Dinosaurs and the Military Budget

While the trend is smaller, smarter, cheaper, America builds bigger, more expensive and less efficient clunkers. It is just like the aircraft carriers it builds – huge inertia and slow-to-change direction.

Our country spends more on our military than the rest of the world combined. And what I wonder: is it necessary to spend so much to be a superpower? America is building bigger and more expensive stuff all the time and I think that approach makes us more vulnerable, not more secure.

While the trend is smaller, smarter, cheaper, America builds bigger, more expensive and less efficient clunkers. It is just like the aircraft carriers it builds – huge inertia and slow-to-change direction.

Wasteful spending and the end of the dinosaurs in military.

F-35. New F-35 Prices: A: $95M; B: $102M; C: $116M

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive, and possibly the most error-ridden, project in the history of the United States military. But DOD has sunk so much money into the F-35 — which is expected to cost $1.5 trillion over the 55-year life of the program — that the Pentagon deemed it “too big to fail” in 2010. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101883138

The makers of one of the most expensive weapons programs in history went on the defensive today, saying a recent report on the F-35 fighter jet’s failures in old-school dog-fighting against a decades-old, much cheaper, legacy fighter “does not tell the whole story.” https://gma.yahoo.com/military-don-t-worry-f-35-most-expensive-213045869–abc-news-topstories.html

But it is…a hugely expensive clunker

It is possible to build three cheaper and more effective fighters instead of one F-35. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yp–2X2zaKs

The Scorpion is designed to be affordable, costing the US $3,000 per flight hour, with a unit cost expected to be below US $20 million. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textron_AirLand_Scorpion

Aircraft carriers

The Navy’s high-tech first Ford-class aircraft carrier, slated for delivery in March of next year, is widely known for cost overruns that brought the eventual cost of the platform to $12.8 billion. http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/03/20/navy-launches-new-aircraft-carrier-study-to-find-cost-savings.html

Anti-aircraft carrier missiles also cost a fraction of the cost of a carrier. 

Carriers are more survivable than land bases by a large margin but they are still vulnerable, especially in the dawning age of widely proliferating quiet submarine technology; the anti-ship ballistic missiles such as China’s evolving DF-21D. Also, since the majority of America’s carrier force is in port at any given time, they are more vulnerable to an attack, especially at super-bases such as Norfolk, Virginia where around half the force is located. http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/why-the-us-navy-should-build-smaller-aircraft-carriers-1600899834

Tanks

  1. About 6,000 M1A1 Abrams were produced from 1986–92 and featured the M256 120 mm (4.7 in) smooth-bore cannon developed by Rheinmetall, AG of Germany for the Leopard 2, improved armor and a CBRN protection system. Production of M1 and M1A1 tanks totaled some 9,000 tanks at a cost of approximately $4.3 million per unit. https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&q=cost+of+new+abrams+tank&oq=cost+of+new+abrams+tank&gs_l=serp.3..0i22i30.341432.351554.0.353936.9.9.0.0.0.0.124.797.7j2.9.0….0…1c.1.64.serp..6.3.285.ebiXyn6M-hA

But do you really need a tank to kill another tank?

An anti-tank missile costs a small fraction of the cost of a tank…about one hundredth. Also the concept of a “smart mine” that runs under the tank’s tracks…a kamikaze drone programmed to intercept a moving tank.

The idea is to produce cheaper, smaller and faster systems that are armed with state-of-the-art weapons.

A minimum amount of bells and whistles.

What is wrong with anti-tank drones (smart mines) that run under the tracks? They are cheap and will stop a tank.

The bigger the machine, the easier to hit it. And no matter what defenses one uses, it is still vulnerable.

Now try to kill the bee swarm with the tank. Or with the fighter jet. Good luck with that.

One sunken aircraft carrier is thousands of lives, billions of dollars and about 10% of the whole US fleet.

What is the alternative? Who needs an aircraft carrier if any location on this planet can be reached with the MAC 20 plane within an hour?

I am not pretending that I know the answers. But I do know that F-35 or 78 ton Abrams is not the answer. There is a “big” mentality in this country. Bigger, heavier, thicker armor and so on.

(Doesn’t that remind you of the way of the dinosaurs?)

The result has been a pattern of fielding exquisite platforms in diminishing numbers at great cost.”

“Dramatic improvements in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, biology and nano-materials are changing the cost/effectiveness calculation in favor of the “many and simple” against the “few and complex.” http://warontherocks.com/2014/07/the-future-of-warfare-small-many-smart-vs-few-exquisite/

A long time ago Stanislaw Lem wrote a novel called Invincible where microscopic robots are fighting the Earth’s powerful spaceship. The problem for the spaceship is that it is just one against trillions and trillions self-replicating flying bug-sized drones. The ship was defeated.

Interesting that insects on our planet have a much better chance of survival than elephants for example.

So, in my opinion, our military budget can be cut if the money is spent wisely instead of producing dinosaurs.

Sequester Convenience and Inept Congress.

This means that the programs for the children, the disabled, the sick, education, research, etc. will remain in the sequester. It looks to me like Congress is trying to patch up the mistakes they made in the sequester and they are playing the favorites game. Is that why we elected them?

 

He is being polite!
He is being polite!

“Policymakers included the threat of sequestration in the Budget Control Act because they believed the fear of the thoughtless, across-the-board nature of these budget cuts would force more thoughtful and productive deficit reduction measures.”http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/04/30/the-sequester-cuts-air-travel-and-the-absurd-us-congress

“The $1.2 trillion in budget cuts would be spread over nine years and are equally divided between domestic and defense-related

Sequester affects the poor and sick.
She is the culprit!

spending. During the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, $85 billion worth of cuts are set to go into effect. The budget cuts would end in 2021…” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/what-is-the-sequester_n_2783917.html

“The military will see $550 billion in cuts, drawing funds away from national security and military operations. On the domestic side, cuts will affect health care, education, law enforcement, disaster relief, unemployment benefits, non-profit organization funds, scientific research and more.

The sequester stipulates certain areas of government spending that will see no cuts. No money will be drawn from spending on wars and military personnel. Funding allocated for Medicaid, Social Security, Pell grants, veterans’ benefits and some low-income programs will not be affected, either.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/what-is-the-sequester_n_2783917.html

Sequester cuts school lunch programs.
Not important

What will be next?

Oops, the meat industry does not like the sequester because meat inspectors will not be able to do their job of inspecting meat. Therefore, according to the regulation, meat companies would have to close. Congress said OK, we will reinstate that funding – Americans cannot live without meat.

And then came April 26, 2013. Congress heard complaints from all over the country about lines at the airport. And guess what? Congress has to fly during their spring break so yes, they found money to reinstate cuts to air traffic control.

Dear Congress – I created a Facebook Page called “Sequester Cuts Stories” and I am inviting you to write your airport horror stories.

If the sequester reinstatement by Congress will continue in this manner, then only those programs with the biggest mouth and strongest voices will be spared. This means that the programs for the children, the disabled, the sick, education, research, etc. will remain in the sequester. It looks to me like Congress is trying to patch up the mistakes they made in the sequester and they are playing the favorites game. Is that why we elected them?

sequester and gopStop playing games and get back to work!

The National Debt and the Fall Guy – You!

“Financial crisis, recession cost U.S. $12.8 trillion”, report says.”The financial crisis and the Great Recession have taken a toll on the U.S. Now one advocacy group says it has calculated that cost: to be at least $12.8 trillion.

We are in danger.  Our country, our economy, our way of life is in danger.  We need to reduce the National Debt.

We, as a country, need drastic spending cuts.

Big Government is a problem.

Question:  Who are the people that are insisting on these drastic cuts?  And what exactly do they want to cut?

Step one:  Let’s see how “Big Government” managed to run up this huge debt.

 

Cost of wars
Killed by Bush – Cheney

Illegal and criminal Iraq war:   $1 Trillion.

Veterans’ care:  A study estimates that the cost of Iraq veterans’ healthcare and disability will run between $422 billion and $717 billion. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2011/12/15/what-did-the-iraq-war-cost-more-than-you-think

Bush tax cuts:  Cost to the U.S. Treasury from Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest Five Percent:

First decade of Bush tax cuts (2001 – 2010):  $955 billion.

Obama extension (2011 – 2012):  $229 billion.

Proposed extension (2013 – 2021):  $2.02 trillion.

Total cost (2001 – 2021):  $3.2 trillion.  http://costoftaxcuts.com/about/

Huge defense spending:  Spending in 2012 will total $612 billion, according to the Pentagon.

The core Pentagon budget – with the cost of the wars excluded – is now $531 billion.  As things stand, defense takes up around 20 percent of the entire federal budget, roughly the same as Social Security and massively outstripping federal spending on transportation, education and science. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49404306/ns/us_news-security/#.USa4rKWce7g 

Question :  Who is responsible?

Answer:  Congress.

Big banks CEO too big to jail
Too big to jail

“Financial crisis, recession cost U.S. $12.8 trillion,” a report says.  “The financial crisis and the Great Recession have taken a toll on the U.S.  Now one advocacy group says it has calculated that cost to be at least $12.8 trillion.  The estimate from Better Markets, a public interest group that supports tougher financial regulations, came in a 72-page report released just days before the four-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros.”
http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/09/13/2294227/great-recession-cost-at-least.html#storylink=cpy

Question:  Who is responsible?  Too big to jail?

Answer:  Global corporations and financial institutions seemingly not accountable to any Government.  They hold governments and economies hostage because a collapse of any of these criminal enterprises could cause a chain reaction resulting in economic disaster.

 

The super rich
Just surviving…

Sequester – The culprit:  GOP protecting the super rich.  Below is a short example of suffering of the super rich who are falling on hard times:  The Chicago Tribune recently reported on family hardship.  A family is forced to demolish a super luxury home due to the lack of space.  Forced to make a choice between living in cramped quarters of just 13,000 square feet or demolishing a decrepit 20 year old mansion, the family decides to demolish the old house.  I was almost in tears reading this sad story.

Mega mansion frenzy:  Buyer snaps up Pat Riley’s $16M home to level it, rebuild.”

“Ultra-luxury homes in Miami are hitting record prices as the super-rich look for bigger and better homes with de rigueur waterfront views.”  Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/09/3226102/mega-mansion-frenzy-buyer-snaps.html#storylink=cpy

 

Social Darwinism
Death panel CEO

Question:  Which Big Government programs do these “Patriots”, these real Americans, want to take an axe to?

Answer:  “Entitlements like Medicaid and Medicare.

A just-released 30-page investigative report in Time magazine on the Medical- Industrial complex states:

“The healthcare-industrial complex spends more than three times what the military-industrial complex spends in Washington.”

The whole Sickness Management Industrial complex is a parasite sucking the life out of our society.  It is a  growing cancer that threatens to swallow the country.  Thousands of nonprofit institutions have morphed into high-profit, high-profile businesses that have the best of both worlds.  They have become entities akin to low-risk, must-have public utilities that nonetheless pay their operators as if they were high-risk entrepreneurs.”  Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/#ixzz2LrCUqC5Q

Instead of cutting help to those who need it most, perhaps we can control the obscene profits of the “not for profit” sickness management industry.  Maybe we can force the drug manufacturers to reduce their outrageous prices and improve the health of our economy. 

An outrageous thought:  Since Medicare pays much less than insurance companies for the same medical services, how about MEDICARE FOR ALL!?

And maybe the super rich could pay just a little more in taxes, even if they will be forced to live in cramped thirteen thousand square feet shacks.  Is this too much to ask?

Simply put, it is my opinion that crooks who ruined our economy should be jailed and the money they stole recouped.

I realize war criminals like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld will not be able to bring back the 4,000 American soldiers killed in Iraq or make whole the tens of thousands of terribly injured veterans.  Nor will they repay over a trillion dollars wasted on wars.  But as criminals, they should be tried and put in jail.  

My personal view:

US jails are full of petty criminals while the real criminals who are responsible for our national debt are doing great.  Some even work as political and economic advisers.  Isn’t this great?  How outrageous and offensive to most Americans!

The people who caused the debt do not want to pay a little more in taxes to reduce our nation’s mounting debt.  No, they would rather divert our attention from their misdeeds and lay the blame on “Big Government”. 

So Big Government, why don’t you prove your usefulness and go after the crooks who are responsible for our national debt?.

And media, why don’t you expose and confront the Republican Party which continues to exacerbate the problems we face by artificially creating crisis after crisis making the mess we are in even worse?.

GOP hypocrites.
Republicans and debt

And Republicans by their action or inaction are getting very close to joining the ever-widening ranks of criminals.

U.S. Military Industrial Complex – No. 1 in the World

It is time to get tough and show our military might around the world. We need to increase our military spending as proposed by the Romney-Ryan ticket. After all we only spend 6 or 7 times what China spends on defense. And China now has a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier and the U.S. only has eleven (11) modern aircraft carriers. Sure we spend as much as the rest of the world on the military and policing the world, but what if the whole World including all of our allies turn on us?

Sacrificing the future
America the Beautiful

It is time to get tough and show our military might around the world. We need to increase our military spending, as proposed by the Romney-Ryan ticket. After all, we only spend 6 or 7 times what China spends on defense. And China now has a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier, while the U.S. only has eleven (11) modern aircraft carriers. Sure, we spend as much as the whole rest of the world on the military and policing the world, but what if the whole world, including all of our allies, turn on us?

Obama is reducing our troops in Europe. We’re down to under 80,000. What are we going to do if the Soviet Union comes back after 20 years? We need troops on the ground around the world, right? We have to increase military spending at all costs. How else are we going to remain No. 1 in military spending and maintain all of our bases around the world?

More than the est of the world
Who needs education?

We create most of the weapons and ammunition used by the rest of the world. Arms and destruction are a key business – Big Business in this country. Policing the world is far more important than jobs, the economy, education, science, research, our infrastructure, Supreme Court nominations, energy independence and green energy, global warming, environmental issues, healthcare, and women’s rights.

No one really believes in promoting the general welfare of the U.S. even though it is stated in the preamble to the Constitution, right? It’s far more important to police the entire world than to address justice or domestic tranquility here at home. Certainly policing the world is far better than providing for the common defense of our nation. And anyone who doesn’t think we should police the world is probably a socialist or a communist. There must be a lot of communists out there, since almost every Republican running for office calls their opponent a communist.

America jags behind in education, health and health care
Everybody loves me!

It just doesn’t matter that we’re ranked 14th in reading, 25th in Math, and 17th in Science. And that the World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction. It doesn’t matter that other countries are exceeding us in science and engineering degrees. We’re now ranked 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering. Forget all that, what’s important is that we are No. 1 in military spending and policing the world. Look at how many times the Republicans have made fun of people with advanced degrees and academic accomplishments. The Republicans know what’s important and it’s not education, right?

Police the world

And God forbid we ever cut back on useless defense spending like the refurbishing of 2,000 tanks that are not needed according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Paul Ryan wants to cut every other agency and program in the budget, but not a dime from useless military spending and waste. And of course the Congress is backing him. We can’t have any reduction or loss of jobs in our military-industrial sector. Remember, weapons and destruction are big business in this country.

So let’s support the Romney-Ryan policies of policing the world, military might and no negotiations. Let’s elect a real bully to the White House and give him an uncompromising obstructionist ideologue as his running mate. We’ll show China, Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, and any other country that doesn’t agree with us.

Why democrats are not selling their budget reduction plan?

So, my question is, if we know what has to be done to reduce the deficit and majority of Americans understand and support measures and policies to achieve deficit reduction, why Democrats are not talking about it on every corner? Why they do not talk to American public? What is so difficult to sell if there is a support?

What created this huge deficit in US?

1. Bush tax cut, and extended by Obama.  It is estimated that this tax cut cost our country

For top 1% –                $714,787,400,000

For the next 4% –      $329,697,930,000

Total – since 2002 – over 1 trillion dollars.

2. Two unpaid wars – Conservatively it is estimated so far at 3-4 trillion dollars.

3. Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cost a year – almost $900,000,000,000.

So, those programs are the biggest price tags in the budget.

Americans support for each of the programs:

  1. Bush tax cut, extended by Obama – 60% of Americans support tax increase on those making more then $250,000
  2. End wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (part of overseas military commitment in Federal budget)  – 65% of Americans support reduction of overseas military commitments.
  3. Social Programs – although cutting social programs are not popular among Americans, everybody understands that something has to be done to Medicare and Medicaid.
Cannot handle the load?
Democrats right now.

Democrats support all three programs: military reduction, Medicare reduction, and tax increase.

Republicans support only 1 program: Medicare and Medicaid reduction. But no tax increase and no military cuts.

So, my question is, if we know what has to be done to reduce the deficit and majority of Americans understand and support measures and policies to achieve deficit reduction, why  are Democrats not talking about it on every corner? Why do they not inform the American public?  If  there is strong public  support,  what is so difficult to sell?

Insanity Taxes and Jobs

Republicans are saying that cutting taxes will create more jobs, more jobs will bring more taxes into Government coffers. But, if so far tax cuts did not create jobs, then we will not get more taxes to the Government coffers.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

I listen to to those advocating lower taxes for the purpose of  jobs creation. One can argue that lower corporate taxes can create more jobs or that this policy would just create more wealth for those who are already wealthy. But how do lower personal taxes affect job growth?

I decided to analyze some statistics of George W. Bush’s Presidency.

1. Jobs created during George W. Bush’ term of office.

The table below from WSJBlog  compares job growth during the presidencies of our last five Presidents. One can easily see from this  table that not that many jobs were created during the G.W. Bush years.

President   

Jobs created   

Jobs at end of term   

Jobs at start of term   

Payroll expansion   

Jobs created per year in office   

Population growth   

Percent change in population   

George W. Bush,8 years 3.0 million 135.5 million 132.5 million 2.3% 375,000 22.0 million 7.7%
Bill Clinton,8 years 23.1 million 132.5 million 109.4 million 21.1% 2,900,000 25.2 million 8.9%
George H.W. Bush, 4 years 2.5 million 109.4 million 106.9 million 2.3% 625,000 12.5 million 4.8%
Ronald Reagan,8 years 16.0 million 106.9 million 90.9 million 17.6% 2,000,000 17.3 million 7%
Jimmy Carter,4 years 10.5 million 90.9 million 80.4 million 13.1% 2,600,000 9.8 million 4.3%

2. Tax cuts during George W. Bush’s Presidency.

From  Wikipedia re:  G.W. Bush tax cuts:

Tax cuts for the rich
Insanity

“During his first term (2001–2005), he sought and obtained Congressional approval for tax cuts: the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. These acts decreased all tax rates, reduced the capital gains tax, increased the child tax credit and eliminated the so-called “marriage penalty”, and are set to expire in 2011.”

The question – do tax cuts help job creation?

I add one more pertinent statistic

3.  Corporations cash on hand.

From the WSJ“Rather than pouring their money into building plants or hiring workers, non-financial companies in the U.S. were sitting on $1.93 trillion in cash and other liquid assets at the end of September, 2010 up from $1.8 trillion at the end of June, 2010 the Federal Reserve said Thursday. Cash accounted for 7.4% of the companies’ total assets — the largest share since 1959.”

Why are we trying to cut more taxes?  Why are we trying to do the same ineffectual thing again and again?

Republicans continually state that cutting taxes will create more jobs, and more jobs will bring more dollars into government coffers. But recent history says tax cuts do not create jobs, and thus we will not get more monies into our government’s  treasury.

Wouldn’t it be better to raise personal taxes on those making $250,000.00 (taxable income) and invest this revenue on the education and specializatiom of our workers so that they may fill those jobs that clearly require technical education, knowledge and training ?  If we did this, then we would have additional dollars coming to the Government coffers.

Obama’s Reagan-Like Move?

Reagan floated the crazy idea of nuclear war from space out into the public debate as an extreme position. Later, he floated the MX missile proposal out as a more moderate plan.

Although I was much too young to remember, the history books tell me that President Ronald Reagan proposed a brand new defense system for the United States in 1983. That system, the “Strategic Defense Initiative” was quickly dubbed “Star Wars” by the media as the proposal included reearching the possibility of shooting incoming missiles with lasers from space. After much derision, the program was eventually scrapped.

In March of 1985, President Reagan won the creation of the MX missile system. The MX was to be the newest breed of Intercontinental Ballistic (Nuclear) Missiles, capable of being transported by railway. This would allegedly give the United States an advantage over Soviet missiles that were targeted at U.S. ICBM sites. The idea being that you can’t destroy what you can’t hit. While many liberals view both of Reagan’s policies as his effort to ramp up defense spending, they are ignoring the the truth. In reality, Reagan’s proposals was a brilliant political move. Reagan never really wanted Star Wars. In a classic bait and switch, Reagan floated the crazy idea of nuclear war from space out into the public debate as an extreme position. Later, he floated the MX missile proposal out as a more moderate plan. In comparing the two, the public (and Congress) felt that the MX was less crazy and approved the program. Mind you, Reagan had been pushing for the MX for years. It wasn’t until he proposed Star Wars that he was able to get what he wanted.

So how does this fit in with Obama? President Obama is currently catching a lot of flack from the left for letting the Republicans set the agenda in the 2012 budget debate. It is widely reported that Obama screwed up by letting Paul Ryan propose his proposal first. In doing so, it is argued that anything Obama proposes will be set against Ryan’s. Thus, Ryan’s becomes the anchor for negotiation and Obama has to react to it. Here’s where the arguably Reagan-like move comes in. It seems like forever ago, but remember the Simpson-Bowles commission? It passed it’s plan in November of 2010. It called for increasing the retirement age of Social Security, increasing contributions for high income earners to social security, increasing taxes, eliminate earmarks, cutting defense spending and a host of other proposals. More information can be found here: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/deficit-commission-co-chairs-simpson-and-bowles-release-eye-popping-recommendations.php

And remember what happened with it? Nothing. After months of hyping it up, the plan was shelved. Flash forward to today.As of this writing, Obama is meeting with Simpson and Bowles to discuss their plan. It appears that their plan is going to be the baseline for the Democrats’ response to Ryan. As a liberal, I would like to see a more left-wing plan like the one proposed by the Progressive Caucus today. That plan called for 80% of the deficit to be made up by tax increases http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/if-progressives-ran-the-world/2011/04/13/AFD7YtYD_story.html

But the Simpson/Bowles plan serves many Democratic aims. It decreases defense spending and calls for raising taxes on the wealth. It also has many sound policy proposals to deal with entitlement reform. It appears that Obama might have channeled Reagan with his bait and switch. Did he know that the Republicans would come back with an extreme (and politically dangerous) budget plan at the time of the Simpson/Bowles plan? Was he reading the tea leaves of the November mid-term election and foresaw what would happen?Granted, I’m not sure if this was Obama’s intention all along. It might be that he didn’t anticipate the debate over the 2011 and 2012 budgets (and forthcoming deficit cap debate). But, if he did, it was a BRILLIANT move politically. It would be quite a coup if he was able to pass a tax increase in the current climate, let alone needed entitlement reform and a reduction in military spending.

We’ll just have to wait and see….