The US Defense Budget inadquate?

#1
Army Chief Laments Defense Budget Fights By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Americans spent as much on "plastic Santa Clauses," tinsel and other holiday purchases last year as they will for defense in the coming year, the Army's top general said Wednesday, lamenting complaints about the military's budget requests.

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told reporters: "I just don't understand. ... What's the problem?"

Schoomaker said the defense budget the Bush administration requested for the fiscal year starting in October — nearly $440 billion — plus the costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, is 3.9 percent of the nation's nearly $13 trillion overall economy.

During World War II, military expenditures accounted for more than one-third of the economy, he said, calling today's piece of the pie the "lowest percent ... that we've ever spent in wartime."

"Here's what is amazing to me. ... What do you think we spent on plastic Santa Clauses and tinsel and all this stuff for Christmas last year ... the holidays?" Schoomaker asked during a meeting with reporters. "The answer is $438.5 billion, roughly equivalent to the defense budget."

The general said he got the figure on Christmas spending from a newspaper clipping quoting the National Retail Association.

The actual number from the National Retail Federation was a few billion less — $435.3 billion — and it was a projection for "winter holidays," meaning it included Thanksgiving turkeys and other seasonal spending, said federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis.

Even so, the general's point was clear: America is a rich country, and he thinks it needs to spend more on defense.

Schoomaker was discussing his concern that it might take a fight to get enough money from Congress to rebuild the Army's equipment and supplies worn down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Officials have said the military would continue to submit requests for such money for at least two years after the last troops come home — which President Bush has said will probably be years from now.

"I've told Congress this," he said to a defense writers group. "I've told everybody this: What's the problem?"

"I mean I don't get it," Schoomaker said. "We've got a lot to be thankful for in this country, and we've got a lot to lose. And one of the first responsibilities of government is to defend the country. The Constitution says that."

Asked about Schoomaker's remarks, the No. 2 House Democratic leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) of Maryland, said he believed the general was frustrated over the budget pressures his agency is facing.

"My gut is, his real problem is he knows we're spending a very large amount on Iraq and Afghanistan and, at the same time, spending is squeezed very tightly in other areas" like training and equipment, Hoyer said.

The Bush administration recently requested an additional $68 billion for those wars for 2006. That would bring the total proposed for approval for this year for the wars to $118 billion.
To actually put this into some sort of context:

US Defense budget is $440bn (plus about another $300bn in supplementals to pay for the war in Iraq, ops in Afghanistan, Homeland Security etc.- give or take). That is 47% of the world's military spending and a full 50% of US discretionary spending.

The US Dept of Education has asked for 1/8 of that amount ($54bn)
The State Department has about $10bn to play with

Or, to put it another way- according to the World Bank:

• $19 billion is the annual shortfall to eliminate starvation and malnutrition globally.
• $12 billion is the annual shortfall to provide education for every kid on earth.
• $15 billion is the annual shortfall to provide access to water and sanitation.
• $23 billion is the annual shortfall to reverse the spread of AIDS and Malaria.

Methinks Shoomaker needs to get a grip- and learn how to spell his name properly.
 
#2
Fcuking frightening. I had a quick look for myself and to be honest its difficult to comprehend. There is something wrong somewhere. The UN for example:

The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $10 billion each year, or about $1.70 for each of the world’s inhabitants. This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is just a tiny fraction of the world’s military spending. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced a debilitating financial crisis and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN’s voluntary funds. As of November 30, 2005, members arrears to the Regular Budget topped $695 million, of which the United States alone owed $587 million (84% of the regular budget).

— UN Financial Crisis, Global Policy Forum (as of February 2006)


Funnily enough found this quote on the same site:

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

— James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
 
#3
but the UB is evil evil its planning to take our guns and make us all communits we need to spend more money on defence bomb iran bomb china bomb fance *ekk*
Sorry I appear to be channeling a dreranged spam gun nut :twisted:
nurse medication :roll:
 
#4
Perhaps if the US stopped medalling around in other countries on the other side of the globe to them, and looked inwards they'd see that the poor people in the US are pretty desperate. So how about spending less on defence and more on sorting their own problems out.

Come to think about it they should perhaps spend more on flood defence for New Orleans and educating the numpties (majority of the US) that keep voting for a complete lunatic.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.......................and breath!
 
#6
Anyway, the US DoD need all that money to build a functioning Deathstar....

Screw the UN, they only blow their money on Toyota Landcruisers and learjets.
 
#7
Wha_Dar said:
Fcuking frightening. I had a quick look for myself and to be honest its difficult to comprehend. There is something wrong somewhere. The UN for example:

The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $10 billion each year, or about $1.70 for each of the world’s inhabitants. This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is just a tiny fraction of the world’s military spending. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced a debilitating financial crisis and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN’s voluntary funds. As of November 30, 2005, members arrears to the Regular Budget topped $695 million, of which the United States alone owed $587 million (84% of the regular budget).

— UN Financial Crisis, Global Policy Forum (as of February 2006)
I questioned this and was told that this is more related to the UN budget cycle not being concurrent with that of congress and that the USA does actually pay when congress has approved the budget.
 
#8
Wha_Dar said:
Fcuking frightening. I had a quick look for myself and to be honest its difficult to comprehend. There is something wrong somewhere. The UN for example:
/quote]

Indeed, a very good example of whats going wrong.
 
#9
I don't see where the US tax payer needs to foot the bill for the world's starving, sick or provide an education for the world's children. Their own governments need to step up and meet the needs of their people rather than enriching themselves at the expense of their people.
 
#10
Part of me want's to agree with you tomakawk but as the global hegemonic power the US reaps benefits from other countries because of its position. Essentially, what's good for the world economy is good for the US, so spending a tiny fraction of US military expenditure towards trying to tackle the problems mentioned above (aids, malaria, education etc) should be considered as a long term investment. That is unless you believe in global distributive justice i.e. some people HAVE to be poor in order for some people to be rich so tough, you're just going to have to live with it (in which case you're a cu*nt).
 
#11
tomahawk6 said:
I don't see where the US tax payer needs to foot the bill for the world's starving, sick or provide an education for the world's children. Their own governments need to step up and meet the needs of their people rather than enriching themselves at the expense of their people.
I agree to an extent but failure to address these issues has an impact on the US and EU in terms of illigal migration, the risk that countries will collapse and become fialed states which pose a much wider threat are good examples.
 
#12
Any argument which tries to hold up the UN as a paragon of virtue is fundamentally flawed, IMHO
 
#13
#14
Jailorinummqasr said:
tomahawk6 said:
I don't see where the US tax payer needs to foot the bill for the world's starving, sick or provide an education for the world's children. Their own governments need to step up and meet the needs of their people rather than enriching themselves at the expense of their people.
I agree to an extent but failure to address these issues has an impact on the US and EU in terms of illigal migration, the risk that countries will collapse and become fialed states which pose a much wider threat are good examples.
If the Americans addressed many of the problems at the source the world would be screaming blue bloody murder .. it would mean wholesale replacement of corrupt govt's, the arrest of corrupt officials and politicians, invasion of nations to force what the US percieved to be better policies.

Given the reaction over Iraq I very much doubt anyone really wants the US to address these issues.
 
#15
AndyPipkin said:
3.9% of GDP is pretty low by postwar standards - it was 6-7% during the Cold War.
Yeah but they needed the 90's drawdown and one of the biggest economic booms in history to pay off the deficits amassed by Reagan when the budget was 6-7%. America already has large deficits under Bush and in a few years the babyboomers are going to be retiring which means lots more domestic spending.
 
#16
I really am getting sick of pointing this out, but the US budget deficit is actually lower than that of most EU countries. It's only an issue because some US politicians make it an issue, as do those desperate to find faults in the USA this side of the pond. The bigger issue is the trade deficit.
 
#17
How many rants have there been in here about s*it kit, low manning levels and too few boats, gats, helicopters, airyplanes, eggs & pan loaves to get the job done?

Usually accompanied by "bloody spams get all they need" complaint.

Now you now why.
 
#18
Now eagerly awaiting the first "We could afford it if we didn't pay for.... queers, mosques, immigrants, dole scroungers, single mothers, yadda yadda yadda" comment.
 

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