The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.
The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@jack

Good post and comments. Basically, I couldn’t agree more.

For decades now we, meaning our government, have been sticking our noses in places we shouldn’t be. And even when we felt like we had a legitimate reason to be there we didn’t follow through. I will use as examples Korea and Vietnam. What should have been hard press wars, were turned into police actions. Instead of going in and winning these wars, we went in and wasted precious lives, over too many years. Along with that we wasted billions of dollars supporting wars we had no intention of winning in the first place.

When and if we decide that we should be involved over seas, we either get in it to win it or we stay out of it.

There needs to be a real threat shown before we even consider getting involved.

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John PharmD @epharmd

Thanks for the enlightenment. A no Brainer.

To bad the military industrial complex does not ‘get’ it.

3-2-1, here come the MICer’s saying that the wars preserved our freedom. Ya right.

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Kevlar @kevlar

Interesting topic with substantial room for misleading people. I’m not accusing anyone of this but the potential for misleading is very high if points are not substantiated. Quick example: “war is expensive.” Well yes it is but if without that particular war we would all die then that war is actually very cheap, no matter the cost.

One observation first. When I read Jack’s initial statement it reminded me of a person I know whose case is contrary to what is written. Please note that I am NOT calling Jack a liar because for the most part I think that his first statement is valid. I know of an exception and I thought I would mention it.

Jack mentioned “…our soldiers paid and given medical care.” Our soldiers are paid low but the fact remains that they are paid, this is not my point. My point is the “given medical care.” That too has many avenues and many veterans will tell you that the medical care is not adequate; however this is not my point either.

My point with that sentence (there is probably no way Jack would have reasonably known this) is that some who fight for this country and are injured in that service (service-connected) are not “given” medical care at all.

I know a person who served 22 years in uniform and was injured in Iraq during OIF. After receiving surgery for that service connected injury, which was provided by the military, and being ordered to retire from the military due to the disability (determined physically unfit due to continue serving due to the injury and subsequent surgery) has a lifelong disability which keeps him from pursuing normal activity such as normal post-military employment.

As Jack mentioned, the military “gives” medical care to those who serve. The contract is something like this: If you are injured or wounded in the line of duty then the military will fix you (guaranteed). The military is pretty good at keeping this promise and as evidence I offer the fact that there are many military doctors and hospitals to care for these people.

Medical science is not capable of fixing all injuries, wounds, conditions, etc. This presents a problem with that “guarantee” to “fix” you. If the military cannot fix you because medical technology isn’t good enough, they still have a plan to honor that guarantee to those who serve.

That plan is through the Veterans Administration and it is called disability compensation which includes lifelong (if necessary) free treatment of that specific injury. Basically if they cannot fix you they will compensate you commensurate with the amount your disability prevents you from participating in a “normal” life which includes a normal (average) employment or career.

Long story short: my friend pays $3,000 each and every month to the Veterans Administration for the medical care he gets for his service-connected disability. I just thought I would mention this in an effort to shed some light on Jack’s statement that medical care is “given” because it is not always “given.”

I don’t think very many taxpayers know that many veterans (certainly not all because part of this law was repealed in 2003-04) pay out-of-pocket for some, most, or even all of their service-connected disabilities.

In addition to any pain, suffering, or disability to participate in normal life, they also pay financially. Ironically (and sadly) this actually makes “war” less expensive than most taxpayers think. I’m not trying to sell the idea of war, just pointing out a discrepancy (which further harms those who serve) that the taxpayers voted for but are in most cases not aware of.

As for the rest of this topic up to this point, I urge the wise use of caution. Another example, and I will use a point Jack made. By the way, Jack is right but there is another angle to view this, and a necessary angle in my opinion. Jack said: “There will come a day when the US runs out of money, and runs out of creditors to pay for our nation. Do you know what happens when that day comes? The highest price we can pay for our freedom becomes $0.”

Jack is correct as far as he went but he, in my opinion, should have gone farther. When we are out of money and cannot print more, that day will come when we cannot print more or borrow more, then we will have zero dollars to spend in our defense. Jack is correct, however, our defense does not stop there, lest the “people” want to die on the spot.

This is the point where the citizenry, specifically those who have been paying hard earned tax dollars to the government for soldiers to defend them with their lives if necessary, get to participate not only financially, but physically in their own defense because the only other option is to become a slave to the conquering force.

War, defense, and national security are absolutely valid topics for discussion and debate. The fact that we waste money in this process is true beyond belief. However it is disingenuous in my opinion to make blanket statements that war is a waste of money.

Money is wasted in war, always has been and unfortunately probably always will be. This is not an attempt to justify wasting money; it is a plea for all parties in the discussion to be honest. Deep down inside I think most people know this and I am willing to say that the people here know it. However, that “knowledge” or “clarity” or “honesty” (whatever you want to call it) often does not come out in the written word.

Unfortunately there are people who read these posts on this site who do not have the capacity for rational thought (unlike all the people on this thread) and tend to believe everything they read so PLEASE be careful because defense/national-security is the single most important thing our government does. We CANNOT fail in our defense.

Here is an example that desperately needs clarity because it has great potential to mislead folks: “To bad the military industrial complex does not ‘get’ it. 3-2-1, here come the MICer’s saying that the wars preserved our freedom. Ya right.”

I actually hate the term “military industrial complex” although I must admit that it exists. Does this “military industrial complex” exert undue pressure on this country to go to war? Possibly. Actually probably.

I say “probably” instead of definitely because there is not hard evidence to prove this and if there was hard evidence then people should be put in prison. To re-state my point, if there is hard evidence (as in proof) that the “military industrial complex” exerted undue pressure to fraudulently enter a war where people die, those people should be tried, convicted (as applicable), and imprisoned.

The people who promote this idea of the “military industrial complex” which is an often Libertarian position, use this to influence people to vote a certain way but they will not tell you that they have little to no hard proof. If they had hard proof, and any integrity, they would be acting on it and they would have success stories to tell us about instead of ambiguous and misleading information to tell us about.

Clarity is needed when discussing the “military industrial complex.” Why? Because your audience (your reader) is unknown and even though you might know what you mean, your reader may not be as smart as you and that presents the opportunity to mislead the uninformed, and then the uninformed vote based on incorrect or misleading information.

Bottom line: If you want to discuss the “military industrial complex” then please do so because it is a legitimate topic. But if you are unable to adequately distinguish that from legitimate and necessary defense of this country then perhaps you are actually doing a dis-service to the people.

I remember debating this point ad infinitum with Ron Paul supporters in his campaign for president. The “military industrial complex” was a favorite talking point of theirs, yet precious few of them could differentiate between legitimate defense/national security and the “MIC.” This is why Ron Paul lost the primary election and it is why we will probably never see a true Libertarian in the White House.

Personally I think we need to address wasted money in defense because there is probably a considerable amount there. However it is also my opinion though that we have bigger fish to fry at this time and if we don’t concentrate on what is destroying this country (which isn’t wasteful military spending), wasteful spending in the military won’t matter.

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Jack @jack

@Kevlar

You were correct in saying that I did not know that some veterans do not receive free medical care through the VA. That is a great tragedy, and one that should be remedied. How to do that is another topic for another time.

I did not intend to make the blanket statement of “all war is wasteful”. That being said, it would be a mistake not to point out that there are, without a doubt, wasteful wars that only add to the national debt, kill our soldiers, and damage our reputation. I aimed the potential cost cutting measures at the latter.

There is a ton of wasteful spending in the military. There is an estimated $100 Billion wasted on cancelled military experimental programs. $100 billion. That’s a ton of money, especially since they didn’t get any use out of the research.

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Gary @grand-vizier

@kevlar
Well I think you all need to study history a bit more..
If we get to the point where there are $0 dollars for defense think of all the other things there will be $0 dollars for first!
The military will have title to money LONG after money has run out for everything else because they actually have the POWER to take it.
Long before that happened it will occur to the politicians that if they have bled our citizens dry that there are lots of other people in the world with assets and less military power than we have so we will go take other nations wealth like has been done since the beginning of civilization.
Our high minded citizens will cheer them on if the society is as broke and falling apart as you describe and they are watching their children starve!
At the end of the day if basic survival is at stake Mao had it exactly right.
“All power comes from the barrel of a gun”.
Rome lasted for thousands of years fighting wars because they brought the treasure home!
This is not intended to be a moral argument.
However if you think we will starve in the streets while our military sits rusting away I think you are dreaming.
High moral statis is a luxury for VERY wealthy nations.
With starvation comes barbarism!

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Kevlar @kevlar

Gary:

I think you completely missed the point but thanks for letting me know that I need to study history more.

The original point, made in the introductory comment of this thread, was that when we run completely out of money we will have zero dollars to spend on defense. You are welcome to read it for yourself if you are so inclined. Feel free to do that while I am studying history.

It may be true that we will likely never run out of money because we can actually print it forever. Other nations would not accept it but our own people would have to accept it. It is true that some of the things you list might transpire.

However, the scenario as introduced was that we no longer had ANY money with which to defend ourselves. Given that scenario (albeit an extreme scenario) my point is that we could be forced to either fight with rocks and sticks (or what might be leftover from your hunting ammo and guns) OR willingly submit to becoming slaves of whatever conquering force happened to take us over. Some people really do believe in the New Hampshire state motto of “Live Free or Die.”

You might think this silly (judging by your comment it seems you do) but we have seen time and again the willingness of Americans to die for their freedom. Every time we go to war we see this and to go you one better it is usually someone willing to give their life to defend the freedom of someone they have never met.

I will go study my history some more at your request but I have a pretty good idea of the value of freedom and when the money runs out to fight for freedom, most people will continue to fight.

Hypothetical situation? Maybe, but I didn’t create the scenario, I just opined on it. Pardon me while I brush up on my history!

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Tony @hardriver

“Beware the military industrial complex” http://youtu.be/8y06NSBBRtY

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Gary @grand-vizier

@kevlar
Glad you’re studying history! Everyone should.
Just kidding Kevlar,you are one of my favorite writers and are demonstratively a very knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects.
Perhaps I did miss the point,you know the saying “I understood what you said,I may not know what you meant by what you said”.
The corollary of what I meant is that as I noted if total economic collapse, as contemplated in the start of the subject,occurs in other countries,only our military will prevent them from coming here and helping themselves to OUR wealth.
Since the beginning of civilization actual power has not only the main thing but in reality the only thing that makes and keeps a nation in existence. ( I did not say its citizens free )
Kublia Kahn,one of the most successfully leaders in history amassed a huge empire keeping in mind that it was not gold and silver but warriors that mattered at the end of the day.
It seems we are wandering a bit from the original topic,the cost of wars.
While veterans care is a subject of great importance ( I am a veteran), and certainly I agree that we may not always make good or wise choices in which wars we fight as well as how we go about it simply deciding not to have wars is not a good choice either.
Deciding to walk away in disgrace as it appears we are doing in the Middle East seems to me to be the worst of both worlds as we have not only spent the blood and treasure we are now making ourselves look both weak and foolish as well as showing future allies and enemies alike that as soon as we get bored we will walk away and leave a mess. I think this is likely the worst part of what is now happening. We are conceding victory to the Taliban exactly as they predicted. All they need to do to win was to wait.If that’s what happens we should never begin to fight in the first place.
If I left the impression you of all people didn’t know the value of freedom or Americans courage be assured it was not even close to my intent.

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Kevlar @kevlar

@hardriver

Tony:

I have been resisting sharing my opinion on your post but I am no longer able to resist. I feel compelled to opine on it because I absolutely believe you are misleading people and that misleading is very dangerous to the freedom of this country, whether your misleading is intentional or not.

It is clear that you either did not read my posts where I made a plea for clarity, or that you completely ignored that plea. Either way it doesn’t matter because you are entitled to your opinion and you are exercising your right to free speech. The problem is that, in my opinion, you lack the responsibility that should accompany that speech. I will try to provide the clarity that your negligence overlooked.

Your warning to everyone is to “Beware the military industrial complex.” You add nothing to that in terms of clarification and this tells me that you did not view the video that you thought so important to share with the rest of us.

Here is my point: even Eisenhower, you would remember him as the person in the video if you had watched the video in the first place, said “American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense.”

Eisenhower went on to say that we are compelled to be ready to defend ourselves (I’m paraphrasing) on a quicker basis than emergency preparation will allow. Presumably and logically one can conclude that he saw the threat to our very existence as a nation to be such that once attacked, there would not be time to re-tool our factories to produce that which is needed to defend the nation. In other words (and obvious words) we need to be constantly ready to defend ourselves.

This was painfully obvious in Pearl Harbor where if we didn’t have at least some means to counter the attack by the Japanese and keep the war in the Pacific, the Japanese Empire would extend to Chicago before we could re-tool our factories so we could defend ourselves (and by then it would be too late because the Japanese would have captured most of our factories that were making those preparations).

September 11, 2001 is another perfect example. If we had no ready-made weapons with which to defend ourselves the terrorists would have had free run of our country and would probably already have killed everyone they considered to be an infidel (which means pretty much everyone who is not a sworn Muslim). Is that what you believe we should have done? I hope not because that is inconsistent with being an American.

Being prepared to defend our freedom from those who are bent on taking that freedom away from us is a full time job and having the proper tools and equipment to carry out that job is essential to our way of life.

Eisenhower discusses all this in that short video that you didn’t watch (or maybe you did but lacked the ability to understand). He made a good case that we are compelled to be ready to defend ourselves. THEN, he correctly warned that this “military industrial complex” needed to be properly managed.

Eisenhower said “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” By your lack of clarity in presenting both sides (your biased approach) I believe he would include you in the group that is NOT alert and NOT knowledgeable.

Eisenhower presented both but you present only one side of this equation and that is the side that supports the notion that the “military industrial complex” is bad and you completely neglect the notion that the “military industrial complex” is also essential.

If you want to say that in your opinion the “military industrial complex” has too much influence I would agree with you. If you wanted to take that thought a step further by saying that we need to heed the warning of Eisenhower, I would agree with that also. When you say “Beware the military industrial complex” and leave it at that I think you are trying to mislead folks.

Don’t worry though; you don’t stand alone in this attempt to mislead the American people. You even have a co-conspirator on this very thread, John PharmD @epharmd who is also, in my opinion misleading the public. Alas you have nearly all of the Libertarians (at least those with whom I have debated politics) on your side to assist you in your endeavor to mislead the public.

For the record, I fully acknowledge the possible negative political implications of an out of control “military industrial complex.” I also know that our elected politicians, those with the power to restrain this but completely lack the integrity to do their job, are ultimately responsible. If I am going to say anything bad about the “MIC” and I often do, I will be responsible and ALSO mention that there is good that comes from being prepared to defend ones’ freedom.

Those who refuse to acknowledge this necessity but can only badmouth the very means by which their freedom is protected, in my opinion place absolutely no value on their freedom. Good people die defending the freedom of these people and that is sad.

Just as all soldiers have done since the birth of this nation, I will give my life to defend the freedom of those who cherish their freedom. Sadly though, at least when I put on the uniform, I was not given the opportunity to voice an opinion on whether I would sacrifice my life for someone who didn’t care about their freedom for which I was fighting. Probably best that those who served didn’t know that because you are still free, whether you like it or not.

Don’t sell your country short and don’t mislead your fellow voters. Feel free to discuss and debate the negative aspects of an out of control “military industrial complex” but at the very least please acknowledge that without some means to defend ourselves we would either be slaves of another country (or terrorist force) or probably dead.

If you have a rational thought to add here I encourage you to do so. This is not an attack on any person, it is a concern that people are mistakenly or intentionally misleading the voter and we all know that many voters refuse to become informed voters and will believe whatever someone tells them.

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Tony @hardriver

Well, it seem’s that sharing a link on a subject, without adding a comment is some how interpreted to be an attempt to mislead. I am not now, or ever in my life, attempting to mislead anybody. Informed voters research, and form their own opinion, not that of an artful speaker, or writer. I simply shared information, that is all. Keep informed people, and vote wise, .

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Kevlar @kevlar

@hardriver

Tony:

If you re-read my post you might just find where I indicated that this could be intentional misleading or that it could be unintentional. Maybe you misread that.

However, it is very clear that as far as what you contributed was only one sided. For example, you failed to mention that the very tools that your neighbor uses when he fights for your freedom come from that “military industrial complex” meaning that without that “military industrial complex” which you warn us against, we would not have the means to defend ourselves. Even the video was honest enough to present both sides.

All I am asking for is clarity. It wasn’t there so in the interest of pointing out to whomever might read this thread and might possibly be an uninformed voter that there is something good that comes from that “military industrial complex” I tried to provide that missing clarity. If that offends you then I am sorry you have what might be sensitive emotions.

The clarity has now been provided and I also made clear that this was not an attack on any person but a concern for that missing clarity. My first plea for clarity went unnoticed as you have undoubtedly proven.

One more thing Tony, you said “Well, it seem’s that sharing a link on a subject, without adding a comment…” Clearly you added a comment and I will copy that for you:

Tony @hardriver 22 hours, 14 minutes ago
“Beware the military industrial complex” followed by the link to the video.

You not only have difficulty with clarity but it seems you have difficulty with honesty as well. No harm, no foul as this has now been corrected!

Interestingly, had you left that comment off like you apparently think you did and just posted the link to the video, that would have been fair and unbiased and not in need of clarity.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jack
@grand-vizier
@kevlar

@hardriver

Here is the US National Debt listed by the top ten holders of US Debt in order of the largest holder of US debt to smallest;

1. Social Security (Social Security Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund) – $2.764 trillion

2. Office of Personnel Management (Federal Employees Retirement, Life Insurance, Hospital Insurance Trust Funds, Postal Service Retiree Contributions) – $826.8 billion

3. Military Retirement Fund – $419.5 billion.

4. Uniformed Services Retiree Health Care Fund – $189 billion.

5. Dept. of Health and Human Services (Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) – $260 billion

6. Department of Energy – $54.8 billion.

7. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – $33 billion

8. Department of Labor (Unemployment Trust Fund) – $30 billion

9. Department of the Treasury (Exchange Stabilization Fund) – $26 billion

10. Other Programs and Funds – $260 billion.

(Source: Treasury Bulletin, Monthly Treasury Statement, Table 6. Schedule D-Investments of Federal Government Accounts in Federal Securities, August 30, 2013)

This is about 98% of the US National Debt but I don’t see “starting wars” listed.

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.

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!

Immediate response, harsh violence and absolute victory would preserve the most lives of US citizens, including those who are soldiers. This was a lesson that Rome learned and continued. When Rome allowed that lesson to lapse – Rome was sacked.

The problem does not lie with the soldier but instead with the politician who has discovered how lucrative war is. A soldier who has known war is probably the most ardent supporter of peace there ever could be. A businessman will invest in either one depending on profit.

It is up to you, the voter, to make the difference.

As Roosevelt found out to his great enthusiasm, war is a very profitable business and does wonders to end a major financial downturn in national economics. World War II was the great business venture that reversed the financial damage of the Great Depression ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression) .

In the same manner World War I reversed the financial damage of the Long Depression ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Depression).

Interestingly enough these wars were supervised and managed by liberal progressive
Presidents; Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The “military industrial complex” translates to jobs and US manufacturing output being sold and the money added to the US economy. War is good business. Jobs and wealth to be shared among the population.

The US national debt is a direct result of the naive carelessness with which the US citizens have guarded their wealth and their liberty. They have elected 100 years of politicians who have promised what neither they nor anybody else can deliver.

Here is a grand example of the on-going abuse of the US taxpayer’s assets;

The US government magnanimously bestows vast sums of Foreign Aid on other countries. Those countries immediately take the cash received from the representatives of the US taxpayer and purchase US Treasury bills at a price that is discounted from the face amount thereby “lending” it back to the very people who gave it to them only it will be repaid at the face amount plus interest.

1. The US gives a foreign country $1,000 in a non-repayable grant.
2. That country buys a $1,000 T-bill for $990 at the auction and then place the t-bill in that countries treasury to replace the assets the local politicians helped themselves to.
3. The US will repeat this next year.

All that is required to lower the debt is to stop spending. That is how I did it. Common sense will tell you that you cannot spend yourself out of debt.

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Jack @jack

@peter-t-burke
The pentagon takes up about 20% of our national budget. That is a ton of money, and a lot of it doesn’t have to be spent. I have gone that over while the military is important, we can make it cost less. I suggest you refer to the post that started this thread for more.

It makes you really question the morality of business if going to war boosts the economy. A sad system, to say the least.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jack

@grand-vizier
@kevlar
@hardriver

Jack – with respect – what does the Pentagon’s burden on the current annual budget have to do with the National Debt? The current annual budget is about as connected to the National Debt as apples are to cocoa beans.

Spending that results in a budget shortfall results in deficit spending – not the National Debt which is financed through debt securities and other forms of general certificates of obligation.

There is no zero based budgeting in the US government there is just higher or lower rate of increase in the spending into the red over the last budgetary period.

Think of the National Debt in terms of personal secured debt. A mortgage, a car loan, a personal bond secured by your child’s life – debt that is secured by something of value.

Deficit spending is the process of borrowing money (or just stealing it) and using part of it to buy off previous creditors and the rest goes to current expense and the shortfall is put down as “deficit increase”. Something in line with “Bernie Madoff Goes to Washington”

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Gary @grand-vizier

@peter.t.burke
@kevlar
@ jlriggs57aol-com
Having math problems. The national Debt is over 17 trillion and these numbers are a long way from that amount when added up

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@grand-vizier
@kevlar
@ jlriggs57aol-com

Gary,
Generally the numbers that are put out for debt are direct securities. Part of the uncounted total includes obligations such as foreign holdings of US currency.
The total of currency issued includes three major parts;
a) US currency in circulation in the US,
b) US currency in circulation exterior to the US federal reserve system,
c) Vault cash which is also divided into interior and exterior to the US.

There is also a component of the difference between the money created and the currency issued minus the percentage that is counterfeit.

There are several other components that are included in the “National Debt” that are just as obscure.

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Jack @jack

@peter-t-burke

It appears you are correct in this instance. A better title would likely have replaced “The National Debt” with “The federal Budget”.

There is a lot of talk about reducing the national debt. Cutting spending is a good way to do that, and 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.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@jack

Cutting spending will not reduce the national debt. The debt is still out there and will remain out there until we begin to pay it down. We will not pay it down until there is a requirement for zero based budgeting. Currently a cut in spending only slows the rate of increase in spending. The politicians cheer each other and the media congratulates the government for reducing their rate of increase in spending from 4% annually to 3% annually and both of them call it a 25% reduction.

There has not been a real reduction in taxes or spending since Eisenhower. Even Reagan could only accomplish a reduction in the rate of increase in spending.

“Cutting spending” simply means to make a temporary cut to the rate of increase.

Zero based budgeting means that they have to count our money the same way we do.

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Kevlar @kevlar

@jack
@grand-vizier
@peter-t-burke
@ jlriggs57aol-com

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.”

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/congress-pushes-for-weapons-pentagon-didnt-want/nRC7w/

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.

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Peter T. Burke @peter-t-burke

@kevlar
@jack
@grand-vizier
@ jlriggs57aol-com

Let us fix the problem:

Step one – Fix the revenue. A 10% flat tax (no deductions, no tax credits, no tax exemptions) will yield more revenue than the current system and at a lower cost to collect.

I paid $100,000+ USD in Federal Income tax. I fired the CPA. I sued the CPA and the Judge said I could only recover the $21,000 I paid the CPA. I hired a Tax Attorney firm that had their own in-house CPAs. The next year I paid $ 15,000+ in Federal Income tax plus $5,000 per month for the Tax Attorney/CPAs for a net savings of $25,000+ USD.
In the following years I paid less than some of the people who worked for me at the time. The government would have done better on a flat tax that cost me $ 40 – $50k and made it not worth the trouble of hiring the lawyers.
( How stupid is a government that does not understand that I can use the tax saving to eliminate 90% of my tax obligation – and deduct the cost of the Attorneys and CPAs who did that for me from the next tax return?)

Step Two – Implement Zero Based Budgeting in all public entities without exception. When they reach Zero in the budget they stop spending just like the rest of the of us. Public entities are not a business – they are a service to the taxpayer and should not be empowered or permitted to engage in deficit spending or to acquire debt by any means other than a secured bond sold at public auction. No public bond should be convertible and every one must carry a specific maturity date not to exceed five years from date of issue. A bond may be called but not re-issued without a bond election. Every bond issue should require a vote of the taxpayers obliged by the bond issue in question. (It is not the “Government’s” debt – it is the “taxpayer’s” debt)

Step Three – The USA owes other countries money – and they owe the USA money. OK! We just subtract our debt from theirs and then apply the total of foreign aid (food, equipment, humanitarian aid, ect – at fair market value) already paid, to the remaining balance. I’ll bet the difference will be relatively trivial in terms of the revenue collected in Step One. Let’s bill the countries who did not fight to defend themselves in WWII for the cost of our defending them. We currently provide a nuclear defense shield to countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, etc – so lets apply the costs for services rendered to the balance due.

Step Four – Bill every dependent country for services rendered. If the USA provides troops the dependent country must be obligated to pay for those troops. No more welfare for dictators around the world. If the US Navy fights off local African pirates, the local African government should get a bill for law enforcement. If the US Army is going to fly African troops to somewhere in Africa so they can wipe out the civilian population that should only be done on a pro forma basis – pay before you fly. (Strictly Quid Pro Quo – no free rides!) I would love to see the reaction in France when we bill them for saving them in WWII.

Step Six – All sales or purchase transactions between the US Government and any foreign power or government must be done pro forma FOB at a US Port of Entry. FOB so the receiving party pays the freight and drayage costs. (no sub rosa phantom sales to political cronies, dictators, Cartel bosses, etc.)

Step Seven – Each and every governmental entity in the US that is subordinate to the US constitution must be prohibited from purchasing anything of value from any source exterior to the territorial US unless it can be shown and permanently documented that the purchase cannot be completed with a US business or private citizen without material loss to the citizens of the US. (It would be interesting to see “fiduciary responsibility”applied to the US Government)

Step Eight – this would be most dangerous step and it could easily get out of hand destroying the US entirely. Redeem all US treasury notes in 9999 gold or silver for value. Redemption would be limited to holders who can show lawful possession.

A Treasury note as currently issued is nothing more than a personal check written against the Governments revenue pay check. We are currently in the same position as when William Jennings Bryan was making his “Cross of Gold” speech. The current “treasury note” is the same thing as the “Greenback Dollar”. I don’t agree with Bryan’s position because the redemption of the Greenback made the US the wealthiest country in the world by WWI. It was tough getting there but the end product was well worth the effort.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Depression

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Gary @grand-vizier

@ peter.t.burke
@ kevlar
@twocents
@jlriggs57aol-com
Peter while I agree with a lot of your thoughts I disagree with some as well.
In another post you remarked that you pay others to do things because your time is not well spent mowing grass and other less skilled tasks than it costs to do those tasks yourself leaving you to use your skills for more productive things.
Buying items overseas cheaper leaving us to be more productive is exactly the same.
Doing as you suggest,will I believe raise the costs of many goods putting them outside the means of our citizens to obtain the items they desire.
I do not believe that works. This country has always been a trading nation.

Gold to me is unusable as a medium of exchange because the production of goods and services is so much higher than gold production.
It is not possible to produce enough gold to be a medium of exchange for even one years production of wealth just for the U.S..
All the Gold in the world would not be enough. Plus it is not portable enough for modern transactions.
A very good friend of mine was at one time a VERY large Gold dealer,worldwide.
Retired now he has his assets professionally managed. The one condition of the management agreement is that Gold cannot be any portion of the portfolio.
He personally believes Gold has little intrinsic value compared to things like oil,real estate etc.
He notes Gold dealers spend millions persuading others to buy THEIR Gold.
Personally I am not that experienced about Gold but I have done well listening to my friend about many things so I listen when he talks.

Paying for goods FOB the US is just not how the economy works so unless we want to send all our customers to others I don’t think that works.

Billing other countries for or Military services is a bit difficult since they largely don’t want us,especially about the Pirates.
Hell, the governments over there probably ARE the Pirates,
WWII is a more difficult issue. The allies did owe us money but a bit like Bankruptcy without the formality we didn’t collect because they couldn’t really have paid and the world economy could not have survived,including us without doing as we did.
That Idea after WWI of trying to collect from Germany was a major cause of WWII.
Anyway that ship sailed long ago and it’s not coming back so it’s a waste of time to go there.
As a wise man once told me “you can’t drive a car looking in the rear view mirror”.

Thought provoking discourse though, let’s have more by all means.

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@jack

You may have already answered this as I haven’t read through the comments (volkalizes?) but do you have any thoughts on what constitutes a need and what is wasteful?

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Ryanmerrill @ryanmerrill

What we’re seeing right now is imperial overreach. This is what ultimately kills civilizations. The Roman Empire fell because of this. Civilizations tend to have 3 cycles; establishment, expansion and growth, then imperial overreach. With overreach, the military is spread in multiple areas so thin that corruption takes hold. Then u have civil unrest and a volatile economy that eventually collapses the currency. I wonder which stage we are in right now…???

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Starting wars.

Start ending wars. This is the discussion. How can we live in peace with countries?! Why a war starts. Why ends?!

What are you going to make peace start?!

It is all about economy. We should not dream while the Sun is up but we do. Wake up!

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To Dev: you can’t edit post like on facebook. Please consider this request

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