Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Cut military spending yourself for fun and profit
Here is the coolest site I have seen in a long time. The New York Times has created an interactive tool where you—YOU -- get to cut the military budget. Not really, but you can have a good time pretending to and you can put your own two cents in via the NYT when the real cutters get going, or don’t.
The Pentagon has committed to $450 billion in cuts over the next 10 years and Congress, because of the failure of the Super Committee, may have to cut $1 trillion from the military budget over the next 10 years, unless, of course, Congress finds some way to weasel out of its commitment to cut costs across the board.
When the New York Times and CBS polled Americans last summer during the height of the debt ceiling debacle, 55 percent wanted to cut military spending before anything else. And of those, 55 percent wanted to reduce troops in Europe and Asia while 19 percent wanted to cut weapons programs. (We have roughly 50,000 troops in Germany, 40,000 in Japan, 30,000 in South Korea and 10,000 in Italy, according to a recent survey.)
So on this site, you can set your own goal at $450 billion or $1 trillion or keep going until you are exhausted. To get to the site, just click on the link (or hold down the control key and click on the link) above. Once you have decided what you would cut – and yes, the Osprey program is an option – you “submit” your plan and the site will then show you what percentage of other Americans have chosen the same cuts you did.
Before you head over to the site, a couple of things to keep in mind:
1. The 2012 defense budget is $662 billion and eats up 60 percent of our annual federal spending. The next largest item, health and human services – which is Medicare and Medicaid – takes up 7 percent.
2. The United States spends six times more than the next biggest military spender, China.
3. The U.S. spends more on its military than the next 17countries combined.
4. There are 1,500 lobbyists for the military industry in Washington, D.C., and the defense industry spent more than $140 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2010. Boeing was the single largest campaign contributor among the top defense companies in 2008, handing candidates $2.6 million.
5. We have 2,500 nuclear weapons and another 2,600 in backup. Congressional Republicans are committed to modernizing g these weapons at a cost of as much as $600 billion over the next 10 years – weapons we will never use unless our leaders all go stark raving mad.
6. The military-industrial complex is a huge drag on the economy and a major contributor to the deficit, but, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, investing in military spending provides far fewer jobs than investment in clean energy, health care and education.