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.
Please bring up points that were missed, elaborate on issues not fleshed out, add ways to make the idea/bill better, suggest a companion for GREATER Raters to consider. Please check your facts, grammar, syntax, punctuation, credit sources and quotes, and keep it under 500 words unless you absolutely cannot—then never more than 700 words. Please keep your criticism constructive. We will likely not print destructive criticism although a well written partisan rant bringing up new issues in the idea/bill or previous Op-eds may be accepted if it ends on a constructive note—especially if it offers an alternative idea/bill.
Shorter "letters" are encouraged that bring a new facet to the subject. The intent of the Op-eds is to fully cover the issue for the kind reader to consider before rating, and not waste their time with redundancy or the dreaded—"people-screaming-at-one-another-while-wearing-earplugs-syndrome." Think of the idea/bill as the base with the Op-eds stacked on top to form a structurally sound argument. The goal here is to have a GREATER US for the greatest number of citizens/neighbors. We may publish your piece without notice—so please only submit completed articles. We may, also, contact you for a rewrite or edit. We might even offer suggestions. It is our intention to fairly present the views of fiscal conservatives, independents, and social liberals—to find the overlap of whole-hearted support (nonpartisan) plus the commonality of the "I-can-live-with-that" (bipartisan).