Defense Spending Management Act

Let's make defense spending rational

sponsored by Roger Wilcox • co-sponsors: (2)Become a Co-sponsor

primary topic: Military Action
secondary topics: Government


In "On Wealth and Democracy", Kevin Phillips identified three reasons for the collapse of numerous civilizations:

1) Over-financialization of the economy (i.e., too much of the economy dependent on my making money off of money)
2) Over-concentration of wealth
3) Over-extended military

The U.S. is threatened by all three "overs". As a result, the state of our economy has a far greater impact than defense spending on our strength as a superpower. In the final National Intelligence Committee (NIC) report produced under the George W. Bush administration, the NIC predicted that, by 2025, the U.S. would be "a leader among equals". For economic reasons, easily attributable to three decades of supply-side economics, which have starved the demand-side of the economy. Clearly, at the point we will be much more hard pressed to maintain our profligate military spending without risking an inevitable collapse akin to that of Russia, and Rome for that matter.

In addition, excessive defense spending harms our economy, since we are spending huge sums not only on vast armies of personnel but also on weapons that must be engineered and tested, but manufactured, maintained, repaired and retired.

The U.S. is currently spending nearly 6 times as much on defense as the next nation (China) and about 43% of the entire world budget on defense. We Americans are highly protective of the security we gain from military superiority; however, as noted above, military over-extension today itself will weaken our military strength tomorrow. What does it profit us to be a super-super-super power today if we are a "leader among equals" a scant 13 years from now?

Moreover, the U.S. Defense budget never includes all of the costs of military adventures (e.g., War and intelligence operations), so the multiple and percentage share in comparison to other countries is no doubt much higher.

Last, we are already on the hook for significant long-term expenses covering the costs of veterans and their dependents for decades to come as a result of past military action. The $1 trillion price tag on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars alone are projected to triple by the time all the related bills are paid.

There is no reason that the U.S. should not be sharing more of the cost of defense with its allies, which by far collectively represent the strongest force on the planet. Doing otherwise is simply a boondoggle for defense contractors.

Barring an attack on U.S. soil by an identifiable state actor, this Act would limit U.S. defense spending to the lesser of the following:

1) 3X the spending of the next largest spender
2) 25% of the world total
3) One third of the national budget, including all war expenses.

If this model too greatly reduces our military superiority AND additional defense spending is affordable, the budget can be increased. But current levels are unnecessary, unacceptable and dangerous to the health of the real economy.


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