Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Military Spending

China's military spending to top $100 billion in 2012, that's $100,000,000,000 for those of you used to buying lottery tickets.

Are you muttering to yourself, grumbling into your bowl of cold cereal? Maybe even shaking a clenched fist into the air.... hold on a minute that's not the story here.

The story is the United States unveiled a military spending budget of $645,700,000,000 in 2012 and is estimating a slight reduction in 2013 to $613,900,000,000. Full details of the U.S. numbers can be found in the government document Overview US Budget Defense Spending

Percentages depicted are for fiscal year 2011

"When we look at the absolute spending amount, the United States is by far the largest spender. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2011, America spent nearly $700 billion in 2010. This accounts for about 43% of the entire global military spending and is nearly 6 times more than the amount spent by the next largest, China. In fact, the United States spends more on its military than the total spent by the second largest (China), third largest (United Kingdom), fourth largest (France), fifth largest (Russia)... and fifteenth largest (Turkey) combined." Source: HuffingtonPost / Howard Steven Friedman / 11-29-11
But look how much we (the United States) spend on military expenditures, far more than China, the UK, France and Russia combined. In fact we darn near spend more than the rest of the world combined.

And we do this with a straight face while arguments continue here at home over healthcare, social security, collage loans, affordable housing...heck the list goes on and on.

Over the years there has been more and more increase in the use of private defense contractors. War has become a big business for many American companies. You know how hard it was to consider giving up an automobile manufacturer in Detroit, one can only imagine the impact at letting go of these military contractors.

This is only a guess on my part, but I would imagine one would see a significant amount of political donations going to both Republicans and Democrats from sources in this industry. War, like a drug, can become a major addiction to those that use it. A cure won't come easily.

Love this little tidbit for 1961:

Critics argue that the use of a massive private sector army and the expenditure of hundreds of billions for other services are creating a new, out of control military-industrial juggernaut. They point to the late general and president, Dwight Eisenhower, who warned when leaving office in 1961 that Americans should be alert to the growing influence of the arms industry within the military. It was the Cold War and an arms race was under way, yet he saw the danger of private weapons companies acquiring what he called “unwarranted influence” on America’s political and military policy making. He became the first person to use the term, “military-industrial complex,” suggesting that its growth could impact not only the military but the spiritual and economic life of the nation.Source: U.S. Military Increasingly Privatized by Richard Walker

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