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Cut US military spending to avoid US bankruptcy

US Congressional Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) have written an op-ed urging a cut to US military spending in order to save America from bankruptcy.

They are realizing, and I think more Americans besides just these two gentlemen are realizing, that we have a humongous budget deficit, on par with Greece. This is $1.5 trillion per year which is 11 percent of our GDP, which is a record. The previous record was 5 percent under Ronald Reagan. They have to do something to close the gap and the military budget has been off limits for many years, even a decade now,” said Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute in Washington.

Eland argued that the massive US military spending began after US President Harry Truman established a permanent defense industry following World War II. This industry has taken shape over the years to include large lobbying efforts aimed at extending a US worldwide empire.

The lobbying efforts include actions by foreign policy individuals, businesses, defense contractors and others pushing for a perceived increase in security.

I think this empire causes reduced security for those who really matter, and that’s US citizens. I mean, we get blow back terrorism from Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda simply because we are occupying Muslim lands and interfering in Arab governments,” said Eland.

He argued that the US could be more secure and cost effective if they reduced their overseas empire. There’s no reason to continue old Cold War overseas policing policies because we no longer need to. Eland argued the US need to be more cautious to whom it gives security commitments.

The United States was traditionally an anti-militarization state. However, in more recent years the US increased its drive towards military strength.

This same thing happened to Rome and other empires. What usually happens to empires is they become militarized at the end of their road and they eventually either collapse or have to retrench because they can’t afford the empire anymore,” said Eland.

Eland argued that Obama will have to reduce the military budget, reduce spending and will likely have to increase taxes.

Brian Becker of the ANSWER Coalition said that the US is a warfare state and that it will not cut military spending. One out of every two military dollars spent in the world is spent by the US, and US leaders pass war budgets almost unanimously.

It’s [United States] addicted to militarism. It’s addicted to war spending and it’s addicted to war profits,” said Becker

He argued that Obama is staying the course on war spending. Obama has actually increase military spending as compared to former US President George W. Bush. He has tried to restore the image of America abroad, but his policies are almost indistinguishable from Bush’s, making image repair more challenging.

We have a situation similar to what happened in the Roman Empire. Rome knew that its bloated military budget, its over extension, was being a drain, but it couldn’t pull back because as an empire it was reliant on military power. I think we have the same power dynamic here,” said Becker. 

Paul Craig Roberts, the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan Administration also argued that Obama is not likely to reduce military spending.

Before they cut the military spending they will simply confiscate what remains of the Americans’ private pensions to pay for it or they will require the pension fund managers to use the funds that they manage to purchase government bonds to finance the government,” said Roberts.

Roberts argued that the US is the most indebted country in the world and that the nation is in worse shape than Greece.

He further argued that the people of the US would welcome a cut in military spending to avoid increased taxes and cuts to other services the people want domestically. The military industrial complex however would oppose any such cuts.

“It would be a very hard thing if Obama did want to pull back from the wars of aggression and curtail the military spending,” said Roberts.