Spending Money

Quote of the Day     “It’s clearly a budget.  It’s got a lot of numbers in it.”     George W. Bush

Paul B. Farrell is a financial columnist with over 1000 articles to his credit.  He appears regularly on all of the major news networks as an expert in his field.  He has authored four books, worked as executive vice president for Financial News Network and was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley.  This is all I can find out about him, but it seems enough to be satisfied he’s a capitalist.  Here is a link to his article A Nation of Warmongers on marketwatch.com.

You can read it for yourself if you’re interested, but here are just a few of the assertions in it that TB finds meaningful:

Americans spend 54% of their tax dollars on the military.  This figure represents 47% of the total military spending of the entire world.  Is it really necessary to spend that much?  If we cut it down to 40% of the budget, what could we do with that money?  Many people who call themselves Conservative because they believe in balanced budgets and restrained government size and spending are deluding themselves if they think their goals can be met while continuing to fund the military at these levels.  And TB believes in having the strongest military in the world, believes that our military personnel deserve support, and even believes that its necessary to use them on occasion.  Wisely.  But clearly, an inordinate proportion of our national resources is devoted to war.

Farrell also asks why it is necessary to spend over $200 Billion on no-bid private war contractors numbering 180,000–more personnel than the entire allotment of enlisted soldiers in Iraq.  This is where a big chunk of that unnecessary military spending is being wasted.  Remember Gomer Pyle having to do KP duty?  Wouldn’t happen in this day and age because a contractor peels the potatoes.  And gets a lot of cabbage to do it.  There are also a bunch of Blackwater employees carrying guns and expecting immunity from prosecution when they misuse them.  And making our actual soldiers look bad far too often–these dudes ain’t building schools and hospitals.

Finally, Farrell asks why the President and party (and he didn’t mention McCain, but should have) associated with “supporting our troops”  opposed passage of a new GI bill.  He should also have asked why the same group has let health care for wounded vets be conducted in rat infested, overcrowded hospitals.  If it were me, I’d just as soon do without their so-called “support.”

If you’re a die hard Republican who can’t figure out why TB went off the reservation and joined up with the lefties, read this article.  Even if you decide its all BS, it will at least give you a good idea of why TB and so many others are fed up with the neo-cons.

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About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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2 Responses to Spending Money

  1. Madd Dawg says:

    I have some of my own thoughts on this, but, for now, I’ll simply quote another:

    “The premise of this editorial is that we have a war economy. In order to make this point it is claimed that 54% of our budget is for the military.

    The facts are that while mandatory spending in 1965 was 29% of the budget the percentage of the national budget for mandatory programs (Medicare, Social Security. welfare, etc.) is now 58%. Double.

    In 1962 the military budget was 9.3% of the GPD. The 45 year average is 5.5% of the GDP. The current percentage is 4%, 1.5% below the 45 year average. this while we have 2 active wars and a worldwide war against terrorism. Mr. Farrel’s editorial is filled with misinformation and is typical of his work which seems to be always overstated, embellished and overblown.

    In the current times of terrorism and the attempted resurgence of the Soviet Union by Putin it is well to remember that freedom is not free.”

  2. supercynic says:

    To quote that laugh-a-minute economic journalist Irving R. Levine, who I’m sure was quoting someone else, “Statistics are like bikinis. What they don’t show you is what you really want to see.” These numbers can be spun any way one likes.

    What can’t be spun is this. We do spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined in real dollars. That fact may be groovy or gross depending on your philosophy.

    Our spending is as high as it is in large part because of the war in Iraq. Again, you may love that or you may hate that, but it’s a fact.

    Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So, I think it is a self-feeding conclusion to say that “our current times of terrorism” is a justification for such high levels of military spending. This is the logical equivalent of declaring war on the world and then saying, “See, we’ve got to spend a lot of money b/c we have a a lot of battles to fight.”

    Iraq was not an al-Qaeda haven. We created that. We created the need for increased spending. To justify increased spending b/c of the “current times of terrorism,” which we, in part created, reminds me of Cheney giving info to a reporter who then writes a column and then Cheney goes on Meet The Press and quotes that column as evidence that he’s right. It’s circular.

    More candidly, I don’t care what the budget was in 1962, 1972, or 1982. I care what this Administration is doing to my country, my family, and me right now. I worry about what the next administration is going to do. I understand the notion of understanding history so you’re not doomed to repeat it, but I don’t believe in trying to justify current errors by citing statistics from 40+ years ago that are at their base apples-to-oranges comparisons.

    To quote Dennis Miller, “But then again I could be wrong.”

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