John Stossel

John Stossel Tweaks Donald Rumsfeld on Military Spending


Reason columnist and Fox Business reporter John Stossel was called upon to introduce former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last night at a Washington Times 30th anniversary shindig and violated standard D.C. politesse by critiquing military spending. Mediaite reports:

Rather than heap the requisite praise upon Rumsfeld, outspoken libertarian…Stossel said he didn't know why he was assigned to introduce Rumsfeld because "I'm very skeptical of our involvement in many parts of the world."

"We're going broke. Can we afford to keep spending 600 billion dollars on our military?" he reportedlycontinued on during the introduction. Stossel has long been a critic of bloated government spending on all things — from entitlements to the military to free golf-carts.

Rumsfeld for his part insisted that military spending is no problemo–it's just "entitlements" that we have to worry about, sounding very entitled on the part of the ever-growing and ever-hungry-for-more military machine.

It is difficult to say that programs that constitute around 20 percent of the budget and have almost doubled in the past decade in constant dollar terms, programs that provide almost nothing of actual value to the people of the United States other than killing people, making enemies, continuing outmoded alliances, and feeding the military-industrial complex, can be ignored when it comes to managing the federal budget.

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  1. Where’s he getting $600B from? I was under the impression that DoD spending alone was around $700B, and total defense spending was more in the neighborhood of $900B.

  2. nothing of actual value to the people of the United States other than killing people

    In truth, I can think of a number of people whose deaths would greatly benefit the American people. Well, the Americans that are left, as most of the people on my list are Americans. So I guess that means we’ll have to drone process them.

  3. …other than killing people, making enemies, continuing outmoded alliances, and feeding the military-industrial complex…

    I think we’re all old enough and sufficiently well educated to make our own judgements, but thanks for the editorializing anyway, Doherty.

    1. what kind of site do you think this is?

  4. Normally I’m a big fan of Stossel, but his criticism is a bit misplaced here. Rumsfeld has been an advocate of a smaller, more-flexible military for quite some time, and a lot of the badmouthing he received over his conduct of the Iraq war was backlash from the generals angry at the prospect of him taking away their toys, changing mission emphasis away from things they preferred, and in the case of the Army, his idea of making the basic operational unit the Brigade instead of the Division.

    Further, where the US is involved is ultimately the President’s decision. If you don’t like (say) our intervention in Libya, your beef is with President Obama, not with Secretary Panetta. If you support the intervention but think it was handled badly, then your beef is with the Secretary of Defense.

    Lastly, when Rumsfeld says that entitlements are where the bulk of the spending is, he’s correct, as your link shows. Entitlements add up to 54%. 5420.

    1. Apparently, the greater-than symbol is a no-no here. That last bit was supposed to be 54 (greater than symbol) 20.

      1. I thought the typo was the “5” trying horn in on the “420”. My bad.

  5. But if we cut defense spending everyone who makes the weapons will be out of a job!

    1. I’ll buy a grenade launcher if that’ll keep employment numbers up.

      1. I know this isn’t an actual argument, but if my choice were between taking jobs from social workers at HHS, or taking them from gunsmiths at Remington…

        1. Why bother looking at it like that? It isn’t one or the other, it has to be both.

          1. Hence the “I know this isn’t an actual argument” part.

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