Posts Tagged ‘military’

I like guns.  But I don’t like the NRA… in the same way I don’t like most lobbyist groups.

I also like the military.  But I don’t like military spending… by some estimates a whopping 20% of our deficit-growing American budget.

To put that in perspective, we have enough nukes to bury the world many times over.

To put that in more practical terms, we spend more money on the military than the next SEVEN countries COMBINED.

So the last thing we need is more hawks in government.

Yet, Jeff Bezos just donated $10 million to a relatively new organization called “With Honor,” dedicated to electing military vets to office.

As our budget spirals out-of-control, I can’t think of a worse time to elect a more biased group of government officials.

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I’ve often said that running a company with too little money is easier than running it with too much money.

I know that may sound counter-intuitive.  But not having money sharply clarifies what is important and forces you to focus on just the critical priorities.

In contrast, when you have too much money, the world is your oyster (so to speak)… so everything is possible… so most of the time you end up trying to do everything… regardless of how important — or unimportant — it is to the mission.

I believe that’s the problem with our military spending.  We have too much money.  We already can bury every other country in the world with thousands of nukes… yet we feel like we need to spend more… because… we can…

… because all we have to do is just rack up some more deficit spending.

What does this mean in terms of dollars and cents?  Way over half of our government’s discretionary spending goes to the military!

If that number was way smaller, I guarantee you that we’d get a lot more done simply by being forced to focus on our top priorities.

Whether you like him or hate him, Senator Rand Paul (KY) recently wrote an interesting piece that touches on this, entitled, Is Our Military Budget Too Small, Or Is Our Mission Too Large?  It’s short and well worth the read (underlining is my emphasis):

     Is our military budget too small, or is our mission too large?  Since 2001, the U.S. military budget has more than doubled in nominal terms and grown over 37% accounting for inflation. The U.S. spends more than the next eight countries combined.

It’s really hard to argue that our military is underfunded, so perhaps our mission has grown too large. That mission includes being currently involved in combat operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Niger, Libya, and Yemen. We have troops in over 50 of 54 African countries. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost over a trillion dollars and lasted for over 15 years.

Unfortunately, none of these wars have been authorized by Congress, and Afghanistan and Iraq have gone far beyond their original authorizations. And when all combined, these wars are draining our treasury. A country can only remain strong as long as it remains solvent.

In Afghanistan, we spend about $50 billion each year. Where does the money go? For troops and weapons, of course, but billions have also been spent on roads, bridges, and schools for Afghanistan. Seems a shame that bridges, roads, and schools crumble here while we persist in nation-building abroad. Maybe it’s time to do some nation-building at home.

Don’t get me wrong. I supported going after the jihadists who attacked us on 9/11. But that mission is long past over. We killed the plotters and their supporters. The question we need to ask is, “When will the Afghanis be able to defend themselves?”

Most conservatives believe welfare should be temporary, and that ultimately the able-bodied must stand on their own. Foreign assistance is no different. If the U.S. coddles and comforts and does all the fighting, the Afghanis will never become self-sufficient. People argue that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan. Not if the Afghanis stand and fight. We’ve given them 15 years of training and billions of dollars of the most sophisticated weapons known to man. Surely, the time for them to step up and fight is now.

Is it worth one more American life to try to build a nation for people unwilling to fight for their own country?

The recent 21% increase in the military budget will buy a lot of weapons, but it won’t win the war in Afghanistan. President Obama already tried that. Obama increased our troops to around 100,000, and, sure enough, the Taliban ran and bided their time for the inevitable troop withdrawals.

The Taliban now controls a sizeable area of Afghanistan. I just can’t, in good conscience, ask our soldiers to go back to Afghanistan to take back the same villages they’ve taken twice, first in 2002 and then again in 2010.

Candidate Trump wisely ran on a platform that the Iraq War was a mistake. But President Trump is surrounded by Generals who’ve never seen a war that they believe cannot be won. And so the wars continue.

My hope is that President Trump will remember Candidate Trump and tell the Generals who surround him: “Enough is enough. I’m bringing the boys home.”

 

And, I would add, “… so we can stop spending so much money on non-prioritized military stuff… so we have a hope of balancing our OUT-OF-CONTROL deficits!”

 

It is absolutely tragic what happened in Boston.

Yet, I haven’t been able to bring myself to engage in the popular discussion.

In fact I have, for some unknown reason, actively not watching things on the news about it.

Until now.  Because I figured out why.

Tragically the publicizing of these kinds of events is used more for military fund raising than anything else.

The more outrage and hysteria there is, the greater military budgets will swell.

It’s an awful, awful way to think… but this is what happens.

I’m not saying we should bury our heads in the sand… nor am I saying that we aren’t living in a progressively more dangerous world.

What I am saying is that whatever we’ve been doing isn’t working.

We live in a world of guns and explosives.  We helped create and actively protect this world.  Yet, when people use guns and explosives inappropriately, we’re always so shocked and stunned.

Kinda silly, no?

Ugh.  Prepare to have your shoes x-rayed this summer at your local 4th of July parade.  More freedoms being suppressed under the banner of protecting freedom.

If I were running for president, I’d promise to fix everything.

Seriously.

How would I do it?

I would mandate natural gas… the energy alternative that we have about 100 years worth in the U.S.

That would allow me to promise — and deliver — everything:

(1)  More money in consumer’s pockets:  Natural gas is cheaper than black oil… by about 1/3 to 2/3rds to consumers.  But anyone that reads this blog knows that the price of energy goes well beyond simply what we spend on energy for our cars… it affects the price of everything.  Lower energy price is the greatest — and most effective — stimulus in the world

(2)  Jobs:  A new/updated infrastructure would be necessary… as would new/updated vehicles.  Someone has to build all that stuff

(3)  More corporate profits:  More jobs and more money in people’s pockets mean more spending.  Cheaper energy also means less input costs.  Economy improves.  Stocks rise… and so does everyone’s 401K plans

(4)  Health:  Pollution is — literally — choking the world… just look at the rise of breathing-related illnesses like asthma over the last few decades… but unlike dirty fossil fuels, natural gas burns clean

(5)  Environment:  No more ugly, toxic oil spills… let’s make the Gulf disaster our last

(6)  Smaller military:  Reducing our dependence on foreign oil means less “geopolitical” conflicts… as in, if we didn’t need oil, how much would we really care about the Middle East?

(7)  More money in Uncle Sam’s pockets without raising taxes:  All those new jobs create tax revenues.  Also would require less spending on entitlement, health, and military programs.  Bottomline is a dramatically improving national bottomline

(8)  Oh, yeah, an extra $1 trillion per year — money that we usually send out of the country each year, mostly to countries that hate us — is kept in America

Now that’s the candidate I would vote for!