â Paying soliders better might encourage greater recruitment and less need for mercenaries from Blackwater (sorry, Xe Corp.) which cost taxpyaers a lot more.Â Closing some bases might also make sense.Â How about paying for weapons systems that actually work.
They should remind themselves that in the 21st century, our government can protect its citizens in many ways: financing research against disease, providing early childhood programs that reduce crime later, boosting support for community colleges, investing in diplomacy that prevents costly wars.
“As we cut budgets, letâ€™s remember that these steps would, on balance, do far more for the security of Americans than a military base in Germany.”