Government Spending

Are Republicans Ready to Acknowledge the Difference Between Military Spending and Defense Spending?


The Washington Post reports that House Republicans, while firmly opposed to new taxes as a way of reducing federal borrowing, may be warming to the idea of defense cuts, historically anathema to Team Elephant:

Senior GOP lawmakers and leadership aides said it would be far easier to build support for a debt-reduction package that cuts the Pentagon budget—a key Democratic demand—than one that raises revenue by tinkering with the tax code….

"When we say everything is on the table, that's what we mean," said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the No. 3 leader who has been hosting the listening sessions in his Capitol offices.

Freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) could serve as a poster boy for the new breed of conservatives who are eager to wipe out government waste and inefficiency, no matter where they find it. Kinzinger, an active-duty Air National Guardsman who flew missions in Iraq, fought successfully last month to cut a request for $100 million to buy new flight suits for Air Force pilots. The old ones, he argued, are good enough.

Defense spending is "a pillar of Republican strength. It's a pillar of national strength. Look, I know there are sacred cows," Kinzinger said in an interview. "But we cannot afford them anymore."…

The old GOP hawks are finding that their tea-party-influenced troops are more interested in saving money than protecting turf at the Pentagon. Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a leader among the 87 House Republican freshmen, said the military budget is widely viewed as loaded with pork that has little bearing on the day-to-day battles in Afghanistan and other hot spots.

"If there are sacred cows, we ought to find them and get rid of them," said Scott, who represents a district where more than a third of voters hail from military families.

"I would never support anything that would reduce the safety of the troops on the ground," said Rep. Robert Hurt (R-Va.), a freshman whose district runs south from Charlottesville. "But bureaucracy is bureaucracy, and there are ways to get at it, even in the Pentagon."

While I'd like to believe that Republicans are finally seeing the light on military spending, these comments suggest otherwise. When one country with no hostile nations on its borders is spending nearly as much on military programs as all the other countries of the world combined, the solution has to go beyond trimming pork, cutting back on "bureaucracy," or insisting that pilots get more mileage out of their flight suits. The fundamental problem is that most of our so-called defense budget is spent on things that have little or nothing to do with defense, such as protecting wealthy allies who are perfectly capable of protecting themselves, attacking tinpot dictators who pose no threat to us, and responding to terrorist attacks with doomed, decade-long nation-building projects. Far from being the top priority that needs to be protected, "the day-to-day battles in Afghanistan and other hot spots" are emblematic of the fuzziness and overreach that make the U.S. "defense" budget so absurdly bloated.

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  1. Look, I know there are sacred cows,” Kinzinger said in an interview. “But we cannot afford them anymore.”…

    “If there are sacred cows, we ought to find them and get rid of them,”

    Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.

    1. Beef Barrel Spending!

  2. Remember everyone, it’s the military that protects us from the scourge of lower taxes.

    Who knows what kind of trouble we individuals would get into if we had more money to spend.

    God bless ’em!

  3. I’ll believe it when I see an actual sacred cow cut. Talk is cheap.

    1. Money walks, bullshit talks.

  4. They should also cut the TSA’s budget dramatically to the point they cannot afford any more radioactive naked body scanners.

  5. Jury Convicts Blagojevich

    A federal jury on Monday found former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty of 17 counts of corruption, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

    The jury found Mr. Blagojevich not guilty on one of 20 corruption counts in his second trial and deadlocked on two other counts. The verdicts came more than two years after Mr. Blagojevich, 54 years old, was arrested by federal agents.

    Jurors told the judge they couldn’t agree on two counts and were confident they wouldn’t concur even if they kept deliberating.…..TopStories

    1. 17 out of 20; this cat is going to prison for a good long while.

      It just makes me sick that Obama, who is bigger criminal than Blago is, gets to serve out the remainder of his term instead of sharing his cell.

      1. Elections suck!

  6. The Military Budget is a sacred cow.

  7. When one country with no hostile nations on its borders is spending

    Says you…

    1. Hah! I knew it! Stephen Harper is really Mance Rayder, isn’t he?

      1. So do we have a hot Canadian redhead to play Ygrite?

      2. If Canada is beyond the Wall, what is the Wall?

        1. Wisconsin. The Wall is made of cheese.

      3. The land where The wildlings say “eh?”

  8. troops now supportless
    to survive campaigns will need
    to be up-armored

    1. Massive and armored
      the carrier battle group
      is not that useful

  9. I wrote a piece on this subject last week,lets hope someone starts to get the picture:

    1. Hello, Operator? Tell her no one gives a shit.

  10. A long time ago, I spent a few months playing a lot of solitaire as a drone in the military-industrial complex. The only solution is to burn down Johnstown, PA, I think.

    1. The only winning move is not to play.

      Or to move the red queen on that black king.

  11. I wonder what an adequate force to protect the U.S. would look like?
    Anybody sufficiently informed on military affairs to speak authoritatively on how big the blue water navy should be, how many combat brigades of marines, infantry, armor, fighter and bomber wings;
    nuclear missile subs, strength in Reserve and Guard units. Seems to me that Intelligence in this day and age would give plenty of warning if, say, China started building a huge fleet of landing craft, carriers, etc. and the U.S. would have plenty of time to respond.

    1. Direct military action with China is not really the issue. That’s what our nuclear weapons are a deterrent for. It’s more an issue of whether we need to get involved militarily in far-flung regions in order to protect our national interest. That’s a harder call, even I certainly think we need to bring the troops home from Europe and Korea. But do we need some kind of rapid-deployment capability in or near the Middle East? Access to oil is a pretty important part of our national interest for the foreseeable future.

      1. What are they going to do, drink it?

        1. No, use it, moron.

    2. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that major weapons systems programs are not something you just turn on and off like a light switch. If you want to be able to build nuclear subs, aircraft carriers, jet fighters, modern tanks, etc. in a pinch, you need to spend on the industrial base during the times that you don’t need the hardware. If you don’t, then the shipyards shut down, the engineers, shipyard labor, etc. go work in other fields, and you can’t just ramp up real fast. Many European countries, especially the brits, have found this out the hard way.

    3. “I wonder what an adequate force to protect the U.S. would look like?”

      About 235 million privately owned firearms.

    4. Your warning is already here, dude. The Chinese bought an old Russian carrier to learn how to conduct operations, and are currently building two new ones.

      They’re also having a snit over the rights to the South China Sea that involves Vietnam (who we don’t care about) and the Philippines (who we do).

      Further, North Korea is in a very unpredictable state, as Kim Jong-il is getting old and sick, and the military isn’t real excited about his chosen successor.

      1. Meh… The PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) is converting the mothballed (and unfinished because the Russians ran out of money) carrier they bought from Ukraine into a permanently dry-docked training vessel. That might be complete by 2020. They are not building their own carriers, they realize that the age of the CBG is over so they are focused on anti-ship, area denial, & anti-satellite capability. They hope to be able to operate out to the 3rd island chain by 2050 but will not have a true blue-water navy anytime in the next 100 years. They can’t even conduct operations across the Taiwan Straits for fear of the US 7th Fleet. This Yellow-Peril threat is VASTLY overrated.

    5. Oh, and as to how big …

      It depends on what your mission is. I’m a believer in the Uni-polar World, where the U.S. is the policeman. It’s not a popular view here, but one of the things that a well-armed (and aggressive) foreign policy gets you is stability — withdrawing U.S. influence leads to predictable consequences as the other nations try to fill the hole.

      We are seeing it start to play in the Far East. With the U.S. backing off, the Chinese are becoming more assertive. This is causing tensions with India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan. Without U.S. power to back International Law, the locals would likely band together against China, which would increase the likelihood of a conflict.

      Think Africa over the last thirty years — that would be about how stable the world would be without us. Given that some of the idiot players have nukes and missiles, it gets real dicey.

      The worst part is that, internal to autocratic nations, challenging the U.S. is necessary. We’re the example of how successful a liberal democracy can be, and we’re their enemy simply by existing. Our actions (in that regard) don’t matter.

      1. How exactly is a constitutional republic an example of a liberal democracy?

      2. Sounds like Rome. At least they looted the grateful countries they brought their civilization to, and shipped the happy slaves back home. How is the US empire supposed to be funded?

    6. Our military’s current mission is a consequence of its size. You change the size, you change the mission. Everyone in this thread has the cause/effect ass backwards. It’s impossible to change the mission itself because politicians will ex post facto justify any foreign incursion as a need to maintain current spending.

      Also, the idea of a foreign invasion of the US is completely laughable. It’s like the bulk of the population still hasn’t woken up to the fact that Cold War ended 20 years ago and the last foreign boot touching US soil was 200 years ago.

    7. I wonder what an adequate force to protect the U.S. would look like?

      I think that 50 state militias/national guard units could handle the job of defense. A rifle behind every blade of grass to greet the invaders and all that.

  12. this sacred cow has alotta teats. for example, eack indiv packet inside an MRE comes fm a diff state. gonna be tough but gotta be done. we probably DONT need a super-nimitz class mega-carrier

  13. No. And why should we? Our constituents don’t know the fucking difference. And why should we stop pouring money into ‘defense’? Its where the big bucks are. Nothing says, “power” like funding a fucking Aircraft Carrier. And you can’t get blamed for “porking up the budget” either. Win-Win.

    1. Can I vote for you?

  14. “Defense spending is damaging spending. Many of us believe it does more harm than good to our people and to our reputation in the world,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). “If we can get $100 billion from reducing unneeded military spending, that’s better than $100 billion in taxation.”

    Because then we can just spend that $100 billion somewhere else! Fuck yeah!

    1. “If we can get $100 billion from reducing unneeded military spending, that’s better than $100 billion in taxation.”

      I presume Barney will sponsor a bill to shut down Hanscom AFB any day now.

  15. Seriously, northern Europe is not about to erupt in a spate of war and Korea and Japan are not about to fall to Mr. Jung Il. Let’s say we close our bases and stop spending to send our troops to patrol the world we’re not at war with.

    1. Jobs, jobs, jobs…

    2. Agreed. I also want to see the USA stop defending the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. However, we should pull back in stages so we don’t leave a power vacuum.

    3. Lost_In_Translation|6.27.11 @ 5:31PM|#
      “Seriously, northern Europe is not about to erupt in a spate of war…”

      And if it is, the damn Euros can defend themselves.

  16. Americans are born to pay taxes to finance America’s wars. We now own Iraq, Afghanistan, and want a piece of Pakistan, and we’re gonna share Libya with our semi-socialist Euro-trash friends. I have a bottomless well of the treasury to loot….

  17. we know the difference,but maybe we can’t define them.

  18. US Foreign Policy – 38 comments. Michelle Bachman gaffe – 280. Going to be a long 16 months.

  19. Do magazine editors believe receipts come marked with a “D” for Democratic binges, and an “R” for Republican?

    “Boeing has just been caught spending $37 dollars for nut and bolt retainers for the Army’s CH-47 helicopter, but charging the Army an average of $381.78, according to a recent Department of Defense’s (DoD) inspector general’s (IG) report.” –Dina Rasor,…..1308754483

    1. Dina Rasor is a less than useless cunt. She brags about exposing all the overpriced spare-parts and toilet seats in the 1980s. What she still doesn’t understand is that DOD wasn’t so much paying outrageous prices as it was noting outrageous prices in the ledger, paying a reasonable price and using the remainder of the claimed sum to fund special operations/intelligence collection off budget. My shop was gutted when we lost funding, we all had to return to line units.

      1. So in other words, you believe secret off-budget funding is okay in a representative republic. Why not just list the spending request as special operations/intelligence, and leave the details for implementation?

        1. No, you are simply projecting and inferring. I never claimed to be happy or satisfied with the funding methodology (it was actually my military career that spurred my awaking to libertarianism). I was simply pointing out that while there are most certainly examples (many, many examples) of waste fraud and abuse in DOD procurement, Rasor’s old trope about DOD paying $300 for toilet seats is just as inaccurate now as it was when she first slithered out into the sun and promulgated it in the 1980s.

  20. Two thoughts:

    1. Military pork is still pork.

    2. Military pork is worse than other forms of pork, because it creates useless/destructive material.

    1. 2. Military pork is worse than other forms of pork, because it creates useless/destructive material.

      The most influential nations in history would disagree with you that military pork is useless–it is the primary lever for how they spread their culture abroad, after all. Whether you think it adds value to humanity is an entirely separate issue.

  21. “Military pork is worse than other forms of pork, because it creates useless/destructive material.”

    Yeah, like the internet, computers, jet engines, nuclear power plants and biomedical sensors, etc., etc.

    Ooops, I guess that you’re down to one thought.

  22. I agree with everything except the reference to not having hostile nations on our borders. We didn’t in WWII, either.

    Once again, you show the utter incompetence of capital L Libertarians when it comes to the discussion of defense. But anyway…continue to be the looney party nobody that matters will ever care about, listen to, or vote for.

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