Should the U.S. military be spared deep cuts in the budget process?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is asking that the Pentagon be exempt from further spending cuts when congressional negotiators begin budget work this fall. Today’s Question: Should the U.S. military be spared deep cuts in the budget process?

  • Al

    Absolutely not. The military uses an enormous share of our budget, and I am disgusted that my tax money is used for killing and preparing to kill other people.

    I would love to hear more of the so-called Christians protest loudly about their money being used to kill people through the military. I’m pretty sure when Jesus said “Love your enemies” he didn’t mean kill them. So Christians – When will you stand up against military spending with as much vigor as you stand against abortion?

  • Laurie

    Cut funding to the contract workers! Disband Cheney’s contract groups!

  • J Dre

    No. US out of Germany.

    The permanent-war economy must end; it is an absurd and dangerous self-perpetuating bureaucracy.

  • Rich

    Warms my heart to see Uncle Sam looking out for its citizens by putting my tax dollars to work wisely – cutting back on unnecessary, frivolous expenses like education, so we can spend more on what really matters like aircraft carriers and submarines and the F-35.

  • Tom

    America’s military spending is about as efficient as its health care spending.

  • GaryF

    We can’t continue to occupy countries for 50+ years.

    So, we lessen or completely get out of Germany and South Korea. We give them a 5 year notice and we gradually wind down those operations over five years.

  • Zeke

    I’d rather see an amendment that restricts military spending than one that requires an overall balanced budget. They will fudge numbers to make things look balance, but the real problem is that such a thing empowers the fringe minority.

  • uptownZombie

    Laurie brings up a great point, contractors suck up a lot of money. cut them out of the picture and replace them with actual soldiers and we could probably make up the difference that would make people happy with defense spending cuts being part of the overall solution.

  • Philip

    I shall defer to a comment made by one of our Sergeant Majors when we were deployed. He said, “There are 10,000 f’ing people on this base and the only time I see the other half of them is at lunch!” He wasn’t referring to soldiers.

  • Jason

    Yes, yes, yes! Our military spends more than the next ten countries … combined! Pay the vets, pay the current soldiers well, let them retire or buy them out, and cut it by %50. Seems drastic? Well that would still leave us with 3 times China’s military expenditures (http://www.sipri.org/yearbook/2011/04/04A).

  • Salem

    Absolutely not. If schools are going to lose money, there is no reason our “defense” budget, which is our largest budget of all, should not be cut. One of the reasons we are in the situation we are is because we are spending so much on “defense.”

    I say “defense” because our “defense” budget has turned into a “World Police” budget, not a defense budget.

    Cut it.

  • Sue de Nim

    To Al, who wrote, “So Christians – When will you stand up against military spending with as much vigor as you stand against abortion?”:

    Some of us are doing that. See http://www.sojo.net

  • Steve the Cynic

    Only if taxes are raised to pay for it. Specifically, a tax on petroleum could be seen as a user fee, since the chief role of our military these days is to secure the oil supply.

  • matt

    I would not support cutting anymore than 90% in the first year.

  • Charlie M.

    No, military cuts have to be on the table too.

    However, I predict that they will sneak off the hook. It’s so much easier to nip and tuck at Social Security and Medicaire. When the military budget gets cut, real programs will have to go. People will actually lose their jobs. There will be some countries we really can’t invade. A noisy minority will be affected, rather than a silent majority.

  • Bruce

    No! All cuts should be on the table to balance the budget!

  • Larry M.

    No, we spend more than 6 times what China, the next highest spender,spends and 10 times France, the 3rd largest spender and more than the next 10 nations combined, that is way too much.

    Like our healthcare system we overpay for what we get. We need to reign in military spending and create more transparency and competition for military contracts.

  • John

    We should end all of the conflicts currently going on in Afghanistan and Iraq, (along with Libia), and the new war next month with Iran.

    The wars have put us in the debt situation we are in along with the criminal banksters which financed our politicians.

    We should however NOT cut healthcare for our Vets.

    Oh yeah, the navy seals that were just killed off in Afghanistan, there are interesting articles online regarding their intentional deaths, to hide the truth about the killing of Osama.

  • GraphiCzar

    The U.S. has 11 aircraft groups (more than all other nations combined) and a global network of military bases. To characterize such as “an empire” is not a stretch of the imagination.

    Yet somehow we “can’t afford” health care, education, or transportation infrastructure?

    No, we should not spare defense spending in any way; it should be cut at least as severely as other budgetary items.

  • david

    Of coarse not! Being the police of the world hasn’t been the economic boast and security for the US dollar moron bush and vice president halliburton had hoped…. Well the oil corporations’ books sure look good, at the expense of everyone elses.

  • kati

    If we can take money from schools, we can take money from the military. there is plenty of wasteful spending happening there, just like everyplace else. In fact, I would rather have the money taken from our military than education, but it’s too late for that!

  • vivian

    kati,

    A good-sized uneducated future population promises more recruits for the military.

  • vivian

    kati

    a good-sized uneducated future makes for a good-sized military recruit.

  • vivian

    kati-

    I hate to repeat myself but

    there’s a reason for this low budget education.

    connect the dots

  • James

    Does it matter?

    This is where our economy is going:

    http://www.funnypictures.net.au/images/water-tunnel-roller-coaster-japan1.jpg

    DTOM

  • Carrie

    The military should not be spared cuts. We cannot possibly sustain this level of military spending. And when we do NEED to go to war, it should be paid for with revenue increases.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Oh yeah, the navy seals that were just killed off in Afghanistan, there are interesting articles online regarding their intentional deaths, to hide the truth about the killing of Osama.”

    Hey, if it’s online it must be true, right? Good thing you didn’t post any links to those articles, John, or you might be next to be taken out. Make sure you’ve got that aluminum foil liner securely inside your hat, or they might read your brainwaves to find out who you are.

  • John

    Steve the Cynic,

    If its on MPR or the other controlled mass media it must be true right?

  • Steve the Cynic

    I would say MPR is less untrustworthy than most media, John. But, hey, if beliving ridiculous conspiracy theories gives you a sense of meaning and purpose in life, go for it.

  • Jim Shapiro

    But fear and death is a growth industry!

  • Erica

    Absolutely NOT. We cannot police the world. I agree that calling our global network of military bases and activities as an empire not being a stretch. I believe education and health care at home are far more important.

  • Ron

    Should be cut, but won’t be cut much if at all. It is the biggest jobs program in the country and extremely profitable for the defense companies.

    Sure, those same companies would quickly and thoughtfully re-engineer themselves if the defense budget was cut in half and even a small portion of that money went into re-building our infrastructure, healthcare and education, but where is the fun in that? It’s just plain fun to blow stuff up.

  • DanA

    Panetta, like Gates, knows cuts are inevitable. He is only building his “told you so” defense if the next terrorist attack occurs during his tenure.

  • VAN

    As long as we have a President and DFL controlled Senate, our economy will stay the course toward a second recession. Those who laughed at Glenn Beck the past year are not laughing now. In February he predicted S&P would lower our rating_ he was right. In March he predicted that the Egyptian uprising would spread across the middle east and that the Muslim Brotherhood would take a controlling force…yup, right again.Cut defense beyond the necessary needs leaves us vulnerable to the pressure from China.

    Obama and the DFL controlled Congress had two plus years to make a budget and cut costs while raising revenue without increasing tax rates..they sat on their hands and did nothing. Obama’s stimulus plan sent money to unions, no job growth. If you look at the costs of th stimulus, we paid over $164,000 for each created job with most being jobs in the federal system while cutting jobs in state and community sector. So cutting defense costs question fails to address the real issues….DFL says spend more and garner more voters on the dole ( 1 of 6 are on Food stamps the past two years) Tax corporate jet owners while those pay $34,000 a dinner plate for Obama’s fund raiser last week makes a lot of sense___ hypocrisy reigns in his house.

  • Al

    To Sue de Nim who wrote: Some of us are doing that. See http://www.sojo.net

    I don’t doubt that. There are handful of Christians taking a stand against the giant military machine. However the numbers of those people that I encounter pale in comparison to the crowds of single issue Catholic anti-abortion voters I know. I know many people who only vote the “pro-life” party. Which party is that? The one that supports abortion or the one that launches us into wars under false pretenses?

  • Julie

    We should close all of our bases around the world, end the wars and bring everyone home.

    Stop the unnecessary killing and spending.

  • Steve

    Should they be spared from deep cuts…NO.

    Should they be spared from inappropriate cuts…YES!

    The above statements apply to, health costs, education, social programs, etc,

    What is currently being done to budgets has no reality to American’s needs.

    ignorant people are just cutting things they don’t even know what they are.

    Cuts can be made…but you can’t starve people, you can’t let ill people die, or America to be unsafe…. At the cost of paying blood money to some people and some companies.

    But heck we can pay for Ethanol subsidies.

    Will America survive…. not if the Tea Party stays in office!

    Steve

  • Steve

    And just how we we do this?

    “We should close all of our bases around the world, end the wars and bring everyone home.

    Stop the unnecessary killing and spending.

    Posted by Julie | August 8, 2011 1:40 PM ”

    Steve

  • kennedy

    Intransigence was a major cause of the delay/friction in settling the debt limit debate. All federal government spending should be considered for reduction. The Pentagon gets a fairly large piece of the pie and it deserves as much scrutiny as smaller spending, such as public broadcasting.

  • Julie

    Steve,

    Use your imagination. Obviously its not overnight, it took years to build this massive military machine to dominate the world. This same world domination was the downfall of the Roman and British empires.

  • Steve

    Julie,

    You state

    “Use your imagination. Obviously its not overnight, it took years to build this massive military machine to dominate the world. This same world domination was the downfall of the Roman and British empires.

    Posted by Julie | August 8, 2011 2:42 PM ”

    Julie, Really I’m on your side…but I have to face facts. It was the collapse of the military that collapsed the government of Roman and Britain.

    At this point in America… Can you say for certain what would happen if we just walk a way from helping others? No other country wants to help others… China is out for themselves… Please name me one country that steps up to the plate… …so should we just let Genocide happen?

    Julie, I agree with you in concept…but I have seen …lack of reaction kill millions…. go back to America…in the 1930-40… we let Jews die in numbers that even today some people can’t believe….but it happened.

    If I and my children have to go in to debt to save a ethnic group… so be it….

    What WE THE PEOPLE of this Great Republic… must do is not let some small group of Americans with a myopic view of the world, kill Americans and others around the world…because they can get away from it….

    Oh if only this was a simple answer.

    Steve

  • Greg

    No – cut the military. A lot – like 40-45% in the next 10 years. End all weapons and vehicle-craft development programs. Start trimming personnel and bases from friendly nations ASAP. Use the savings to cover the debt. Implement a law – anytime the USA is involved in military action with recognized nations or with terrorists – there is and automatic national sales tax to cover actual costs of the war. Tax to escalate until generated revenues cover the monthly costs of the war. War needs to be painful for those who stay at home.

  • Greg

    Steve states “Julie, Really I’m on your side…but I have to face facts. It was the collapse of the military that collapsed the government of Roman and Britain.” ][===================================================== I think they got into power ONLY because of excessive militarism. They never understood how to make conguered nations your friend. Also, the US doesn’t have quite the same legacy of oppressed colonies. We’ve some – but not in the manner of Britain or Rome. The USA’s more likely counterpart is Czarist Russia – where a limited weatlhy elite ran the country for its presonal benefit and protection – until the average Joe’s rose up and fixed that wagon. Oh the USA is surely fairer to its middle-merchant class – and it does spend something to cover management of the poverty-herd … but it requires the middle-merchant class to cover the bulk of the costs for that management. Oh there’ s some tea brewing in that pot … but I don’t think it’ll be served at a “Party”.

  • Ann

    If NASA is part of the military budget, cut it out! We don’t need to send observers to Mars when people are suffering.However, we need to provide tax incentives for companies to hire people. This should be companies that make products that people all over the world will buy. We can’t hurt the employers(what Democrats call the rich) with high taxes and regulations. The Democrats can’t pay for any of their programs without people paying taxes.There are many of us that need jobs. Both Democrats and Republicans should know that jobs are needed to pay the tax bills.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The collapse of the Roman Empire was not due to any choice on their part to cut military spending. It happened because the system was unsustainable. The economy was based on extracting tribute from conquered nations, not producing anything themselves. Eventually they ran out of weaker nations to conquer, and the military could no longer expropriate from the oppressed provinces as much as it was costing. Then, like all previous and subequent empires, it fell because it found itself with more enemies than friends. To the extent that the US functions as an empire in the world today, we can learn something from that. Foster a sustainable economy, and make more friends than enemies.

  • Steve

    Greg,

    You state….

    “Steve states “Julie, Really I’m on your side…but I have to face facts. It was the collapse of the military that collapsed the government of Roman and Britain.”

    ][=====================================================

    I think they got into power ONLY because of excessive militarism. They never understood how to make conguered nations your friend. ”

    Greg that was my point….thanks or pointing out the obviates

    “Also, the US doesn’t have quite the same legacy of oppressed colonies. We’ve some – but not in the manner of Britain or Rome.”

    I don’t disagree with your concept but I’m not sure some of the countries we have helped will agree!

    The USA’s more likely counterpart is Czarist Russia – where a limited weatlhy elite ran the country for its presonal benefit and protection – until the average Joe’s rose up and fixed that wagon. Oh the USA is surely fairer to its middle-merchant class – and it does spend something to cover management of the poverty-herd … but it requires the middle-merchant class to cover the bulk of the costs for that management. Oh there’ s some tea brewing in that pot … but I don’t think it’ll be served at a “Party”.

    Posted by Greg | August 8, 2011 3:36 PM

    OKAY you lost me on that last statement Greg…

    Steve

  • Kevin VC

    Under BUSH it recieved a doubling of its funding.

    Nothing against the men and women who serve but yeah it needs to scale back. The two wars in the middle east have died down.

    The sad thing is, much like the rest of the budget its the personnel that will likely suffer, and the related services.

    Much like the rest of the budget of the US there is no lobbying group for things ‘people’ use in general. Where as contracts with corporations do because there is money to be made off the people’s taxes.

    So things that would help long term get cut generally: Education, job development, unemployment, and other things related to give a stability in a economy.

    If the conservative mind says “Yes there is: Unions” they are misleading or uninformed. Unions though a good tool to help defend people have lost grounds since Reagan. They are really the only voice, and they do it because they know if they don’t people loose out.

    Not because of money or greed, which is the motivator of corporations….

  • Josh

    so what about the entertainment industry? or maybe even sports… how about a football player that is benched the whole season and still manages to make 500k a year?? why is everyone here focused on how the military is spending.. i sure don’t see “atheletes” risking their lives for your saftey.. and hell members of the military don’t make much money at all unless your a lt. colonel or above. The military deserve their retirement, benefits, and education. how about cutting spending on welfare where people that are just to lazy to work get assistance to live in an apartment for 40 dollars a month and get 300 dollars for food stamps but end up selling them anyway. I’m tired of people feeling so sorry for individuals that won’t do anything for themselves, look at 90% of the homeless population… you try to give them a few quarters or even a hot meal and they usually throw it in your face wanting alcohol instead. Most of the people that need help in this country got that way themselves, so they should have to fix it themselves. Why should I want to lower the security of our nation to feed a few lousy individuals with no sense of respect or constitution?

  • rose

    NO, the military should NOT be exempt from cuts.

    There is always opportunity for process improvements and savings.

    There must be programs and initiatives that can be ELIMINATED versus reduced.

    I vote for a smaller military platform and presence both within the country and external.

  • karlyn

    The next time that we are attacked, don’t ask our fine troops that did 3 or 4 tours in iraq and afghanistan to come to your aid…This is a despicable way of thanking them for their srevice to our country..We are losing mighty fine souls who are willing to risk all for our country…most of you sound like BIG ingrates and soooo naively complacent…granted, there is pork everywhere but these cuts are Mostly affecting our troops…not other personnel that could be downsized…