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Page added on February 17, 2018

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US military expenditure a giant elephant in the room

Public Policy

For more than 20 years, the Government Accountability Office has never been able to produce a clean audit at the Defense Department, as required by federal law to allow appropriations for the next fiscal year, because of hundreds of millions of dollars in unaccounted annual expenditures.

What does the federal government spend for military purposes? It is far larger than appropriations and allocations just to the DoD!

Most citizens are not cognizant, and politicians disguise actual total military expenditures. These expenditures and obligations account for approximately 25 percent of the total federal fiscal budget, or about 5.3 percent of U.S. GDP.

The United Kingdom and Japan, on the other hand, restrict total military expenditure to 2 percent and 1 percent of their GDP, respectively.

For FY2018, actual U.S. military expenditures and obligations not only include DoD appropriations ($622 billion) that the Office of Management of the Budget presented and the Congress increased to $695 billion, but also include appropriations at: the Department of Veterans Affairs ($177 billion); Department of Energy ($23 billion) for financing nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons, non-proliferation compliance, etc.; Department of State ($9 billion) for foreign military aid, sales and grants; National Aeronautics and Space Administration ($6 billion) for military-related space development and spy satellites; intelligence agencies (estimated at $30-$50 billion) hidden within various agency budgets; Department of Homeland Security ($7 billion) for Coast Guard and military-related activities; Drug Enforcement Agency ($1 billion) for military-related drug interdiction; and Other Defense Civil Programs ($90 billion) for retirement and Medicare of soldiers.

This aggregate amount exceeds $1 trillion annually.

Based on 2016 data of military expenditure published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, U.S. expenditure of just the DoD, inclusive of appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations ($80 billion in 2018), exceeds the next 10 countries combined. World military expenditure of all countries combined ($1.03 trillion), excluding the U.S., almost matches total U.S. military expenditure of $1.05 trillion noted above, as reported by SIPRI.

U.S. military expenditure, then, is really the giant elephant in the room that no one wishes to confront, less they sound unpatriotic. Rather than patriotism, the issue disguises underlying militarist nationalism.

What is an appropriate level of military expenditure? Not an easy question to answer! Budgets reflect moral, social and business values and choices.

From a business perspective, one has to assess the (opportunity) cost-benefit ratio and the risk-reward relationship. Is expenditure of more than $1 trillion annually resulting in a determinable gain or profit for U.S. society? How else might these scarce resources be more beneficially and usefully employed?

Since World War II, the U.S. has been virtually and incessantly involved in more than 100 military conflicts. It unsuccessfully expended scarce resources for both “guns and butter” during the Vietnam War.

With the demise of the Soviet system in Eastern Europe since 2001, the U.S. has been engaged in its longest-running war in Afghanistan, and since 2003 in Iraq, whose costs at this point exceed $4.3 trillion (Joseph Stiglitz), and now it is immersed in conflicts in Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, among other hidden conflicts.

Except for some limited conflicts in Central America and the Caribbean, no lasting military victories can be found. Are we getting our bang for the buck?

If history has taught us anything, it is that conflict resolution through military means does not resolve political differences, especially with the dissolution of artificially drawn borders in the decay of colonial exploitation. Carl von Clausewitz and Mao Zedong’s emphasis that military solutions are an extension of political control has proven merit-less.

U.S. foreign and military policy seeks to maintain leadership, control and influence over both world logistical movement and natural resource exploitation (partially because the U.S.’s 5 percent of the world’s population consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources).

Although U.S. consumers get cheap goods, it seems that U.S. and foreign multinationals are walking away with more profits than what benefits U.S. taxpayers. U.S. multinationals alone are now holding more than $2 trillion in profits outside the U.S., but not because of U.S. corporate tax rates.

China, as the second-largest economy with the most probability for future expansion, is and will rightfully contest U.S. hegemony and control over hydrocarbon shipments from the Straits of Hormuz and through the Straits of Malacca and Sunda, as well as trade flows in the western Pacific. Except for old colonizers Britain and France, European powers do not waste their resources through police or military control of their markets.

Is this investment in military, then, a trait of a weakening, un-collaborative past? We are wasting our resources if we cannot play and interact in a new order without demanding that trade and political order must subscribe only to our rules of engagement. It is a losing and costly game in an interconnected global society.

How can some of these federal appropriations for military be better used? Upon review of the administration’s 2018 budget, here are some options needed for maintaining U.S. social and economic stability:

  1. The administration’s proposal to expend $200 billion for infrastructure revitalization as part of $1.5 trillion needed, with the remainder to come from state and local governments who lack realizable funding bases, offers one option.
  2. Compared to 2017 net outlays, cutting nutrition in 2018 by $3.6 billion from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Women Infants Children and children’s school lunches while adding $6.3 billion to crop insurance subsidies could be financed.
  3. Fund the cut of $3.8 billion in the supplemental social security safety net for low-income, aged and disabled individuals.
  4. Cover the $25 billion drop in the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program to meet uncovered, future liabilities.
  5. Invest $59 billion in the Medicare — and Medicaid-related trust funds to meet greater 2018 obligations.

htr news



39 Comments on "US military expenditure a giant elephant in the room"

  1. makati1 on Sat, 17th Feb 2018 5:46 pm 

    And most of the money is wasted on junk that does not work, wars of choice that they cannot win, and graft/corruption in all stages of the system. I’m glad I no longer pay taxes to the Empire. I support it in no areas. The sooner it falls, the better for human kind and the planet’s ecology.

  2. Davy on Sat, 17th Feb 2018 5:59 pm 

    billy 3rd world, you might tell the “guys” you are a slave to your social security check. You are nothing without it. You might also tell them you have no health insurance and 75. One sickness away from destitution.

  3. Anonymouse1 on Sat, 17th Feb 2018 6:15 pm 

    Hey exceptionalist turd. Got a question and I bet you are the only one that can answer it, being you are the smartest thing ..well..ever.

    Q: What are the odds of being any particular country, or even individuals, being targeted by a covert or overt military action by the jewnited snakes of amerika?

    Is it greater, or lesser than being mauled by a dog? And if so, how much more or less?

  4. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 17th Feb 2018 6:39 pm 

    This is expensive–
    But it does supply a place to put those who cannot find a place in contemporary society.
    With the school and other shootings now, think what it would be like if we didn’t have a place for theses others?

  5. Davy on Sat, 17th Feb 2018 6:55 pm 

    Come on weasel are you trying to be funny because you are afraid of me? I guess when I handed you your ass following our tar sands debate that is understandable.

    BTW, it is Saturday night shouldn’t you be out with a date? I understand that too weasels don’t get dates they sit at home and JO. Lol.

  6. GregT on Sat, 17th Feb 2018 7:53 pm 

    “Is it greater, or lesser than being mauled by a dog? And if so, how much more or less?”

    That would depend on at least a few variables:

    1: Breed of dog
    2: How often the dog has been fed
    3: Whether the dog is rabid or not
    4: Is the mauling victim an invalid? Or capable of fighting back against the dog?

  7. Cloggie on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 5:16 am 

    Netanyahu to Iran: “do not challenge us”.

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/muenchner-sicherheitskonferenz-2018-benjamin-netanyahu-warnt-iran-a-1194120.html

    What a difference a day makes!

    In the mid-nineties a bunch of neocons, who happen to own the US, were sitting together, plotting for a (((New American Century))). An important ingredient to solidify US global power after the demise of the USSR was to expand the US empire into what the German Army peak oil watchers called the “strategic ellipse”, where more than 70% of the world’s oil and gas reserves are/were located:

    https://deepresource.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/strategicellipse.png?w=538&h=317

    Now wouldn’t that be a nice US asset?! Dick Cheney, a peak oil believer, thought it would and his handlers thought so too.

    Now the Napoleonic days that you can simply invade a country because it feels good and you happen to have a “Grande Armee”, these days are over. So a moral pretext needed to be created. Leave that to the Americans, who can say “Hitler” before you can blink your eyes. Accidentally these neocons happened to have good relations with the Israeli Mossad (one wonders why that is) and they organized a spectacular event, with blowing up buildings, just because a few planes were telecrashed into it.

    Game, set and match for the neocons, who got away with it until today (which is because there are too many Davy-empire flag-wavers, low on morale and decency, helping covering it up).

    It was 9/11 that on flimsy proof (waterboarding helped close the gap) the US army invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The US army is still in Afghanistan and is used as such to test Russian weapons against them, operated by the Taliban, the same Taliban the US used to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

    The US was de facto thrown out of Iraq, although the US said they won, just like Britain still loves to claim it won WW2, while en passant losing the largest empire in world history to their American “friends”. Ah well, as long as the Jerries don’t win, eh?

    Now Iraq is a Iranian client state.

    No worries, the US thought it could correct its Iraqi mistake or rather seek compensation by at least toppling Russian client state Syria by hiring Jihadist-with-an-attitude, by saying: “look, dear moderate Islamics whatever, we are going to arm you, if you overthrow evil dictator Assad, provided you organize gay pride parades afterwards in downtown Damascus and be nice to wimmin and install demockressy”. Jihadis to America: “that’s OK, give us the weapons”.

    The first thing they really did instead was throwing off heaumeau’s from high buildings and declare a 7th century style Islamic State Caliphate. Game, set and match for Samuel Huntington. George Soros, a big Duh.

    Fortunately this and several Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe created the excuse and Moral High Ground for Vlad the Great and his merry bunch of Iranians to intervene and destroy the Islamic State, leaving the Americans no choice but to pretend they liked what Russia was doing. After all, Americans love to portray themselves as Champ-terrarism fighters. Well then.

    Meanwhile, Iran can count not only on Iraq but also Syria somewhat as a client state and Syria happens to border Israel.

    Now it gets really interesting. Rather than Carl Bernsteins’s “Jewish neocons” redesigning the Middle-East to the advantage of Israel, as planned in the mid-nineties, now Israel runs the risk of becoming redesigned itself. If Iran and Turkey somehow manage to become the France and Germany of an Islamic version of the EU, Palestine is toast.

    Here we have Erdogan, without English subs…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD5Uzrm2Cdo

    ..declaring that he wants to make peace with the Shia and that he wants Palestine back (oh and El-Andaluz, for Americans that would be Spain).

    Israelis can’t claim they were not warned. Fortunately they can always set up shop in New York State.

  8. Davy on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 5:50 am 

    A history revisionist desperate word salad.

  9. Cloggie on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:12 am 

    A history revisionist desperate word salad.

    Oh the splendid depth of American intellectualism.ROFL

    As per usual, Davy does not engage in a real discussion, trying to vivisect my alleged “word salad”. He would not know where to begin. No intellectual horse-power, only intellectual goat-power. He is completely unable to present a factual bird’s-eye counter-view of what happened over the last 2 decades.

  10. deadly on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 7:01 am 

    You can’t have a country without a military.

    An organized military force is necessary to maintain economic activity.

    Ya, send this freighter through the Indian Ocean, everything will be fine.

    Until the pirates catch up to you, then there is trouble.

    The Portugese traded with India. However, the Muslim trade with India was important business and the Muslims made life miserable for Portugal’s merchant fleet. Send in an armed force and build fortifications, we ain’t budging, were here to do some trade and business. You might not like it, might start a fight, but we’re gonna fight back.

    Life is sometimes fraught with danger.

    The slave trade was good business then and business was good. If you are captured along with the rest of your cohorts, you will probably end up enslaved by the captors.

    You gotta fight, keeps you from being a slave.

    If you have to don a uniform and carry weapons with a mobilized force, then so be it. You can raise hell everywhere you go.

    It’s all in the history books.

  11. JuanP on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 7:10 am 

    How is this news? The USA has been the most agressive, violent, and criminal country in the world for decades, if not centuries. As a Latin American, I feel that to say the USA has been a terrorist nation for almost two centuries is completely appropriate. The only other country in the world that measures up to the USA’s terroristic violence and criminality is Israel. On a per capita basis Israel is the worst country in the world, but because of its size the USA does the most damage. If the USA and Israel ceased to exist the other 95% of humanity would be delighted. The peaceful dissolution of these two terrorist nations would be great news, but I am afraid that they will not go peacefully since they were founded on violence and have subsisted on terrorism since their foundations.

  12. Shortend on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 8:55 am 

    Some years ago the WSJ reported 80% of the Worlds military spending was by USA, and if its allies were included it accounted close to 90%! Damn these guys are good! No worry about who runs the planet

  13. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:16 am 

    US military spending vs other countries

    https://imgur.com/a/aqc0P

  14. Davy on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:19 am 

    “TOP MILITARY SPENDERS Comparison of US and Other Nations’ Military Spending 2010”
    http://www.comw.org/pda/120618-Military-Spending-Comparison.html

    This graph is a little outdated but there was nothing handy to show the most recent numbers. What it does do is show purchasing power parity influence

    Basically China spends about 1/3 the US and if you combine Russia with China then I suspect these days it is closer to ½. Both countries have significantly increased defense spending.

  15. Duncan Idaho on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:19 am 

    “The only other country in the world that measures up to the USA’s terroristic violence and criminality is Israel.”

    Yea, I remember being in the Guatemalan embassy, where only 15 countries or so would even recognize their existence, the Israeli and US flags were prominently displayed.

  16. Cloggie on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:29 am 

    ““TOP MILITARY SPENDERS Comparison of US and Other Nations’ Military Spending 2010””

    You can’t buy morale.

    #GreetingsFromHanoi

  17. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:36 am 

    The Pentagon is the worlds largest employer. Larger than Mcdonalds worldwide even…That is one of my theories about why the US is always engaged in endless wars theses days. They have to find something for the troops to do. I mean you cant have all these troops just sweeping bases all the time..

  18. Cloggie on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:39 am 

    “The Pentagon is the worlds largest employer. Larger than Mcdonalds worldwide even…That is one of my theories about why the US is always engaged in endless wars theses days. They have to find something for the troops to do. I mean you cant have all these troops just sweeping bases all the time..”

    BS. They want to conquer the world but all Washington got to accomplish that goal is you.lol

  19. Boat on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:39 am 

    Juan,

    Interesting that when the US sides with one faction or another in a small country you see US terrorists. Some countries it’s Shiite, some countries Sunni, some countries have Kurds some have Jews. How is it all you can see is the US and Israel? Every one of these conflicts has a consortium of countries from around the world that help the US and the side the US is supporting. You do not seem to be able to see them or their impact either. This ability to non see is called hate, not commonsense.
    Nigeria has rebels that blow up pipelines. They ask the US for help. The gov in your mind isn’t labeled a terrorist, the rebels are not labeled as a terrorist. Just the US. Not even EU partners who help. Do you really think this way or just talk shyt without thinking like so many others.

  20. Sissyfuss on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 9:42 am 

    The US will continue to be the global police force until the printing presses begin to smoke and then seize up.

  21. Boat on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 10:06 am 

    MM

    China has a million more troops than the US. Sigh…google

  22. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 10:10 am 

    Cannibals’ may have eaten woman alive after raping her in front of her husband

    http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/25/cannibals-may-eaten-woman-alive-raping-front-husband-7258827/

    And this is happening before BAU has gone down..Just imagine how much worse things will be here soon when BAU collapses.

  23. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 11:32 am 

    Boat

    China is second behind the US department of Defense.

    US Defense 3.2 million

    China Army 2.3 Million

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_employers

  24. Boat on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 12:03 pm 

    MM

    I was talking manpower that the gov controls. The companies are private and Compete for contracts.
    They are not required to do anything they don’t want to. For example toilet paper manufacturers supply the military, are they included? Where do you draw the line.

  25. GregT on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 12:33 pm 

    Boat,

    The world’s largest employer was where the line was drawn, not “manpower that the gov controls.”

  26. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 12:57 pm 

    JuanP

    What about the US spending more and donating more to charity worldwide than any other country on earth? What about the US taking in more refugees than any other country on earth? What about the US military protecting the shipping routes all around the world so the world can enjoy free trade? And what about almost every developed country in the world creating their own Constitution based off of what our founders created? You have to take the bitter with the sweet..

  27. Outcast_Searcher on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 12:58 pm 

    Let’s not pretend we can snap our fingers and solve the US spending problem by shrinking the military.

    Now, if you could get both sides to shrink the military AND the wasteful components of social spending by meaningful amounts, that could balance the budget.

    But given the attitudes of politicians and the voters who elect them, I expect flying cars in most driveways, powered by “Mr. Fusion” portable power cells first — it’s not going to happen.

  28. Outcast_Searcher on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 1:00 pm 

    Good old MM, citing possible extremist events to bolster the case for doom.

    Did that work for you in debate club?

  29. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 1:08 pm 

    Anticipating the Apocalypse? How to Grow Bud in a Bunker

    https://hightimes.com/grow/anticipating-the-apocalypse-how-to-grow-bud-in-a-bunker/

  30. makati1 on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 5:32 pm 

    “…If the USA and Israel ceased to exist the other 95% of humanity would be delighted.”

    I hope that happens soon, JuanP. Today?

  31. Davy on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 5:39 pm 

    sure billy 3rd word like you have your hand on the pulse of the world. More like not much of a pulse at all affecting brain activity.

  32. makati1 on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:03 pm 

    American Empire hypocrisy.

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2018/02/18/election-meddling/#more-170849

    Nuff said.

  33. Davy on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:06 pm 

    lol, more burning platform dot com from billy 3rd world.

  34. makati1 on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:14 pm 

    “When the news broke on Valentine’s Day that 17 people—mostly young students—had lost their lives in Parkland, Florida, one could be forgiven for being numb. Of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in US history, six have come after 2012. Of those six, three have occurred in the last 5 months, including the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that claimed 58 lives, the deadliest in US history….

    …Let’s put that number into perspective. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 took 3,000 lives. At an average of 12,500 deaths a year, 200,000 people in the United States have been murdered with the use of a firearm since those attacks 16 years ago. That’s equal to 67 September 11 attacks. That’s equal to filling New York’s Madison Square Garden to capacity, killing everyone inside, and then repeating that process 9 more times. That’s equal to killing every single person in Salt Lake City….

    …The moral perversity that allows one to think that universal healthcare is tyranny but dead school children are the price of freedom is what is corroding the soul of the United States.”

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/are-dead-children-the-price-of-freedom/5629628

    No mention of the tens of thousands of innocent children killed in the US wars of choice (plunder).

  35. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:16 pm 

    Madkat

    If the US and Israel didn’t exist it would create a vacuum that some other nation would fill..Just like every time you lock up a drug dealer it creates a new one…This is why your crusade against America is futile…You are just uneducated and ignorant of history.

  36. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:17 pm 

    Madkat

    What about the US donating more to charity worldwide than any other country on earth? What about American’s like Bill Gates saving millions of lives in Africa? What about the US taking in more refugees than any other country on earth? What about the US military protecting the shipping routes all around the world so the world can enjoy free trade? And what about almost every developed country in the world creating their own Constitution based off of what our founders created? You have to take the bitter with the sweet..

  37. Davy on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:19 pm 

    global research dot com is a Canadian nutter site billy 3rd world.

  38. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 6:21 pm 

    Madkat

    …The moral perversity that allows one to think that universal healthcare is tyranny but dead school children are the price of freedom is what is corroding the soul of the United States.”

    That only applies to the nut jobs on the right..That is because they are brainwashed from cradle to the grave…

  39. MASTERMIND on Sun, 18th Feb 2018 7:58 pm 

    The US is Executing a Global War Plan

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/18/us-is-executing-global-war-plan.html

    We need to nuke China and India and Russia..And take their oil to cover the gap left by fracking and then we can be oil independent while the rest of the world runs out and collapses! And we will rule the world! BWAAAAA

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