I had decided to leave this thread for another that was getting interesting, and still is. I returned to read this thread and decided to comment.
Peter, I may have taken issue with you on another thread and by reading your following statement you might have misread my intention and I want to clarify my position. I want to do this for two reasons. First, if I mislead someone or even think I did then I consider it a failure on my part and it is my duty to clarify the point. Second, even though we have two disagreements I still believe you are an intelligent person worth listening to.
Peter you said “I agree that the US should not stick it’s nose into the business of other countries at all. In my opinion the US military should only be used to defend the territorial US.” And “Before anyone jumps up and decides that I am some sort of pacifist; my response to any minor or major incursion by an opposing Country would be to annihilate the offending country without warning or quarter. No quarter, no surrender, no survivors!”
I don’t believe you are a “pacifist” and if anyone took that from what I said either here or on another thread then you have my most sincere apology. Coincidently and possibly as a separate issue I don’t consider the Libertarian position to be “pacifist.”
Your previous statement: “In my opinion the US military should only be used to defend the territorial US” is the interesting part and identifies similarities and probable differences in our views on national security.
When you say “defend the territorial US” you have my 100% support. The exact opposite of that would be Obama’s use of our military in a combat offensive role (designed to kill and destroy) in Libya in 2011. For those unfamiliar, our offensive combat (war) in Libya in 2011 happened before the Benghazi attack on our ambassador, which occurred in 2012.
The national security goal of the United States is to defend our freedom and guaranteeing the defense of the territorial United States fulfills that goal. Killing people in a civil war in the sovereign nation of Libya solely in the name of humanity had NO, meaning ZERO national security implications. This was even admitted to by the commander-in-chief who ordered our participation. This was an illegal war by all accounts and is a perfect, yet OPPOSITE example of defending (or how not to defend) the territorial United States.
To put it in other words, this is a blatant example of abuse of constitutional authority by the president/commander-in-chief and a very serious violation of his oath of office. Since there was NO AUTHORITY for this, not even a loose interpretation of constitutional authority, anyone killed by that action was NOT justified by self or national defense. It was and will always be MURDER.
Every American has blood on his hands because of this because it was done in the name of America. Having personally and proudly fought in a few wars that were all fought in the national security interest of my country, this Libya thing makes me sick. I was lucky enough to have retired before this happened. For the record I support anyone who was and is against this type of war that has no national security implications.
We agree that defending the territorial United States is the ultimate goal but where we disagree is in how to do that. The Libertarian position is to (I’m sure I’m oversimplifying this to some extent but I am trying to make a point that is real) bring our forces home and stand them on the border so that no enemy (person who would take our freedoms from us) can enter. The theory being that if they cannot enter the United States our freedom will forever be secure.
I partially agree but mostly disagree. This probably worked when the most modern and most technologically advanced weapon was the musket, but that is no longer the case. Even our founders recognized the shortcoming of only guarding the border. An Army can stand shoulder to shoulder on the border and even create an overwhelming and impenetrable force on that border but a Navy cannot. Yet the founding fathers for some reason authorized a Navy.
The only real use of a Navy (since you cannot station a ship on the border between Montana and Canada) is to prevent an enemy from even getting close to the territorial United States in the first place. The founding fathers had the foresight to see the inadequacy of only having our forces inside our territory.
Due to the laws of physics, upon which we (Peter and me) have a very strong disagreement, you cannot stand on the border even with overwhelming force and stop an Iranian launched nuclear missile. The only way to stop that nuclear missile is to make sure it is never launched and the only way to effectively do that is to make sure they never develop or acquire nukes in the first place.
Sorry, this is a lot of words just to say that I don’t think you are a “pacifist.”
Jack, before you make comments like “reducing the amount of wars we start is good way to reduce spending, and thus reducing the number of wars we start is a good way to ultimately reduce the national debt” you need to stop to realize that ALL wars we enter are in theory entered into ultimately to defend your freedom. The single exception to that constitutionally mandated rule is the aforementioned Obama led participation in the Libya war in 2011.
The reason I say “in theory” is because you as a taxpaying and voting citizen can and SHOULD have an opinion as to the significance of that threat to your freedom. Example: If the leader/president of Iran publically states that they will destroy the “great Satan” and then defines the “great Satan” as being the United States, that is unquestionably a threat to our national security and a very direct threat to your freedom (if they kill you how much freedom will you then have). That is not debatable.
What is open for debate and why you should voice your opinion, is the VALUE of that threat. Does Iran have that capability to follow through on that threat? If the nation of Haiti made that same threat we would laugh and not put any value in it because Haiti does not have the capability nor will they ever have that capability. Iran, on the other hand is getting closer and closer every day to really having that capability. In my opinion president Obama is helping them acquire that capability.
Let’s talk about foreign aid. I agree that much of that is wasted and needs to be re-evaluated. But how about the foreign aid we give to Israel? In my opinion this is valid foreign aid because it is in our national security interest to do so.
Consider the same threat, that of Iran launching a nuke at us. This is a very serious and deadly threat. Before Iran launches a nuke at us (when they acquire that capability) they will probably launch first at Israel. If this is the way our country understands things, and it pretty much is because the leaders of Iran hate Israel even more than they hate us then Israel ALSO has a national security (their national security) desire to never allow Iran to acquire nukes. In other words the United States AND Israel share this very important goal of not allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.
If we share the same national security goal, and especially if that goal is of that extreme importance, then it is in our national security best interest to help Israel in this area because if they can defeat the Iranian nuclear threat (or prevent it from happening in the first place) then every dollar we give them to this end helps to defend the national security/freedom of the United States. Money well spent and a way to probably reduce the amount of American blood spilled (win/win).
Jack, with all due respect it is disingenuous of you to state only one side of this matter. You are correct that if we never fought any more wars we would save a bunch of money. What you neglect to mention is that if we do not defend ourselves (which may or may not mean war) we will lose our freedom, our nation, and probably our lives. I hate to point out the obvious but in the absence of life, freedom means very little.
If you want to argue the point that wars are expensive then please do so and I will agree with you, but you need to acknowledge that sometimes wars are necessary no matter the cost. Your input to that system is to voice your opinion as to whether or not you believe the threat justifies the action (this is often a legitimate debate).
As long as it is not an illegal war like Obama’s venture into Libya in 2011 or his more recent attempt to go to war in Syria for no valid reason, there will in every war always be a threat to our national security as our reason for going. Your job as a voting citizen is to voice your input, hopefully to your representatives, as to the legitimacy of that threat.
Jack, with all due respect you need to re-evaluate your statement that “It makes you really question the morality of business if going to war boosts the economy. A sad system, to say the least.”
Business has never been in “business” for the sole purpose of being “moral” and until people realize this they will forever misunderstand and incorrectly blame business and specifically free-market capitalism for all their woes. When people do this it is usually an attempt to cover for their own laziness. This is not an accusation against you, just an observation on society’s refusal to admit an understanding of the purpose of “business”.
All business is in “business” for one reason and one reason only and that is to make the maximum profit for the owners of the business (sometimes referred to as stockholders). This is true even of non-profit business because even they must pay their expenses.
The difference is that beyond expenses most non-profit businesses in one way or another contribute all excess or remaining “profit” to some form of charity and as a result they have NO RETAINED EARNINGS. The goal in this case is to maximize the amount they can give to that charity, whether it is actual cash or some kind of service.
Once you understand that purpose, then and only then can you understand why a business makes the decisions it makes. There is no business in this country, or probably even in the world that has as its stated purpose that of “going to war” and anyone who believes that is seriously mistaken and in my opinion is acting counter to the values of this country.
However, if the product your company makes is jet fighters and the ONLY purpose for jet fighters is defense, then it is your company’s goal to encourage, to the extent you can, the government to buy your product (jet fighters) in order to have a strong defense. I say government because only government can legally use jet fighters to defend this country. Note that if the company breaks the law in this process they need to be put in jail.
It is inconsistent with the American value of freedom to blame business (assuming no law is broken) for the lack of integrity of a Senator or Representative in congress who, with a complete lack of respect for honesty forces the Pentagon to purchase weapon-systems the Pentagon doesn’t want or need, in order that they can spend your tax dollars to provide a few jobs for their voting constituents.
Here is a short extract from an article that is representative of a huge problem and you can follow the link for the rest:
Title “Congress pushes for weapons Pentagon didn’t want”
Extract: “The Dayton Daily News analyzed proposed defense budgets for 2013 and identified five programs that Ohio’s congressional delegation is fighting for although Pentagon officials have called them unnecessary and unaffordable.
Critics say these big-ticket items are earmarks in disguise, using the Department of Defense budget for economic stimulus. They also point out that the multi-million dollar contracts are awarded to major campaign contributors.”
Before you dishonestly place the blame on the companies that contribute to the campaign of the politician I must point out that contributions in-and-of-themselves are not illegal. You as an individual can give your hard earned money to whomever you wish. A business made up of individual owners can also give their money to whomever they wish.
The dishonesty rests not with those who “give” that money but with those who “receive” that money and then break the law by voting for things that are not in the best interest of the country OR their constituents. Before you affix blame you need to make sure you have the correct target.
Again, it is disingenuous to place all blame on business for the complete lack of integrity on the part of lawmakers. These lawmakers demonstrate this lack of integrity and to show how much we approve of this waste of taxpayer’s money we re-elect the same people so they can continue to waste our money. They need to look in the mirror and perhaps you should too.
Enough of that!
Peter is correct when he said “Cutting spending will not reduce the national debt.”
The ONLY way cutting spending will reduce the national debt is as follows: First spending must be cut to a level that DOES NOT EXCEED REVENUE. This will not in itself reduce the debt by even one dollar, but debt reduction will NEVER happen until first this occurs. Second – when and ONLY WHEN spending falls BELOW that point and there are EXCESS revenues can the debt finally be reduced but we must decide to spend those excess revenues on debt reduction.
If we have excess revenue (tax money coming into the government over and above spending) that is often wiped out by a decision to reduce the tax burden on the economy, in other words reduce taxes. If taxes are then reduced you no longer have those “excess revenues” to reduce debt. The decision to either reduce taxes or pay down the debt is not always an easy decision but the higher the debt gets the easier it is to understand which is the right answer.
Those high levels of debt notwithstanding (which can become more of a burden on the economy than high taxes), it is often the opinion of economists that reducing the tax burden on the economy will allow the economy to grow and even with reduced tax rates on the individual, because the economy is larger more revenues will ultimately flow to the government, and as a result lower taxes can be a legitimate way to get those excess revenues and reduce the debt.
This, in large part is the difference between supply-side economics and the always failing Keynesian economics which we are currently testing once again only to find that what we have learned in the past, that we can’t spend our way out of debt, still holds true today.
Lastly Jack, your comment “A better title would likely have replaced “The National Debt” with “The federal Budget” is proof that you are unwilling to learn from Peter when he is telling you the truth.