General Question

janbb's avatar

Why does no one talk about cutting the military budget to pay for social welfare programs?

Asked by janbb (59374points) 1 month ago

We have arguably the best and biggest budget in the world. We keep funding newer and more elaborate weapon systems and yet we keep losing land wars – that we shouldn’t be in in the first place.

Wouldn’t it make sense to cut some of the billions spent on defense each year to fund some of the new human and physical infrastructure legislations?

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82 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Actually, the USA has a bigger military budget than all other countries in the world combined.
So I am with you, even though I’m not American.
For all I am concerned we all cut a few (or much more, why not) percentages of our budgets, and improve sectors that need it.
Welfare, health, refugees, environment, to name a few.

kritiper's avatar

There is no need for social welfare programs if your country has been over run by a foreign power. Strength in arms gives you (homeland, at least) security, which everyone wants.

ragingloli's avatar

Because the military is the colonies’ proverbial golden cow.

product's avatar

Because of the bipartisan consensus on the issue.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@janbb I would like to see us drastically cut our military budget. The difficulty is that the only ones willing to do that are the Democrats, and they won’t do it out of fear of appearing weak thinking they will then lose elections.

I am not going to debate with people on the internet about this. I’m answering the OP.

ragingloli's avatar

The DoD even wants more money next year, even though they just pulled out of Afghanistan.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Because we’d rather pay in billions than lives.

janbb's avatar

@KNOWITALL But – we’re paying in both!

You can still have a super de dooper military without paying billions for fighting weapons that we never will use.

Did you see loli’s post about the US paying more in military spending that all the other countries combined?

Wouldn’t it be better to have great pre and post natal care for babies to name just one item?

cookieman's avatar

Fear. Particularly after 09/11, many Americans are afraid that even if we spend 5% less on the military (which would be millions), we are leaving ourselves open to attack.

It’s not logical, of course. We outspend all other countries by a mile and could turn any other country to dust if we wanted to.

And while I’m all in on spending some of it on social welfare programs, the government wouldn’t even have to stray that far to better spend their military budget.

How about better training and gear for the soldiers? How about much better healthcare for veterans? How about comprehensive mental healthcare from the moment they join through the rest of their lives? How about less of a fascination with violence and death and more work on diplomacy so maybe we don’t lose as many soldiers? How about addressing the high rates of addiction and homelessness amongst soldiers?

Or, are we only interested in treating soldiers as disposable killing machines?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb Obama didn’t seem to think so, in fact he surprised many of us.

He said that the “9/11 generation of heroes” represented the very best in its country, and that its members constituted a military that was not only superior to all current adversaries but no less than “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.”

Zaku's avatar

Yes, we should not need to spend that much on the military.

Like so many things about US politics, the reasons are that we have a two-party system backed by a stupid undemocratic first-past-the-post voting system and the Citizens United ruling also allows crazy amounts on money in elections, so the already-too-wealthy elements control most of what the US government does, and it likes dumping tons of money into the military-industrial complex. It also likes not taxing billionaires and megacorporations, and allowing lots of money-laundering and tax shelters.

Either the military budget, or the lax taxes on the top 1%, or megacorporate taxes, could be adjusted to pay for things people need. But people aren’t organized to get that to happen (yet?), and meanwhile the megacorps control narratives and keep people distracted from getting organized in that direction, as money and power steadily gets siphoned where it’s already accumulated.

janbb's avatar

@KNOWITALL I’m not putting down the military. Nothing in this question is about that. You are creating a straw man argument.

tinyfaery's avatar

War is the biggest industry in the U.S. Our huge military budget is used as an occupying force more than it is for defense, so I think that is a poor argument. If we kept our nose out of other countries’ issues, and stopped funding an apartheid state (which automatically leads to countries wanting to destroy America), we could drastically cut the military budget.

Truth is, keeping a certain portion of America in poverty is a benefit to corporations. And it is them that really run America.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb You know 14 Democrats voted against Biden on the increase?

I find it hard to be idealistic when our government gets kick backs to increase the military complex by 3–5% yearly.

If you’re just talking about my ‘feeling’s’ on the issue, why yes it would be lovely to treat our elderly and disabled more charitably with anything close to a living wage during this high inflation, but alas, I don’t believe either of the two parties would agree if it takes from their pockets.

https://theintercept.com/2021/09/03/democrats-defense-industry-military-budget/

rockfan's avatar

Because most of our politicians are corrupt, bought by big industry. The first step is to get money out of politics.

Lightlyseared's avatar

In a very real sense you could (and many people have) argue that the the US military is the US’s social welfare program. It employs both directly and indirectly millions of people along with all those pensions. For a lot of young people the only way to afford to go to college is to join the military. For a lot of young black men joining the military and being deployed to active service considerably reduces the risk of them being killed (let’s just stop and think about that for a moment).

tinyfaery's avatar

And that is a sadness, @Lightlyseared. They shouldn’t have to join the military because it’s the only option. They should have programs available to them so they don’t have to do that.

flutherother's avatar

Them injuns up in the hills are just waitin’ for us to lower our guard and then they’ll come down burnin’ our crops stealing our cattle and rapin’ our womenfolks. Social welfare (spits on the ground) not while there’s fences needin’ fixin’ in Oklahoma.

flutherother's avatar

@janbb That would come out of our de fence budget.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it would be useful if the dialogue in the country was about more efficient spending for the military, the military as peacekeepers, not war mongers, and other uses for the US military in aiding in domestic issues. I don’t think the two political parties are going to cut military spending for a lot of reasons, some of which already names above, but we can make cut backs and some places and expand in others. The military industrial complex just mentioned above me is something that needs to be addressed. It is a racket. People make a lot of profit in the name of the US military, and it is a problem that should be addressed.

We are going to have more need for FEMA with expected natural disasters, and the military can also help in those situations, the military can do all sorts of jobs, it can be in effect a government labor force for infrastructure and emergencies while still letting the world know we are not a paper tiger.

It is ironically is Republicans supporting government projects and employment, which is basically socialism. I say I grew up in socialized medicine in military healthcare and most republicans say that isn’t the government that is the military. Ok, sure. Not that I want the government or military employing or running everything, far from it. If the Democrats were smart the would adjust military spending and not try to reduce it, because the adjustments would be more likely to go under the radar.

Pandora's avatar

You want to know the real reason why the military will never be cut back because that would mean shutting down bases. Bases in a lot of small towns depend on them to survive. Also, would anyone want to have us pull out of Japan just as China and Russia have joined to intimidate Japan? It’s easy to say no problem because Japan isn’t our Nation but they would only want Japan to go forward and be able to block the US when they start their aggression full speed.

Unfortunately, we need our military still and we have planes well over 30 years plus still being flown. We need much more up-to-date equipment and it takes years to get them. Cutting back will only mean no new stuff and if we do get engaged in another war, we won’t be ready.

I also feel I’m not the only one who feels this way and politicians know this on both sides.

mazingerz88's avatar

Where is money for the military wasted? If it’s not wasted no need to cut it.

janbb's avatar

@Pandora The military base in our area was closed 8–10 years ago after a lot of controversy about it.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I personally cringe when I think of China being the next big bully on the block.

jca2's avatar

If we’re taken over by China or Russia, we’re not going to need to worry about social programs.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora One problem with government spending is the budgets are often year to year, and can’t carry the money over, I wonder if that is the case with the military, and so they see fit to spend it all to make sure they get the same amount the next year. They don’t want anyone sayin, “well, the military got by on less this year, maybe they didn’t need it all.” This happens with cancer research, with everything that gets a grant or direct government spending. The reason I tagged you, was because let’s say we can’t get all the new supplies and equipment at once, do we spend on total unnecessary things before the equipment is ready to keep the budget big? I have to wonder.

As far as bases, I completely agree. Closing a base is really fought by the community if it is a domestic base. Even abroad there is difficulties. It’s a wonderful perk for military both active duty and retirees to be able to use the bases, especially air bases or naval air. My parents fly for free or stay on base cheap.

seawulf575's avatar

This sounds amazingly like “Defund the Police” and use the money for social programs. And then crime goes up.

janbb's avatar

@seawulf575 So I guess you must be in favor of big government spending without oversight? Very interesting!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@janbb

Some people got deep pockets for taxes (when they don’t make over $400,000 per year) !~ ~ ~ ;>0)

TJFKAJ's avatar

Because soon enough there will be a showdown in the South China Sea, and you won’t be able to even talk about social programs if the Chinese win it. Life will be very different for Japan, Australia and eveybody in the Western Hemisphere, and indirectly Europe.
Why do you think we bailed out of Afghanistan?
To get ready for the real confrontation.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

^^^^^^ @TJFKAJ ^^^^^^^^ Are you sure, it might be somewhere else !

Maybe in DC with Trump claiming he is El Presidente forever !!

Demosthenes's avatar

What @bob_ and @product said, basically. That is not me saying that we don’t need a military or that there are no justified reasons to go to war. We do and there are. But the MIC is a self-sustaining behemoth that exists to create problems it can “fix” and enlarge itself in the process. Politicians and media on both sides are in bed with it, so nothing’s going to change any time soon.

SnipSnip's avatar

I don’t think you’re keeping up. The military is in a world of hurt right now.

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, that is exactly what happens. If they don’t spend the funds given within that one year because they try to save in other areas that isn’t necessary then they lose the funds not spent and the following year they are given less. So it’s not an incentive to save. Its like getting punished for saving money. If it could carry over and then let them use it pay for bigger more expensive items that they need then that would be good. Also it would be better if they split the funds in a more fair fashion. Army and Airforce gets their own funds and then the Navy has to split theirs with the Marine Corp. Guess who gets a lot less.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora That happens not only in government it happens with non-profit and for-profit private businesses also. They do a lot of spending at the end of the year to make sure they show little to no profit to meet regulations or to avoid taxes. I see it as a big American problem all the way around.

seawulf575's avatar

@janbb No more than you. After all, social programs run rampant as well. I have stated numerous times that I believe in fiscal responsibility and that ALL politicians need to exhibit it. They should not spend beyond their means, just like anybody else. Picture you are a business owner. Your employees are spending money they don’t have on their personal belongings and so they take more money from you. They don’t ask you, they just take it, to pay for their stuff. You have to take out loans to keep your business afloat, but the more you bring to the business, the more they want to spend. That is a description of DC politicians (or really any politicians).

rebbel's avatar

@seawulf575 “Your employees are spending money they don’t have on their personal belongings and so they take more money from you. They don’t ask you, they just take it, to pay for their stuff.”

How do they take it?
Where from?
In all my jobs so far I’ve never been able to get/take extra money that I had no right too.
I have no idea how I would go about it.

seawulf575's avatar

@rebbel it doesn’t make any sense, does it? But that is exactly what our politicians do.

flutherother's avatar

My point is that I don’t think there is a rational reason for supporting the huge military budget. The United States is blessed with a geography that makes it very safe. You have thousands of miles of ocean to east and west and to north there is Canada and to the south Mexico. The defence budget could be cut by a half or by three quarters or more without making anyone less secure militarily. On the other hand, while you have secure borders not everyone living within those borders feels secure and much more could be done to remedy that.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 So you would agree it’s shameful how the Republicans ignored the deficit while Trump was in office (hell let’s add Bush and Reagan too) and that Trump should have balanced the budget especially considering the economy was doing well?

Do you think Bush had people in his ear saying go to war so they could profit from it? Bush was an oil man and Cheney had ties with Halliburton and other firms.

rebbel's avatar

I guess I will never (really, fully) understand politics, @seawulf575.
Maybe that’s why I have a big dislike for them.

Smashley's avatar

The canard of “the US spends more than the rest of the world combined” hasn’t been true for years. Just saying.

I generally get antsy about the size of the DoD budget, and the lack of accountability due to the politics involved. I get equally antsy whenever someone suggests the US has an unbeatable force. Quality is measured in dollars apparently, but I worry about the efficiency of those dollars, combined with the arrogance of believing you are unbeatable. Beyond social programs, diverting some billions to the State Department could go a lot further in advancing national interests, and keeping military costs down.

Since reducing spending it not feasible, the best strategy is to reduce the size it grows every year.

Zaku's avatar

@seawulf575 “This sounds amazingly like “Defund the Police” and use the money for social programs. And then crime goes up.”
– Well, that sounds like what One America News and Fox News might suggest about it.
– Of course, that also sounds very untrue.

jca2's avatar

@Zaku: Crime rate is definitely up in NYC.

Here’s the direct link to NYC Compstat, which is their statistical compilation of all crimes committed in NYC:

https://compstat.nypdonline.org/2e5c3f4b-85c1-4635-83c6-22b27fe7c75c/view/89

Jaxk's avatar

I donj’t know how many of you remember the Iran hostage debacle under Jimmy Carter. Carter was in line with most of you all and tried to reduce the military budget. When we really needed the military to rescue the hostages, they were not up to the task. Maintenance and training lacking and the rescue attempt not only failed but failed miserably. Eight soldiers dean and three helicopters down and we never saw the enemy.

The military is like the Fire Department in that most of the time they are idle, running drills or washing the fire truck, maybe swapping stories but when they are needed, they are needed right now. They are needed with the best training and the best equipment. That’s not to say there aren’t things that could be improved, The entire government could benefit by Zero Based Budgeting or maybe dissolving the base in Germany. China has already flown missiles that can reach anywhere on earth, the oceans won’t protect us from that. Be careful when cutting budgets that threaten our very existence.

jca2's avatar

Another thing that helps us with having a large military and a large military budget is that it helps us to be the superpower that we are. Russia, China and the US are all very powerful and each doesn’t want to tangle with the other, if possible. We all know that any altercation with the other may end in disaster. Korea is a looming threat, too.

We can’t look weak and we can’t be weak.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

General Smedley Butler wrote an entire book on it. It’s called War is A Racket.

Zaku's avatar

“Defund the police” is about not giving them excessive budgets for military-style equipment, Orwellian surveillance networks, super-cool interceptor vehicles, and so on. It’s not about reducing crime-fighting efforts.

@Jaxk Despite Jimmy Carter taking responsibility as commander in chief, he and the military budget during his time in office were NOT directly responsible for the helicopter accidents in that mission.

In fact, military spending increased under each of the final two Carter-era federal budgets as a percentage of the GDP.

But even if the military budget had been reduced, it’s UTTERLY WRONG to think that would cause special forces (or even, ordinary forces) to stop training or maintaining their equipment. WTF? If that unit wasn’t prepared, it’s a breakdown in military organization, and quite removed from what the POTUS was doing, except for taking a calculated risk based on what the military recommends as options.

But yeah, go ahead and defame Jimmy Carter. Like we haven’t heard conservatives try that crap for over forty years. Argh.

Thanks for the mansplaining about washing fire trucks. NOW I understand. What an epiphany for me. Thank you so much. Oh, I guess we’d better give more billions to our military, or out “very existence” is threatened. We don’t need health care, or education, sorry for being so presumptuous!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Defund the police has worked really well~

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Cutting funding is a bad idea. Reducing waste and unnecessary spending is probably all it would take to bring some of that money back to the coffers for things like education and healthcare. Healthcare in particular could deal with a serious overhaul to cut out the things that drive the costs up like insurance and gouging by drug makers. People want to rob Peter to pay Paul but Paul may be just fine if he could just get his act together. Peter can probably chip in some if he is less wasteful.

Jaxk's avatar

@Zaku – “Thanks for the mansplaining about washing fire trucks. NOW I understand.”

I doubt you understand any of this, you’re too caught up in your communist manifesto. Maintenance and flight experience were to major cause for the rescue mission to fail. We are short on spare parts even now to keep the planes in the air for pilots to make their hours. 60% of the Marine aircraft are down for repairs. God help us if there’s trouble with China, N.Korea, or anywhere else.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Jaxk Sources please on . . .‘We are short on spare parts even now to keep the planes in the air for pilots to make their hours. 60% of the Marine aircraft are down for repairs”

Zaku's avatar

@Jaxk How many billion additional dollars before we can have spare parts? You’re clearly the one that doesn’t understand that helicopter maintenance problems are NOT caused by the DoD having a mere $715 billion budget.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie “So you would agree it’s shameful how the Republicans ignored the deficit while Trump was in office (hell let’s add Bush and Reagan too) and that Trump should have balanced the budget especially considering the economy was doing well?” I absolutely agree. I have been saying all along that politicians need to be fiscally responsible. And I don’t limit it to Democrats only. I would have danced in the street if they could have passed some balanced budget amendment or a pay-as-you-go law. But they didn’t even try.

seawulf575's avatar

@Zaku Your description of “Defund the Police” is the watered down walking-back excuses that were put out when the whole movement first started. No. The drive was to do away with police. I just saw an article that there is a vote in Minneapolis about cutting the police force to hire more social workers and counselors. They want to start sending out social workers and counselors on some 911 calls instead of police. So if someone is doing drugs and is hurting or threatening others as a result, they will send a social worker. Think that is a good idea? Think someone already angry and tending towards violence is going to suddenly relax because the social worker showed up? What about when the social worker recommends that person leaves the house to defuse the situation? Think they will just agree and leave with them? Or what happens if this same person suddenly snaps and starts hurting people, starting with the social worker? Then what? Call the police? You’ve made the situation worse AND you’ve eliminated the people you are now relying on.
Now tie that to this question. There are many anxieties in the world right now. So let’s suddenly cut our military in half and start more social programs that have been shown to be rife with waste and abuse and that don’t ever accomplish what they were “designed” to do. So what happens if there is suddenly an outbreak of war in the world? One or more of our allies are suddenly asking for help. Should we send them food stamps or something?

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 I’m equal opportunity on that too. No matter what party is in charge I want fiscal responsibility. Does it frustrate you that Republicans talk about fiscal personal responsibility incessantly and the national debt, but they completely ignore the deficit when there is a Republican president? It seems like 90% of them are like that. Democrats are more split. That’s the way I perceive it anyway.

mazingerz88's avatar

@seawulf575 You’re negative sentiment towards the BLM is driving your desperate negativity on solutions people who sincerely care about their fellow American citizens and the police want to try. You never really cared about what the BLM movement stands for, all you see are riots, destroyed property and bad people. No surprise if you contributed money to Rittenhouse’s defense fund.

Zaku's avatar

@seawulf575 ” They want to start sending out social workers and counselors on some 911 calls instead of police. So if someone is doing drugs and is hurting or threatening others as a result, they will send a social worker. Think that is a good idea?”
– No I don’t. But neither does anyone else. Or if they do, they’re silly. (Well, maybe not silly, maybe more like “very angry and thinking they’d prefer no police to murderous police”, but I think that’s not actually practical.) I think it’s a strawman argument that you’ve swallowed. By insisting BLM only means what disingenuous conservatives or irate revolutionaries mean, you’re trying to win an argument by deflecting any balanced form of it.

See the first article that comes up for me when I searched “Black Lives Matter”, which says, in part:

“For many, the definition lies in the middle — there should be police, but their role in communities should be limited to crime prevention. The idea goes that service agencies other than police could and should respond to non-violent calls related to mental health, housing and other issues.”

seawulf575's avatar

@Zaku https://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/ballot/ The idea of getting rid of police and replacing them is already on a ballot. It is WELL beyond the talking phase and is certainly not a strawman argument.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/no-obama-we-do-mean-defund-the-police-it-s-not-a-snappy-slogan-it-s-a-demand-for-justice/ar-BB1bTbRS is a nice opinion piece where they affirm that yes, they really do mean get rid of the police. The list goes on and on. What you were saying is what others like Obama was trying to say….Defund the police doesn’t really mean defund the police….it is just a snappy saying to get attention but really means reform the justice system. That was the walk-back excuse that allowed the entire thing to continue growing and warping.

seawulf575's avatar

@mazingerz88 when did I mention BLM? BLM was the start of the Defund the Police action, but it has grown beyond them. It is a foolish movement. And yes, I have understood what BLM is about. Unfortunately you have not. And part of their plan is the riots and the mayhem which, by the way, you have never once denounced. Apparently those are good things to you. But then that’s no surprise when you read Salon or HuffPo.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie I’ll be honest…I don’t break fiscal irresponsibility down by party. I don’t assign percentages to my thinking of who is bad and who is worse. They all suck canal water as far as I can tell. If there are good voices in the crowd, they are ignored or silenced by the scum.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 Rounding numbers.

Reagan increased the deficit from $70Billion to $175B.

Bush 41 increased it to $300B.

Clinton brought it down to ZERO (even a surplus).

Bush43 from zero to $1.2 Trillion.

Obama halved it to $600 Billion.

Trump $3.3 Trillion.

Those are the numbers I have, we could fact check more to see if they are off a little.

Seems like maybe you should pay attention by party. There is a pattern.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks, but those numbers are a bit misleading and in the end meaningless. Misleading because you are only looking at the president and not the congress. Congress presents spending bills. If it is a largely democrat congress pushing big spending (as they are right now) but it is a republican president, it is misleading to blame only the POTUS. Deficit spending is spending money you don’t have, that you have to borrow. But that is also why it is meaningless. It doesn’t matter who is doing what. In the end they are ALL responsible and in the end we are over $28T in debt. That is irresponsible. I was not happy when Regan was POTUS. I didn’t trust Bush 1. I felt Clinton was a scam artist. Bush 2 was too gung ho in the wrong directions. Obama was trying to do things I felt were entirely destructive to the country. Trump tried to do some things but couldn’t get past his ego to work with Congress and LEAD. And Biden is a senile puppet.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^Only the truly ignorant or stupid or malicious people with evil designs would see property destruction in righteous protests a good thing. Let’s be adults here and be honest about why you see evil designs in the BLM movement and defund the police idea.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@mazingerz88 It’s a fact that many violent agitators hijacked the movement for their own intent. They were not actual activists. And those activists were not pleased about it.
I don’t think it’s ‘wrong’ for anyone to say the violence was out of hand by those hijackers.

Real activists of black community are angry at the violence because they can see their efforts being delegitimised.
https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/george-floyd-killing-police-brutality-america-protests-black-lives-matter-vandalism-versus-peaceful-protest

Demosthenes's avatar

Sorry, but I agree with @seawulf575 (at least somewhat). The leftists I know who say “defund the police” don’t mean “reform the police”, otherwise they would say so. To some milquetoast Democratic politicians, it means “reform”, sure, but to others it means “abolish the racist killing machine that is the American police”. Crime has been going up in most American cities over the past couple of years. It doesn’t have much to do with “defunding” since very few locales have actually gone through with defunding the police (seems to have more to do with the pandemic). But it doesn’t help the argument that weakening the police is a good option when crime is up. People want to see crime go down—that’s what the average person cares about. They don’t want to feel that where they live is unsafe or dangerous.

On the other hand, I do think the police are poorly equipped to handle certain calls, like that parent of a mentally ill adult usually male child who’s going on a “rampage”. They call the police because they’re afraid, but these calls often end in violence or the death of the mentally ill individual. There has to be someone who better understands mental illness at least accompanying the police on these calls. There shouldn’t be so many examples of mentally ill people being shot and killed by police. There is room to reform, but I’m never going to support abolishing the police unless some viable alternative that would actually keep crime down is presented.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Demosthenes Our police run a specific code for mental health response, but it’s still the police, yet trained to deal with mental health better. It seems to work pretty well here, not always, but usually.

Demosthenes's avatar

@KNOWITALL That’s good to hear. I don’t specifically what is done in my area, but I know in some cities around here (and not just small cities with small police forces), there have been police-involved deaths of mentally ill men. So there’s work to be done.

janbb's avatar

I don’t mind where the discussion has wandered but I just want to say that suggesting that we look at the military budget to see where reasonable cuts could be made is a far cry from the poorly conceived slogan “defund the police.” Someone else dragged that into the argument.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Desmosthenes It’s definately made a difference, definately worth the effort.

mazingerz88's avatar

@janbb It’s actually pretty close. Defund the police to those against everything and anything it could possibly stand for is thinking more money for social welfare going to people who would siphon it out from the police.

chyna's avatar

^ I disagree. @janbb is saying “look at where we can cut costs”, not defend the military. If we are paying 100.00 for a bolt to screw on a jeep, then see where we can find cheaper bolts where a company is not gouging our military dollars.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^No one’s talking about cutting military budget and use it for social welfare specifically because I assume Americans who see social welfare as socialism will never vote for leaders who don’t support their view. Leaders who have the power not only to talk about these things but who can produce a workable policy.

As to why those who support the view that the US military budget could be cut and then channel the money towards social welfare…but also not talking about it, I have no opinion yet as to why.

janbb's avatar

In social welfare programs, I am including climate change initiatives, better health care for all, education – oh yeah, guess that’s all socialism! ~

seawulf575's avatar

Lay people suggesting cost cutting ideas is okay, so long as those ideas are looked at through realistic lenses. Let me give you a for-instance. Have any of you hear of “Subsafe”? Subsafe is a standard that is applied to any and all materials that go into making and running a submarine. Those subsafe standards go through the entire gamut of things you might not consider. All metals have to meet a certain pedigree including specific testing. All that testing and certifying requires time effort and documentation. And that goes for hull metals, piping, screws, deck plates….everything. So a 50 cent screw you might buy at your local hardware store would cost $2.50 (just a guesstimation) if it is subsafe. All the engineering designs have to pass rigorous challenges with documentation. All the building and construction has inspections and procedures that document how the whole thing was put together and to ensure it meets what it was designed to meet. Hydrostatic testing is performed. Stress tests are performed. You get the idea. Every step of the process is challenged, tested and/or documented. So why go through all that? Because the early life of nuclear submarines were not made with those standards. And we lost one because of leaks and moisture in the air system. The entire crew went down with it.
So the lens we need to look at if we are saying we need to cut costs is the one that questions the standards. Making submarines that aren’t going to kill the crew when they try to operate them as they are supposed to be operated is a really good thing. But does all the testing need to be done? Are there areas we can reasonably cut costs and not sacrifice safety? These are the questions that need to be asked. Now, compound that by looking at every single piece of equipment, every operating procedure, every training program, every morsel of food that is used by every branch of the service and ask those same sort of questions.
And then finally, you need to take a realistic look at what we really need to safely protect our country. First you need to define what national protection really entails. Then you need to realistically determine what forces you need to meet that goal including personnel, relief personnel, equipment, spare parts, operating logistics of every sort.
And just one other consideration is what else is going on in the world. The Doomsday Clock is ticking down. 10 years ago it was 6 minutes to midnight. This year is about a minute and a half to midnight. So do you need the military strong or weak? Will the social plans save us from war?

janbb's avatar

@seawulf575 But will war save us from the effects of climate change? With the rest of what you said, I don’t disagree.

seawulf575's avatar

@janbb No, war won’t save us from climate change. Will social programs? Will graft and corruption? And let me ask this, if climate change really starts making things bad, do you think people with armies will not use them to try taking what is left? So should we just let them take everything from us?

rebbel's avatar

@seawulf575 Allow me, if you please, to sketch a situation where someone with your exact thoughts and opinions is explaining to their grandchild about the environmental issues.
In school they’ve heard that the Earth might die??

“Grampa, is it true that Earth will die, when I grow up?
– Well, the clever people say she will, in the near future.
Why don’t we stop it then, and help nature heal?
– It might be too late, my child…
Is there nothing we can do then?
– Yes, fortunately there is. We have this huge, advanced army, the best and the biggest in the world.
How’s that going to help?
– Well, if China gets flooded, and other bad weather happens there, they maybe want to come here and steal our country.
Really, Grampa?
– Yes, my child. But we are so strong that we will defend our country from them, and beat them.
Okay, but what if we get flooded, and other bad weather is making America broken?
– See, that’s so amazing about a big, strong army; we’ll invade another country, where live is still liveable!
That doesn’t sound fair…
– Life is not fair my child, life is not fair… ”

seawulf575's avatar

@rebbel Of course it could be something like

“Grandpa, why doesn’t the government do something about the changing climate?”

“SHHHHHhhhhh. They might hear you. This isn’t the land of the free anymore!”

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