Defense Spending

Are Republicans "the Cocaine Monkeys of Defense Spending"?


Over at The Daily Beast, Reason columnist and Mercatus policy analyst Veronique de Rugy calls congressional Republicans "the cocaine monkeys of defense spending."

The opening battle in Congress over the fiscal 2016 budget is illustrative. Ever since Congress and the Obama administration capped the defense budget under the 2011 Budget Control Act—the so-called "sequester" agreement that allowed the debt ceiling to increase—Republican military hawks and their conservative backers have been chomping at the bit to undo the so-called "damage." It was actually quite funny—for a while—to watch Republicans become full-blown Keynesians, arguing that defense cuts would destroy the economy and threaten jobs.

Back when the Afghanistan and Iraq wars started, the Republican majority created a fund for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) that wasn't limited by normal budgetary constraints. As de Rugy documented in a 2008 Reason cover story, the use of such funds allowed the GOP to spend tons of money without having to fully account for it in normal ways. The party of Lincoln is still at it:

How much money does the GOP want to shove into the OCO slush fund? Both the House and Senate budget resolutions would add $38 billion to the president's $58 billion OCO request for a total of $96 billion. That $96 billion would be on top of base national defense funding of $523 billion, which is the maximum allowable under the caps, for a total of $619 billion.

I understand that this move is an attempt to appease both sides of the Republican Party, the defense hawks and the debt hawks. But it remains infuriating. Instead of just busting the defense cap and finally dropping any pretense that they were ever serious about tackling the Pentagon's bloat, the GOP decided to make a mockery of it.

Indeed. Whatever else you can say about President Obama, he openly flouts the budget caps (and wants to spend $612 billion on defense, the softy). De Rugy divines the likely outcome of this whole situation: When push comes to shove, the GOP will compromise with the president, giving him more domestic spending in exchange for getting more defense spending.

A regular Washington win-win, except for the taxpayers, of course.

Read the whole Beast piece here.

And as long as we're talking about cocaine monkeys, Stop the Madness!:

NEXT: Who owns the sperm? A fascinating case from Israel

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    1. It’s the name of my band, now.

    2. Agile Cyborg.

      1. Nice.

        1. Said with love, of course. I actually have to plagiarize to show how much I admire AC:

          “The man’s enlarged my mind. He’s a poet warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he’ll… uh… well, you’ll say “hello” to him, right? And he’ll just walk right by you. He won’t even notice you. And suddenly he’ll grab you, and he’ll throw you in a corner, and he’ll say, “Do you know that ‘if’ is the middle word in life? If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you”… I mean I’m… no, I can’t… I’m a little man, I’m a little man, he’s… he’s a great man! I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas…”

          1. I think AC neared his zenith last night, in case you missed him.

            1. We’ll never reach peak AC.

              1. The dude is a National Treasure. Without Nick Cage…

            2. Oh, I saw it. It was magnificent. His ability to go from completely lucid to wonderfully bizarre is truly a treat.

              We’re lucky to have him. Dulls the pain of losing Herc.

              1. “The madness was magnificent in its magnitude.” – that’s how I referred to his posts this morning.

                1. Perfect.

              2. Oh, yeah. I missed last night’s performance, but the Cyborg has a genuine gift.

                For what, I couldn’t really say, but I’m glad he shares it with us.

    3. Sounds like an excellent name for a cocktail.

      1. Actually, “Agile Cyborg” wouldn’t be a bad name for a cocktail, either.

  1. Yes, next question.

    1. Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

      1. No, we should all wear Pope hats

        1. Doesn’t Popehat? have a ? on that?

      2. This always reminds me in the 70’s when I was running cross country, and the pope had just expired….we’re on the bus back from the meet, telling jokes. And old Pete R. answers the “bear in the woods” question with, “…is the Pope dead??”

        We all laughed so hard…

        And every time, to this day, that I hear “Pope” I think “…is the Pope dead?”

        “Do you really think that?” “Hey! Is the Pope dead?!”

    2. Answer to next question is 42

      1. What is the next question?

        1. Yes.

          1. HITLER!!! THE ANSWER IS HITLER!!!

        2. What is the next question?



  2. Fuck

    You fucs

    1. Indeed. I keep saying this, but the WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE BECAUSE WE DON’T SPEND A ROUND TRILLION ON DEFENSE Republicans are getting ridiculous. We can spend less if we’d stop wasting so much money and if we’d operate on a more strategic basis, using military force only as a last resort and only to advance our actual interests. And people like Hugh Hewitt who act like our waste is a trivial part of the overall spending are full of shit. We have whole programs that serve political, not military, purposes.

      Another thing is that getting government spending under control is hugely important to our current and future economic well being. If we don’t do that, we’re going to start losing our military supremacy, anyway. The biggest threat to our defense right now is our economic situation.

  3. They have had a long history of this but now the Republicans don’t even seem to care how much money is wasted. Just keep on pumping money in no matter how little results they get.

    They are matching the Democrats who do the same for their pet programs

    1. The sick thing is, they never really oppose the other side’s programs. They make noise, but magically never have the votes to kill it. I agree with the reptile up above:

      Fuck you, cut spending.

      1. It would help if the Democrats would slash and burn military spending when in power and Republicans would slash and burn welfare spending when in power.

        1. But what about “reaching across the aisle”? Or is it “reach-around”? I can never remember…

          1. We should require one side to be made of matter, the other antimatter.

          2. In all seriousness, it’s not the lack of cooperation between the parties that’s the problem. It’s the lack of conflict. Ditto with the branches.

  4. Yeah, I can’t remember which retard I heard most recently on the satellite radio whining about how the US military (PBUI) was being “gutted” by it’s now-meager budget.

    And I thought, “Dude, the budget just keeps increasing? WTF are you talking about….”

    Then it was “they’ve mothballed more ships than at any time since WWI. And there are [some absurd number in the thousands of] Admirals with no command! While all those ships are in dry dock.”

    And I thought, “sounds like we need [some absurd number in the thousands] fewer Admirals, too…”


    1. Clearly you hate the troops and want the terrists to win, Almanian.

      Oh – and you forgot about Nine-Eleven.

      (heavy sarcasm)

      1. Yes sir, you got it!

      2. Umpteen thousand Admirals without a command! WITHOUT A COMMAND!!!

        I think ” too many Admirals” – they think “too few ships”

        And ne’er the twain shall meet…

  5. The Republicans are the “hammer”, strenuously supporting the Pentagon on principle, while various Democrats are the “anvil”, protecting wasteful spending that lines the pockets of their constituencies. Our wallets are the pulp in between.

    1. my brain hurts

      /DP Gumbey

  6. So, the guy who filmed the death of Eric Garner was repeatedly harassed and arrested by the NYPD. Guards at Riker’s Island also tried to poison him. However, he made bail and will be released in a few days:…..trike.html

    1. Let’s hope he makes bank on his civil rights lawsuit.

      Its too much to even hope that the scum who harassed, assaulted, and attempted to kill him will ever even be charged, of course.

  7. There is a youtube channel called Dear White People. The comedy is about as ham-fisted as you would expect:

    1. There is literally nothing less funny than SJW “humor”. The degree to which these people have no sense of humor (which seems to be a prerequisite for the label) is astounding.

      1. Oh, you think that’s funny, cis-privileged shitlord?

        Of course you do….

        *walks off in disgusted huff*

      2. There is literally nothing less intentionally funny than SJW “humor”. The degree to which these people have no sense of humor (which seems to be a prerequisite for the label) is astounding.


    2. Well, that’s two and a half minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

  8. Senator Cotton recently claimed about how he wanted to restore the $1 trillion in cuts the DoD has supposedly suffered BEFORE the sequester.

    The freshman senator from Arkansas is making a strong run for most hawkish senator. I honestly thought it’d be hard to beat the McCain-Graham “bomb everything all the time” duopoly.

    1. What this economy needs RIGHT NOW is one trillion dollars more deficit spending!

      HELL YES!

      1. When our economy implodes, how will we pay for our weapons and personnel then?

    2. I initially read “bomb everything all the time” as “boob everything all the time”…I like my version better.

      1. You’re familiar with the Peace Whores, I see.

  9. The greatest youtube comment I have seen in a while:

    And then a T-Rex came out of nowhere and was like “RAWR I’M GONNA EAT YOU RAWRAWRAWR!!!!”

    I like my story better. It doesn’t have any dumbed-down racial or gender propaganda in it.?

    1. Tell the truth – that was you, wasn’t it?

      1. I prefer to troll in real life. This happened about 5 years ago:

        Even so, some of the participants in the event expressed displeasure about at least one of the other protesters who turned out that morning.

        As Thomas Harty stood in front of the courthouse, facing the street and holding a sign that he said was protesting “stupid political slogans,” a woman moved in front of him, appearing to block the sign from view. Members of the media who attempted to talk to Harty and photograph his sign also were initially blocked by fellow protesters who moved between the reporter and Harty.

        “They don’t appreciate my irony,” Harty said of his sign, which stated “Stop the children, Tax the whales, Save the drugs.”

        1. When the other protesters moved from in front of him, a third individual came up behind Harty, holding a sign over his head that decried him as an “infiltrator.” Meanwhile, a woman ripped a yellow sticker from his sign. Officials said the sticker had been placed there to show that the sign was approved, though they were unsure how Harty obtained the sticker.

          Harty said the claims that he was an “infiltrator” were untrue. He identified himself as a Libertarian, and said he supports the tea party movement’s stance on lowering government spending, as well as their take on other principles.

          Others were skeptical, and said there had been reports of people planning to attend tax day tea parties across the country with fake signs in an attempt to give the movement a bad name.

          Rucker said Harty previously attended other events the local tea party group had held without incident. She said she didn’t think he came to Thursday’s event with any ill intentions.


          1. Hah. Well played.

            …in an attempt to give the movement a bad name.


            1. They were so unafraid of being mocked that the ended up being mocked even more.
              The same thing happened to Winger, the band which was single-handedly destroyed by Beavis and Butthead:

              Winger was the subject of constant ridicule in MTV’s animated series Beavis and Butt-head during the mid-1990s. The neighbor boy Stewart, who was always trying to be accepted by Beavis and Butt-head, was usually depicted wearing a Winger T-shirt, as opposed to the Metallica and AC/DC shirts worn by the title characters. Beavis and Butt-head thought of them as “wussies”, belittling their videos ? especially the “Seventeen” video. According to the documentary Taint of Greatness: Part 2 on the Mike Judge Collection Volume 2 DVD, this was due to Kip Winger telling MTV he would not let the show make fun of him.

              1. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

                Always be in on the joke. It probably would have extended Kip’s (pathetic) career.

              2. I mean, if they had not rushed to block my sign, I doubt the media would have noticed me.

    2. That’s fucking awesome. Worth a visit to the Youtubes for that one!

      PS Hope you enjoy being a little closer to the “recycling bin”, Derpetologist

      /privilege noted

    3. My favorite Youtube comment of all time-

      1. +1

        excellent 🙂

    4. In a just world, that comment would be optioned by a Hollywood studio for at least six figures.

  10. Defense spending as a share of GDP, 1947 to 2020.
    Defense spending as a share of total federal spending, 1935 to 2020.

    As you can pretty clearly see from both graphs, both numbers are on the verge of reach all-time lows in the post World War II area.

    So chill out everyone, we’re almost Europe already. Just give it a couple more years.

    1. Mike, I’m not an isolationist, but I think we could probably decrease total spending and stop wasting the fuck out of money without diminishing our effective military power.

      A lot of military spending is like NASA spending–jobs programs and political graft wrapped in a flag. Not all of it, no, but way too much.

      We need to get all spending under control, or our economic weakness will turn into military weakness in short order.

      1. But this applies to every budget item. Why does Reason harp on defense spending? It is after all the most constitutionally legitimate spending. Last time the Republicans tried to reduce spending Obama shut the governent down and Gillespie and Sunderman got really mad at Republicans. Gillespie wants to reduce the budget only insofar as it doesn’t alienate leftists.

        1. On the other hand, it is kind of tough for people to take the party demanding low taxes and spending seriously when they’re demanding increases for some spending.

        2. It is after all the most constitutionally legitimate spending.

          no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years

    2. WTF does defense spending have to do with GDP?

      Why on earth would there be any connection?

      If somebody invents something new and doubles GDP, do so many new threats spontaneously appear that defense spending has to likewise be doubled?

  11. Are the Beast comments always that bad? Clowns writing essays about The Clinton Surplus??

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