Donald Trump

Donald Trump Denounces Wasteful Pentagon Spending, Vows Great Defense W/No Additional Spending

Ted Cruz is courting disappointed Rand Paul voters, but Trump's anti-defense posture may win them over.

|

For all the talk of Ted Cruz trying to reel in disappointed Rand Paul supporters, it just may be Donald Trump who ends up with a good chunk of them.

At an appearance in New Hampshire, Trump went into full Tea Party Beast Mode, attacking virtually every aspect of government spending, including what President Eisenhower famously vilified as the "military-industrial complex":

On defense, in a race in which all of his Republican rivals favor increasing military spending, Trump promised instead to go after waste and profiteering in the defense industry. "I hear stories, like they're ordering missiles they don't want because of politics, because of special interests," Trump said. "Because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor." There is so much of that kind of corruption in the Pentagon, Trump said, that he will be able to build up the military without actually spending more, just by putting an end to wasteful and corrupt practices.

That sounds strikingly reminiscent of former presidential candidate Paul's plan to "audit the Pentagon" with the same vigor as he promised to audit the Fed. Recall also that Candidate Trump has at times espoused the idea of letting Russia and other countries "fight ISIS in Syria," with the United States only coming in later once things have calmed down. 

Certainly, there is a huge (yuge?) amount of waste when it comes to defense spending. There are whole weapons and aircraft systems that are needleslly expensive. For an atlas of despair on that, consider the F-35 fighter jet, which exemplifies everything that is wrong with the way things get done when the Pentagon is involved. The jet, which will be obsolete by the time it is actually up and running properly (which may never actually happen), has a price tag of at least $1.5 trillion and will likely need to use really old planes to support it on missions. None of this has stopped the Pentagon from going ahead and ordering 404 of the occasionally airborne boondoggles over the next few years. Beyond spending on particular things, there's also no question that America's footprint over the world is needlessly big and expensive. And it's telling that the federal government is incapable of cutting "war spending" even when the country is no longer at war.

In his recent appearance, as reported by Byron York in The Washington Examiner, Trump also attacked all sorts of what are usually called "moneyed interests."

Trump railed against pharmaceutical companies. He railed against oil companies. And insurance companies. And defense contractors. And he set himself against a political system that he said allows big-money corporate "bloodsuckers" to control the government with campaign contributions.

"Whether it's the insurance companies, or the drug companies, or the oil companies, it's all the same thing," Trump said. "We're never going to get our country back if we keep doing this."…

"We're not allowed to negotiate drug prices, can you believe it?" Trump said. Noting that Woody Johnson, of the Johnson & Johnson family, is a big Jeb Bush fundraiser, Trump asked, "Do you think Jeb Bush is going to make drug prices competitive?" 

There's a clarity and an attraction to this sort of talk, even if it's not specifically libertarian in any way, shape, or form. As York notes, many of Trump's lines could have been spoken by Bernie Sanders. What's different here is that because Trump is a rich sonofabitch, virulently anti-immigrant, opposed to free trade (at least with China), intermittently bellicose (he's talked about not just killing terrorists but "their families"), and at least mouthing social-conservative positions on abortion and other social issues, he can speak directly to Republican voters.

York frets that were The Donald to make it to the White House, he "would blow up the Republican Party as it now exists in Washington….[and] make the party virtually unrecognizable to its members today." That's probably true but it says a helluva lot about the GOP that a guy with zero political experience and pretty clearly no understanding of what it means to a Republican conservative is leading that party's nomination process.

I think that's partly beause whether they like it or not, Trump has built his platform directly on top of conservative complaints emanating from National Review (which has read him out of the conservative movement) and other sources of right-wing orthodoxy. Trump may not have a philosophically consistent world view, but like Sanders, he is channeling anger and resentment at an "Establishment" and a status quo which seems to have no regard for the common people. Between Sanders and Trump, the weakness of the major parties is being revealed in dramatic fashion. While I can't see myself voting for either—Trump's xenophobia, unmoored strongman ravings, and utter lack of experience are only the beginning of his problems and Sanders' economic platform and big-government everything are just awful—it isn't hard to see their appeal in a race featuring representatives from America's two leading political dynasties, candidates still arguing over who Ronald Reagan would like best, and a former first lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state whose strongest argument for the presidency is that it's her turn and she's got a lot of endorsements from admirals and academics.

Will Trump's us-against-all-of-THEM populism, including the military, grab the attention of Rand Paul voters now that the Kentucky senator has left the race? Some of them, for sure, especially if Ted Cruz is seen as the only alternative. For all of his own populist stirrings (including an anti-immigration policy arguably meaner than Trump's), Cruz is an insider by dint of being in the Senate (not to mention have twice as many Ivy League degrees as the businessman). If the Republican rabble is in a destructive mood, they will certainly flip the switch for Trump, just as similarly situated Democrats will go long on Sanders.

NEXT: Should Women Be Required to Sign Up for the Military Draft?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. York frets that were The Donald to make it to the White House, he “would blow up the Republican Party as it now exists in Washington….[and] make the party virtually unrecognizable to its members today.”

    He says that like its a bad thing.

    1. It is if you don’t like welfare.

  2. he will be able to build up the military without actually spending more, just by putting an end to wasteful and corrupt practices

    That’s one of the most reasonable things he has said so far.

    I do question just how much you can cut by going after waste and corruption as defined *within* the system. The system itself is wasteful compared to alternatives, but that’s a much bigger problem then cutting a few individual boondoggles.

    Also, I have almost no faith that Trump will actually follow through with anything he says.

    1. And even if he does follow through, it’s not like he’s articulated a system that would actually be *better*. Until, if he even can, credibly do that, my operating assumption is that Trump would replace the current shitty system with a different but equally shitty system.

    2. Any candidate who says they can significantly impact military spending (or any government spending for that matter) by going after “waste, corruption and bureaucracy” is basically saying that they intend to make no changes whatsoever to the status quo.

      1. It’s mostly for show. Sure, you could cut the F-35. That wouldn’t be nothing, and it would certainly be highly visible. That does nothing to stop the next F-35 from sucking up hundreds of billions of dollars. Real change only comes from addressing the systemic problems, and there isn’t nearly enough support to do that.

        1. The only way to reduce military spending is to spend fewer dollars on the military. Eliminating this or that program just means they can push the money around to some other bullshit.

          1. The real way to save money on the military is something that will never happen: Consolidate the branches to slash and burn admin overhead.

            1. Don’t even have to do that. Every analysis I’ve seen says that based on current force size, we have excess infrastructure to the tune of 20-25%. Essentially we’re paying for bases and facilities that we no longer have any use for, to the point we’re cutting into the teeth to pay for the useless tail.

              A president could actually push for a desperately needed BRAC via the Quadrennial Defense Review and DoD budgetary request process.

              1. We need a overseas BRAC. Cut all the bases in Europe and Asia, this will be a massive cut in spending while not harming defense of the US

            2. Consolidate the branches to slash and burn admin overhead.

              I strongly support a single service military, for EXACTLY that reason.

          2. You can reduce military spending by cutting commitments to defend foreign countries. This will do nothing to hurt US defense.

            Europe is capable of defending itself, the US should be spending nothing on European defense

            The same with much of Asia

        2. How about, instead of dooming the AF to the capabilities of a second world nation, we simply reduce it in size to that required to defend the US, instead of the entire world?

          1. Capabilities like the a-10? For most missions gen 4 aircraft are perfect for the job and affordable.

            1. The A-10 was a spectacular weapons system 40 years ago. Now, it is a flying coffin, and it’s primary mission has been overcome by technology.

              Technology advances, my friend. The A-10 in unsurvivable on the modern battlefield. It should have been retired 10 years ago, but only politics and cost overruns have kept it alive.

              1. Funny thing. My neighbor’s son is a hog driver. He’s had multiple deployments to iraq and afghanistan. He’s awfully alive for someone flying an unsurvivable airplane.

                1. Iraq and Afghanistan are NOT EVEN CLOSE to a modern battlefield.

                  1. Are you expecting a shooting war with china soon? Iraq and afghanistan are where we are fighting. And even if we weren’t your f35 doesn’t have the legs to attack china so you need a very vulnerable tanker bridge.

                    S300s got you scared? Well that’s what tlams are for. Followed by f15e supported by growlers to comtinue/complete sead/dead which allows a10s and 52s and even 16s to provide all the cas needed.

              2. By and large, we haven’t been fighting on modern battlefields, and I’d guess that for the near future, that will continue to hold true.

              3. The A-10 is ill suited for the glamorous fighter pilot zooming around at 50k, but great for the CAS mission. The AF never wanted the CAS mission to begin with and has been trying to ditch it ever since they got it.

                Scrap the stupid MOU that keeps the army from having armed fixed wing aircraft and give the A-10 to them. They actually want and would do the CAS mission since it’s their guys they would be overflying.

                1. Nova, you are working on old data.

                  It is true that 40 years ago the AF wanted nothing to do with CAS. That hasn’t been true for the last 20 years. 80% of all combat missions flown in the last 15 years have been either close support or support for close support. Even our heavy bombers do CAS now. In fact, the B-1 dropped 60% of the ordnance while flying 20% of the sorties in the last war. Nearly ALL of that was ground support.

                  The AF wants to get rid of the A-10 because it’s obsolete, NOT because of the 40 year old notion that the AF doesn’t want to support the ground war. Let that meme die.

                  1. The air force has been trying to retire the a10 since the 80s. It has nothing to do with their supposed obsolesence and everything to do with wanting more bomvers and go fast stealth and none of that icky cas.

                    1. It has nothing to do with their supposed obsolesence and everything to do with wanting more bomvers and go fast stealth and none of that icky cas.

                      Utter bullshit.

                  2. Ask the guys actually doing the mission what they think. Sometimes there’s no way to get the ordinance where it needs to be without getting eyes on target, something you can’t do easily from 30k up.

                    And I mean, no crap that 80% of the missions in the last 15 have been CAS. Tell me what opposing AF we’ve been fighting. Saddams AF was still mostly scrap from the first go round in Iraq and the Taliban very nearly didn’t have anything worth even dropping a bomb on. Doing CAS and WANTING to do CAS are two totally separate things. They do it because they HAVE to do it. The antipathy towards the A-10 comes from the fighter pilots in charge who don’t want to do it in “that ugly old thing.”

                    Instead they’d rather fly CAS using flashy B1s and F-15s, which cost two to three times what the a-10 does on an hourly basis. Even the “cheap” F-16 is still 25% higher cost.

                    Very nearly the WHOLE reason the AF considers the A-10 obsolete is they’ve delayed and/or cancelled upgrades that would have greatly enhanced it’s capability. Great plan, scrap the upgrades then scrap the plane because it’s “obsolete.”

                    So like I said, let the Army have them. If they’re obsolete, why not? At that point they’re no longer an AF problem, sucking up funds they want for the F-35. The Army has managed to make even lower, slower, and more fragile helicopters survivable on the modern battlefield, so I expect they could do a decent job with the A-10 given the opportunity.

                  3. And are we seriously sitting around debating the survivability of a plane designed and intended to fight and survive long enough to have a measurable impact on the battlefield that would have been the WWIII Fulda gap? A battlefield that would have had the single greatest concentration of anti-air assets the world had ever seen? That it would not and could not be made to be operationally effective in a peer state conflict? Gimme a break! All we would be doing would be sending the thing back to it’s originally designed mission instead of the COIN roll it’s taken on in the last 15 years…..

                    1. Ask the guys actually doing the mission what they think.

                      Dude, I was the guy doing the mission.

                      Sometimes there’s no way to get the ordinance where it needs to be without getting eyes on target, something you can’t do easily from 30k up.

                      First, that’s about 1% of the time. Second, targeting pods allow you to put eyes on target from 30K without getting shot at by every Hadji with an AK. Third AESA/HR SAR RADARS are about like looking at a picture. Fourth, every ground unit in the world has the ability to generate and communicate target quality coordinates directly to the jet at 30K and the weapon he drops is going to be a hell of a lot more accurate than any Hog driver is going to be spraying 30MM all over the place while bullets are bouncing off his coffin.

                      Doing CAS and WANTING to do CAS are two totally separate things.

                      Every was starts out with supremacy, interdiction and rolls to CAS. Your assumption that the AF doesn’t like CAS and therefore puts no funding against it is 40 year old bullshit.

                    2. Instead they’d rather fly CAS using flashy B1s and F-15s, which cost two to three times what the a-10 does on an hourly basis.

                      Would you like to discuss DMPIs destroyed per dollar of operating cost? The Hog does great when the tic is within range, and not too far away, and doesn’t require more than a bomb or two. It gets there at .6 Mach, hits a tanker on the way in and on the way back. The Bone, OTOH, get’s there at 1.2 Mach, has hours of playtime and up to 24 weapons available at a pop.

                      Not to mention I need the F-15 and the B-1 (F-22/35 and LRSB) to complete the supremacy, interdiction, sead rolls anyway. Why would I fund and maintain a fleet of one trick ponies that are LESS (Yes I said less) capable of performing CAS than the rest of the fleet? The AF is attempting to save you, the taxpayer, money and you refuse to let them.

                      And are we seriously sitting around debating the survivability of a plane designed and intended to fight and survive long enough to have a measurable impact on the battlefield that would have been the WWIII Fulda gap?

                      Exactly my point, nova, you are working from a 40 year old ops plan. While I can’t get classified, there isn’t a Gen 4 plane in the inventory that can survive the modern day threat. And the A-10 isn’t even good at defeating the Gen 4 threat.

                2. Exactly. Give the a10s to the army and break up the air force. Similarly retirr the gator navy and go down to 2 branches.

    3. The DoD has more civilian employees that Soldiers. Cutting waste would be simple but not easy.

      1. That’s because it was determined that civilian employees were cheaper than soldiers. And they were correct. Contractors don’t get housing benefits, medical, retirement…

        1. They also don’t fight wars.

          Federal civilian employees don’t get retirement benefits?

          1. They also don’t fight wars.

            Neither does half of the military.

            Federal civilian employees don’t get retirement benefits?

            Contractors do not.

            I will grant you that there has been a push (at least there was when I was still in) to replace contractors with GS employees (you can guess which Team was the pusher).

        2. After Uncle Danny left the Army (World War 2), he wound up as a civilian chef at Ft. Dix. He calculated years later that he’d’ve been much better off benefits-wise had he stayed in.

      2. To be fair, RDT&E done by DoD civilian employees is cheaper for the government then RDT&E done by contractors. And we don’t have to bargain for the data rights.

    4. Here’s an alternative:

      Start withdrawing US troops from around the world. Leave ground defense of the continent to state National Guard units. Keep a US Army reserve command structure in case we need a larger army later.

      Bring the US Navy home to defend the American coastlines. Build more small, fast attack submarines in case we need them.

      Open up a competition for a new Air Force jet for air to air combat, one that can beat any plane in the sky. Keep improving anti-missile defenses.

      The USA could be better defended at a much lower cost than it is now.

      1. Agreed

        The military commitments the US has given out is what is driving US military spending, cut the commitments and the US could have major cuts to US military spending without endangering US defense.

        Deploying military halfway around the world is very expensive.

        Let Europe, Asia (both less then 2% GDP on military spending) pay for their own defense

  3. Something tells me Ted Cruz probably doesn’t have Gillespie’s vote wrapped up.

    1. there’s no sugarcoating it…

    2. The only real question is whether Gillespie is going to vote for Hillary in D.C., Ohio, or both D.C. and Ohio.

  4. Both party establishments in meltdown. Old feminists angry at young women for not supporting corrupt warmonger Hillary and GOP establishment freaked out at anti neocon and anti corporate special interest Trump

    1. Trump is Not anti corporate special interest. Trump Is a corporate special interest.

      Shhesh, it seems like lately the has been some sort of mass insanity, wherein people just make shit up p out of their subconscious desires instead of based on anything factual about the candidates.

      Trump is not in any way even remotely libertarian. He is a populist opportunist whose record is as a big government crony capitalist.

      1. Trump is not in any way even remotely libertarian.

        Agreed. Nor is anyone else who’s currently a candidate.

      2. “Trump is Not anti corporate special interest. Trump Is a corporate special interest.”

        This, in my mind, still makes him the best candidate on corporate interest grounds. Which still makes me feel sick just typing it out, but it’s true…

        Trump is beholden to corporate interest: Himself. This means he will favor big government whenever it is advantageous to his personal business, like in eminent domain.

        But on the OTHER hand, Trump is beholden to that ONE corporate interest, while every other candidate is beholden to a MULTITUDE of corporate interests.

        That’s why Trump aligns with the libertarians on war spending, for example. Because Trump doesn’t deal in weapons, and has no personal use for the military industrial complex. So he advocates cutting it.

        Trump will be against any corporate stimulus that doesn’t benefit him. Which makes him (horribly) better on the subject of opposing corporate stimulus then the rest.

        1. Trump talks about being against corporate welfare that doesn’t benefit him, yet. But if he became President it wouldn’t take long for the benefits to start rolling in. Plus, there is no reason to think his words will be connected to any action.

          1. But there’s no reason to think they won’t, either.

  5. From what I’ve seen, a lot of waste is a direct result of government idiots micromanaging the experts. I see people sitting idle (but still getting paid) because the government idiots haven’t given them permission to work. If the government idiots would step back and let the experts do their job, then much waste would go away.

    Instead I would imagine the exact opposite will happen, as the “solution” to “waste” will be more government idiots micromanaging the experts to the point where very little work gets done.

    After all, if you don’t have permission or are not obeying orders from a government idiot, then you best be sitting on your ass doing absolutely nothing.

    As Groucho Marx said: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

    1. That’s part of it, but not all.

      The military has been charged with reducing waste/increasing efficiency for decades. It doesn’t happen for one simple reason. There is no profit motive. Everybody is in charge of their own pet program, which is, of course, indispensable (because they’ll look bad if their program gets cut). So…all we have is indispensable programs…nothing left to cut…AND who really cares about being efficient with other people’s money?

      1. Most of the mismanagement I have seen has been on the government side, not the contractor side. At one point I thought about reporting it to the hotline on that DoD poster in the break room, but then decided it was a bad idea. After all, government idiots don’t care about waste caused by fellow government idiots. If anything myself and my team would suffer, while the government idiot who mis-micromanages our project would get a promotion.

        1. Yep. It’s mostly government. The big contractors are no angels, but their cost and risk aversion is understandable given the acquisition program they are forced to participate in.

          Think about this simplified example:

          Takes 20 years to design and build a new fighter. In that amount of time, new technologies arise and several administrations come and go. The contractors spend 4 years (and a shit-ton of money) designing and testing the system and then along comes the government bitching that the new technology isn’t included (requirements creep). We gotta have the new shit…well, extra shit costs extra money (and development time).

          Even more common, Lock-Mart (pick a contractor) is told to price a new jet based upon a final order of 850 at such and such a time. Along comes the Obama next administration and reduces the order to 187. What does that do to Lock-Mart’s economy of scale? What about their return on investment?

          And this shit happens all the time. No company can tolerate that kind of risk, so what do they do? They price it into the original estimate. THAT’s why government funded boondoggles cost so much.

          1. Contracts should be broken up between development and deployment. When they’re not you get stupid stayements like the b2 costing 1bb each because they amortize sunk costs over the greatly reduced buy. Supposedly economically literate libertarians should be able to see thru that, but then we have Nick.

          2. Another problem I saw (from the outside) was every Sept my father (a contract manager for the DOD) had to work extra time to spend all his agency’s money in budget just so that his agency’s budget wouldn’t shrink in the next financial year. That is a system that doesn’t give any incentive to come under budget on a project.

            1. every Sept my father (a contract manager for the DOD) had to work extra time to spend all his agency’s money in budget just so that his agency’s budget wouldn’t shrink in the next financial year.

              “Two-year” money. It’s in the Constitution. ANd yes, it’s an abomination the way that system is set up. But completely mandated by Congress.

  6. “Trump promised instead to go after waste and profiteering in the defense industry.”

    I hear he promised to grow a new head of hair, too.

  7. “And it’s telling that the federal government is incapable of cutting “war spending” even when the country is no longer at war.”

    LOL, no longer at war. The US is involved in constant warfare, we just don’t call it war and invent weird excuses for how it’s really a ‘police’ or ‘humanitarian’ action. If the US is no longer at war, how exactly did that Doctors Without Borders hospital get bombed?

    “There’s a clarity and an attraction to this sort of talk, even if it’s not specifically libertarian in any way, shape, or form. As York notes, many of Trump’s lines could have been spoken by Bernie Sanders. What’s different here is that because Trump is a rich sonofabitch, virulently anti-immigrant, opposed to free trade (at least with China)”

    Isn’t Bernie Sanders also anti-immigration and opposed to free trade?

    1. If the US is no longer at war, how exactly did that Doctors Without Borders hospital get bombed?

      That was a perfectly innocent mistake that could have happened to any peace-loving world power, Irish.

      1. It’s an awfully strange definition of war that doesn’t include constant bombing campaigns.

        1. Gillespie is no different than any other left liberal. Killing people in other countries doesn’t count as war when a liberal democrat is in the White House.

  8. “I do question just how much you can cut by going after waste and corruption as defined *within* the system. The system itself is wasteful compared to alternatives, but that’s a much bigger problem then cutting a few individual boondoggles.”

    He can’t. Military spending is exactly like centrally-planned economic systems, absent the profit motive, everywhere and always.
    It is designed to make sure the bureaucrats involved are absolved of any blame when things go wrong. As such, it’s wrapped in enough red tape that any one of them can say ‘I was just following procedures’.
    Get rid of the bureaucrats, and who does the buying?

    1. This

      If you’ve ever sold anything to the military, you would already know that the system is absolutely covered with paper just like any other federal bureaucracy.

      1. I did. I sold 1/4-20 bolts for cheap. I sold the required certs for what they cost; horrendously expensive for some 1/4-20 bolts.

  9. Trump the anti-corporatist? Huh. GOP candidates who have promised cuts to the military have typically not faired well in the past. Of course nothing about this election season is typical.

    1. That’s the trick. He’s not promising to cut the military budget at all. He’s basically proposing to freeze it, as far as I can tell.

  10. I have not seen the hair from that angle before. It looks like a rat-tail.

    1. Youll be in your bunk?

  11. Both Sanders and Trump seem to be benefiting from voters desire, nay insistence, on projecting their fantasies onto the candidates. The left wants to think Sanders is a dope smoking social justice advocating hippie, when he’s actually old school labor. The right wants to think Trump is a right wing tea party radical, when he’s actually a big government crony capitalist. To top it off people will Freak if you attempt to enlighten them. They don’t want you fucking up the groove.

    1. Cogent analysis.

  12. The number one threat to national security is government debt. The number one expenditure is the military. We spend more on the military then the next nine nations combined. We spend over three and a half times the number two country China. We also live in a country with a massive built in defense system called the 2nd Amendment not to mention our geography and nuclear stockpile. Cutting military spending is a no brainer unless you actually have no brain.

    1. The number one expenditure is the military.

      Common but false misconception. Defense comprises around 17% of the federal budget, while entitlements like Social Security and health care (Medicare, Obamacare, etc) comprise around 24%. Each. They combine to make almost half of the budget.

      Good luck balancing the budget without tackling entitlements.

      1. Both need dealt with obviously.

        1. If you’re going to set priorities though, I think it is best to start with 50% of the budget, not 17%. Especially when that 17% is actually in the Constitution, while that 50% is not.

          1. I don’t see any reason to not start with all three.

            1. In an ideal world I agree. In the real world, reforming any of the major debt drivers would require so much political capital that you probably get to choose one. Entitlements are the bigger problem not only because they cost more now, but because they will grow more rapidly.

              But by all means, if we have a chance to go after any of them, we should take it.

              1. I think politically people are tired of being the worlds police. It seems to me like thats low hanging fruit. Of the 3 social security will be the most politically difficult. I think we will see more battles over Obamacare next year. Left to be seen if we can get a good free market alternative passed.

            2. Zero out the defense budget and we still go broke. Reinstate the draft and pay the same a china and you’ll see our military spemding go way down. What’s that? You don’t like that solution?

              1. Who said anything about a draft? We could cut the defense budject in half and still have a budget over one and a half times that of China’s. I never said other spending does not need addressed. Nor did I even mention the amount of cuts to make much less suggest down to zero.

                1. China has more men in uniform than we do. Hiw do you think they accomplish that? Hint: they pay a whole lot less. If you want to bring their spending into this, then you better be willing to entertain other aspect of their defense establishment.

                  Or you can pretend that it’s all fighter jetz corporate welfare like Nick does.

                2. You made the claim that we have to cut entitlements and defense to get the deficit under control. I pointed out that if you zero out the defense budgey entitlements alone will bankrupt us ergo defense isn’t really the problem.

                  Or another way to look at it is that defense is about 3.5% of gdp or about the percentage of federal government spending prior to WWI. Welfare is 3-4 times that.

                  1. I didn’t say defense was the only problem. The article was about military spending so I talked about military spending. If you want to argue that the military should not be cut at all then we can have that argument because I disagree. No need to put words in my mouth and argue with me about things I didn’t say.

                    1. And the numbers demonstrate that even a complete zeroing out of the defense budget won’t come close to fixing the problem so it isn’t really the problem.

                      Now wasteful spending is still money out of my pocket so I want it changed but blanket statements that we can just cut 50% and comparing spending on a non-ppp basis or failing to account for the huge differential in cost between an all volunteer force vs a conscripted one shows a certain amount of laziness.

                3. I agree that the military budget could be cut by 50% (and should), it’ all about where the cuts are made.

                  Those cuts need to be made at the National Strategy level, rather than the individual program level. IOW, keep the technology and reduce the scope. Stop funding the military to be the world’s police force.

              2. Reinstate the draft and pay the same a china and you’ll see our military spemding go way down.

                In what alternate universe is the US voting public not only going to support instituting the draft in nominal peacetime but also cut the salaries down by 90%?

                Shit, given the current composition of the SCOTUS, you might get a 13th Amendment challenge upheld if you did that.

                You could sooner cut SS checks in half.

                1. Precisely my point. But the fact that Nick will never bring up that reality demonstrates just how disingenuous he is.

                  1. Eh, Nick talks about SS and Medicare, too. The problem is that he thinks the solution is to “means test” them, as though programs that were explicitly set up as retirement benefits should be turned into straight welfare programs.

    2. Defense certainly should be the biggest Federal expenditure, but it isn’t. It’s #3 after Health and Social Security.

      http://www.concordcoalition.or…..pie-charts

      1. I stand corrected. Doesn’t change the rest of what I said or the needs for cuts. We don’t need to be the world police.

        1. Correct – nor do we need to be the world’s biggest charity.

  13. It’s the truth, right now The Donald has the best military policy.

    *shudder*

  14. If he means it great. At this point I don’t really believe anything he says. Well I can probably believe half of it, but I don’t know which half

  15. Actually we could have a kick ass defense for significantly less than we spend today, we just need to stop wasting money on boondoggles designed to refight World War 2 and focus on smarter acquisitions that act as true force mutipliers in a modern context that is almost entirely about asymetrical warfare.

    So kill off the F-35 and stop building Mega Aircraft carriers that act as little more than targets for the enemies cruise missiles and start focusing on better sensors, drones, and stand off attack weapons and build smaller carriers designed to be primarily drone launching platforms.

    In the meantime start work on a new generation of 4.5th generation fighters that are designed around the idea of matching the best performance out there in production right now at a fraction of the cost (in other words find a way to build Stealth Eagles for $60 million a piece rather than trying to drop $150 million on a F-22)

    1. So kill off the F-35 and stop building Mega Aircraft carriers that act as little more than targets for the enemies cruise missiles and start focusing on better sensors, drones, and stand off attack weapons and build smaller carriers designed to be primarily drone launching platforms.

      This will happen (in the next generation). It’s not there yet. The F-22/F-35/LRSB will be the last of their kind.

      The problem with eliminating them now is that the “better sensors, drones, and stand off attack weapons” as you put it, aren’t yet capable of defeating the adversaries 5th generation threat, nor are our Gen 4 weapons.

      And why would I kill Gen 5 aircraft that are already flying, to redesign (read spend even more money on) an inferior Gen 4.5 system.

      That makes zero sense.

    2. Meh, we have small carriers. We just call them LHA and LHD. And those short decks increase pressure to buy STOVL aircraft and are a major if not the makor reason the f35 is the mess that it is. Having said that I see no reason to build more fords at 14bb a pop instead of updated nimitzes. F15se prbably isn’t worth it either. Instead just buy the k or sa variant with export restricted avionics. Meanwhile restart 22 production to come up to 300 ac and accelerate work on the arsenal concept aka b1r. Cost effective and unbeatable for years.

      1. restart 22 production to come up to 300 ac

        THAT, is nearly impossible. Plant would need to be retooled. Everyone involved in the production is now working for someone else. All the expertise is gone. The retraining would cost a fortune (and who is going to provide it?).

        It’s utterly cost prohibitive. That’s why the AF made such a big deal of closing the plant at 187. Once it’s shutdown, it’s gone for good. It’s not like throwing a switch.

        I might add, that part of the excuse given by the administration for stopping at 187 was that the less cost prohibitive F-35 would take up the slack. A lie at SO MANY levels.

        1. Wrong. All of the tooling was mothballed and production was not shuttered that long ago that the entire skillset has been lost. It’s certaonly more affordable than waiting another 10 years for a real ioc for the 35.

          1. Not wrong.

            I’m very familiar with mothballing. About 10 years ago we looked at what it would take to bring some B-1s out of AMARC. IIRC the price was roughly a third of what the production model cost per airplane. And that’s not restarting a line.

            It is unbelievably expensive to restart an assembly line after it has been completely shut down. That was EXACTLY what the Air Force was screaming at the top of their lungs (and were ignored) 7 years ago.

            It’s not going to be 10 years for the F-35 to be IOC and it would be at least 10 years before you’d see your first F-22. And this is from a guy who’d favor more F-22s. Just not going to happen.

            And for the record, while it has its problems, the F-35 isn’t actually doing as bad as the pundits, with an agenda, would have you believe. All new aircraft have these types of issues. EVERY SINGLE ONE! Not making excuses, just stating fact.

            They are making, BY FAR, the most advanced machine ever created with the most inefficient acquisition system ever devised. It’s truly a wonder they ever field anything.

            1. The f35 is generating problems faster than it is fixing them. And even on the pretend schedule the block 3f isn’t available for years. You’re kidding yourself if you think the 35 is progressing like any other aircraft. Even if it were meeting milestones it still has fundamental design issues that can’t be fixed in software.

              And this is far from the most complex machine ever built, whatever that really means.

              1. I take that back. It is progressing similar to the 111.

              2. Every new platform for the last 60 years has had design issues, with the possible exception of the F-15.

                Not saying they did a good job. Saying they NEVER do a good job.

                Bottom line is, they are committed to fixing it rather than scrapping it as scrapping it is not an option without putting the US a generation behind.

                And you, my friend, are talking out your ass.

                1. You can’t make a drift car do really good at the quarter mile, compared to a dedicated quarter mile car. You certainly can’t make a drift car do really good at the quarter mile while hauling a traincar compared to a dedicated quarter mile car, even with $1.5 trillion

                  That’s what the F 35 tries to do. Everything. It sucks at almost everything.

        2. They have the tooling and step-by-step videos of every step in the manufacturing process.

          1. A link about mothballing the tooling.

            If they were to restart the manufacturing process it would be difficult but not impossible.

            1. Bringing back the F-22 line would take less than $200 million

              Sounds like a good number, right?

              I’m certain that number is only the cost to make the tools usable again (as that’s a standard ploy for hiding cost). Doesn’t include materials, a factory, the costs of finding, hiring, retraining the workers. 90% of the engineers involved in production are now working other systems, maybe in other companies. Standing up the developmental test units, both contractor and Air Force.

              Trust me…$200M is a very tiny fraction of the cost to put new F-22s on the ramp. I’d guess at least several, if not $10 billion.

              Not to mention the time it would take to do so. Hell, it would take the government several years, alone, to make the decision to fund it.

              No, unfortunately, at this point, the number of F-22s will remain at 187 (or whatever it is now after crashes).

              1. I do not believe the 200 million number either, and I have read the F-22 has outdated electronics, etc, so the cost will of course be higher. They have the tooling and video of each step of the manufacturing process, so they would not be starting from scratch.

                1. so they would not be starting from scratch

                  That is true.

  16. As usual Nick doesn’t understand his fighter jetz. His link to arsenal planes is actually a very good thing(tm) because it will multiply the effect of the few and costly gen 5 aircraft we have as well as set the stage for a cost effective directed energy future. If he wanted to make his point then he would have linked to av week’s reporting that the block 2b 35’s will require support from older aircraft(fighter jetz) because of their lack of functionality.

    And I will note once again that there is zero mention of the fact that personnel costs have been a major driver of defense spending this century, but that would come awfully close to questioning Nick’s cherished welfare state…

    Incidently we got a few other good decisions out of last week’s defense wishlist: fewer LCS and more virginias, reprieve for the a10. However we also got a fully funded european quick reaction force which would normally be something for a libertarian to write about. I know, I know, fighter jetz.

  17. “at least mouthing social-conservative positions on abortion and other social issues”

    Few serious pro-lifers are going to take Trump’s conveniently timed conversion to the prolife cause very seriously.

    Someone whose vote is influenced by life issues is unlikely to go for Trump.

    Trump seems to be taking the advice Reason gave Paul – don’t focus too much on the abortion issue, focus on spending instead, as this article indicates he’s doing.

    1. From the second link, Trump said: “Let me be clear ? I am pro-life. I support that position with exceptions allowed for rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk.”

      Translated to Repub-speak, that means “I’m checking off the pro-life box to get elected, but I don’t hold a principled position on this and I don’t really want to do a lot about it.”

      1. (Disclaimer: I acknowledge a 5-10% chance that he actually had a sincere conversion to the prolife position (except the part about killing babies for the crimes of their fathers). I just am going with the more likely scenario)

  18. Trump already had most of the Ron Paul 2012 vote locked up. The 2 percent who are actual libertarians either voted for Rand or stayed home. The anti-establishment crazies aren’t Ted Cruz supporters.

    1. Trump already had most of the Ron Paul 2012 vote locked up.

      Trump? More like Sanders.

  19. My roomate’s sister makes $86 an hour on the internet . She has been without work for 5 months but last month her pay was $17168 just working on the internet for a few hours. linked here…..
    Clik this link in Your Browser……..

    ??????????? http://www.Wage90.com

  20. Bernie’s Yearning

    I don’t even want to know what that is.

  21. My roomate’s sister makes $86 an hour on the internet . She has been without work for 5 months but last month her pay was $17168 just working on the internet for a few hours. linked here…..
    Clik this link in Your Browser……..

    ??????????? http://www.HomeSalary10.Com

  22. “None of this has stopped the Pentagon from going ahead and ordering 404 of the occasionally airborne boondoggles over the next few years.”

    I admit, I chuckled.

  23. The technology is so developed that we can watch videos, live streaming, TV serials and any of our missed programs within our mobiles and PCs. Showbox
    All we need is a mobile or PC with a very good internet connection. There are many applications by which we can enjoy videos, our missed programs, live streaming etc.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.