Why U.S. Defense Spending Is So High

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Dayton Kitchens, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    From a thread I posted at PoliticalForum.com

    Why U.S. Defense Spending Is So High?

    A constant line of attack on U.S. defense spending is that the U.S. spends more on defense than all the other nations combined and that even the top spenders among other nations are allies of the U.S. This is somewhat misleading on its face as the United States has a poor history of determining how much other nations spend on their military. Just because China announces an official defense budget of 80 billion dollars doesn’t mean that their budget isn’t three, four, or five times as much. This is especially true considering their economy if fully capable of supporting such levels. Yet for the purpose of argument lets focus on U.S. defense spending.


    1) The U.S. military is an expeditionary military. That is it is designed to go overseas and fight. This means by ship or plane. Expeditionary forces cost, man for man 5-7 times more than a regular military. Nations like China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran can simply drive or walk to any potential combat region where they might face U.S. troops. American forces have to fly or sail.

    2) The U.S. military spends lavishly on its personnel. Many other nations from China to North Korea can compel its citizens to serve in the military under pain of death. The U.S. military has to compete with the largest economy in the world for people.

    3) Beyond just direct personnel expenses, the U.S. values its soldiers lives far more highly than most nations. This means spending far more on everything from medical evacuation of wounded troops to more weapons and equipment for the average soldiers to investing in higher technology that minimizes the individual risks to soldiers.

    4) The U.S. defends not only United States territory, but basically all of North America. We have direct treaty obligations to defend Canada (and even provide military support in case of a civil or natural disaster) but inferred obligations to do the same for Mexico.

    5) The U.S. provides a nuclear umbrella for a host of other nations from Australia to South Korea to Germany to Japan. In general, the U.S. thinks it’s a good thing that the fewer nations have nuclear weapons the better.
    And let’s put it this way, consider just how quick it would hit the fan in Europe and Asia respectively if Germany and Japan started building nuclear arsenals.

    6) The U.S. military basically has to support its allies in most military operations. This is in fact a Cold War legacy. It was long assumed that if a major conventional World War Three was fought in Central Europe, nations like West Germany, Great Britain, and Italy would “provide the battlefields” as part of their contribution to the war effort. Thus, their militaries (and others) were designed to operate within a larger U.S. led effort.
    This has had the effect such as in the air campaign against Serbia in the late 1990s where it was estimated that every allies combat sortie by U.S. NATO allies required the support of THREE U.S. aircraft.
    In other words, it would’ve been cheaper for the U.S. to simply fly the combat missions themselves.

    7) And the big thing is as follows: The U.S. has more direct obligations and interests than that of any other nation on Earth. The U.S. has to maintain sufficient forces to defend South Korea from North Korea thanks to treaty obligation AND the direct U.S. interests of protecting 100,000 American civilians who live in the Seoul, South Korea metropolitan area. Yet the U.S. also conducts things like anti piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean which as far as I know is not a major concern of the South Koreans. Likewise the U.S. protects and patrols maritime trade routes that benefit not only us but all nations that use them.
    Want to cut back on American overseas obligations, take a shot at it but you do that BEFORE you start to scale back defense expenditures just as you don’t cut back the police until crime actually declines.

    One big thing to remember is that foreign nations have a huge advantage of the U.S. in that they can damage our economy and kill large numbers of our citizens at a very low cost while defending both can be costly. Just as it is much easier to cause a car tire to go flat rather than to repair the flat.

    Iran can fire missiles into a few tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and send oil soaring to 300 dollars a barrel and produce an instant recession in the U.S. and Europe. North Korean can fire a dozen missiles into Seoul and kill 1,000 Americans (and tens of thousands of South Koreans) and even a massive retaliation strike by the U.S. and South Koreans wouldn’t cost the North as much.

    Could U.S. defense dollars be spent more efficiently and wisely? Of course, but that is true of any big budget organization. The same could be said of the Social Security Administration or the Education Department.

    Cutting the defense budget will not miraculously reduce waste or corruption. In fact it could make it worse as there is a scramble for a shrinking pie.

    The U.S. spends what it does on defense because it has obligations and interests around the world and to maintain a world geopolitical structure that benefits us the most. The idea that it is for the benefit of defense contractors is ridiculous given how many of those contractors have disappeared since the end of the Cold War.
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  2. Federal Farmer

    Federal Farmer Anti-Federalist

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    Spending is high because Republicans constantly demand more spending and certain districts have military bases that provide jobs so senators and congressmen pander to those people along with vets for votes. There's no reason to spend so much on the military.

    Plus we spend money on planes that aren't as good as planes that were used 30-40 years ago and other stupid shit.
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  3. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    If you are referring to the F-35 you do know don't you that the basic concept behind the F-35 was to SAVE money?

    And do you really think that military bases in various districts are that large a portion of the defense budget?
  4. Federal Farmer

    Federal Farmer Anti-Federalist

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    Yes, the F-35, but from what I've heard, most pilots hate it and that it's a piece of crap. They'd rather fly the F-15's again.

    No, I'm not saying the military bases cost so much. I'm saying that because there are so many military bases, people rely on those jobs and they vote. Those voters are always going to vote for people who are for more military spending. People running for office know that and deliberately pander to them for votes. If they were to say the opposite or demand shutting down some of those bases, they'd likely lose votes. It's similar to corn subsidies or other subsidies.
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  5. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Virtually every American warplane is considered a piece of crap its first few years of service.
  6. Federal Farmer

    Federal Farmer Anti-Federalist

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    I think there's also a question of if it was necessary or not.
  7. Rimjob Bob

    Rimjob Bob Fruitloop Actual

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    The OP's enumerated arguments basically break down into two points: the US has more responsibilities than every other military, and the US takes better care of its soldiers than every other military.

    On the first point, most people critical of military spending understand that global responsibilities need to be rolled back, or shared more with our allies. That's part of the criticism. So for you to say we have so too many responsibilities is a circular rebuttal.

    On the second point, let's see some hard numbers about how care of soldiers translates into the necessity for exponentially higher spending. What percent of our spending actually goes into personnel care? I'm betting it's relatively little.

    Finally, the argument that we're underestimating the assets of countries like China goes both ways. What if the US is actually spending more than the official numbers suggest? In either case, we go with the best research available. I'm not going to speculate that China actually spends multiple times the official numbers without evidence to support the claim.
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  8. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Warplanes wear out. Especially fighter type aircraft. You really think the U.S. can continue indefinitely to operate aircraft designed in the 1970s and build in the 1980s.

    And don't bring up the B-52. One reason its still around is expensive, periodic rebuilds. And even then only 10% of those built are still flying.
  9. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    I would call one third of the budget a lot more than "relatively little".
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  10. Rimjob Bob

    Rimjob Bob Fruitloop Actual

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    ^Touche.

    But again, rolling back our aggregate responsibilities and operations would allow the total personnel spending to contract while maintaining the same level of care per head. That's the crux of the issue.

    I'm actually not in favor of rolling anything back. I'm just not in favor of the dramatic expansion proposed by the GOP candidates.
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  11. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Then if we can't roll back our responsibilities and commitments and we can't cut our personnel spending I'm uncertain how its possible to cut the defense budget significantly.

    Even eliminating the F-35 program root and branch would be only a drop in the bucket.
  12. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    :yeehaw::yeehaw::yeehaw:
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  13. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Note also procurement (buying new weapons and such) is less than 100 billion a year.
  14. Dan Leach

    Dan Leach Climbing Staff Member Moderator

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    Defense?

    It should be called 'attack' spending, as that's what its used for...
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  15. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    The United States is not defensible within its own borders.

    We either maintain an attack posture or we lose continually.
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  16. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    :dayton:

    The US is probably the most secure major power in the history of the world.

    Your continued reference to other "interests" abroad is simply code for wanting to be able to take other peoples stuff.
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  17. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Secure from invasion or conquest.

    Not secure against attack or damage.
  18. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    And your military-first policy makes it less so.
  19. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    How?

    In the years leading up to 9-11, virtually every US overseas military action was to PROTECT Muslims.

    Look what that got us.

    And say what you will about President Clinton he was hardly a military adventurer.
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  20. El Chup

    El Chup Fuck Trump Deceased Member Git

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    You have such a simplistic grasp of geo-politics. :jayzus:
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  21. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Why infer that complexity is innately better than simplicity?
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  22. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Out of curiousity what does the TL;DR rep icon mean?
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  23. El Chup

    El Chup Fuck Trump Deceased Member Git

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    I am inferring that knowledge of reality is more beneficial than ignorance that leads to misunderstanding.
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  24. El Chup

    El Chup Fuck Trump Deceased Member Git

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    Too long; didn't read.
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  25. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    It should say then

    Too Lazy; Shouldn't Be Posting TL;SBP
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  26. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    You neither said nor implied that.
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  27. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Trolling No Jutsu Formerly Important

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    :blink:

    Our nearest enemy (if Russia still counts as such) is a continent away. We've had one major terrorist attack from foreign nations since the War of 1812. Mexico needs our economy to siphon off of and Canada is full of liberals who hate gunz.

    Tellr again how we can't defend our borders.

    I'll wait.

    :blink:
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  28. El Chup

    El Chup Fuck Trump Deceased Member Git

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    Oh, I most certainly did. You're just too stupid to grasp what I'm getting at.
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  29. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    A handful of 1950s era missiles with old style high explosive warheads launched from international waters could easily kill thousands in U.S. coastal cities.

    And why do you engage in drive by use of the rep icons Anna? Shouldn't a moderator hold themselves to a higher standard?
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  30. El Chup

    El Chup Fuck Trump Deceased Member Git

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    When you stop telling people to go fuck themsevles outside of the Red Room by "drive by repping" then I think you might be in a position to lecture others....
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