In our opinion: U.S. military shouldn't be given a blank check

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  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Aug. 18, 2018 9:16 a.m.

    When my now-deceased WWII veteran father was still alive , he did his patriotic duty when we were hit at Pearl Harbor. Immediately upon enlisting, he was quickly sent to Hawaii. He said that during those first several weeks, he had to train with wooden guns. Thank goodness he was given enough time, by the grace of God, to eventually get a real gun in his hand and fight towards victory with his brothers in arms.
    May that never happen again.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 11:12 a.m.

    Our nation would be much better protected (by God) if we repented of our sins and turned to him.

    Much of what we spend, militarily, especially in R&D, sooner or later is given to our adversaries, by spies and leakers either in the military establishment (some may be civilians), sometimes by foreigners (Chinese nationals, both working in defense and attending our colleges and universities, are among them, among other nationalities), and some by being hacked through the internet.

    I'm not against wise military spending at all.

    But, that said, still—

    Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. —Psalm 127:1

    Not only is this true, "In God We Trust", but, only in and by God are we protected, or not, ultimately. And he will only do so inasmuch as we incline our ears, hearts and doings to him. If we disregard his commandments, he will not forever keep a hedge up between us and our enemies. Regardless of how much or little we spend on our military.

  • D Van Duker Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 10:32 a.m.

    1. Take a couple of decades off in upgrading military hardware, & initial costs will be heavy. Since Clinton was POTUS, militarily, we've saved money by not fixing the roof.
    2. The trade-off for lower military expenditures is body-count. More advanced weapons & tactics result in lopsided victories. Which weapon systems fielded will determine which side of the equation the US is on.
    3. The US is equipped for asymmetrical & not conventional combat--we need both.
    3. Peace thru strength. Only martyrs & fools attack a prepared, better armed, & better trained force.
    4. Much waste in federal spending is due to baseline budgeting; inefficient by its nature. Funds not spent this year are deducted from the budget base next year--promoting inept spending decisions.
    5. Most weapon-system procurement $s are spent by contractors on fed required social-economic program compliance.
    6. The fed gladly spends $1 to affirm it isn't cheated 5¢.
    7. Technology evolves quickly--government design changes are almost as fast. Regularly redesigning (by committee) easily doubles the cost/schedule of a weapon system.
    8. If the US can't project overwhelming force, it will have to concede to nation/s that do.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 10:03 a.m.

    @a bit of reality
    RE: "I can't help but think that when the military-industrial complex wins, the American people lose"...
    ---
    Nice. But how do you figure that if the US Military wins... Americans lose? That's nonsense.

    The term "military industrial complex" is an old Vietnam era buzz-word. Today we know there is nothing evil about Military, or Industry. They are both needed for our nation to be successful, safe, and prosperous.

    Hippies used to blather about the Military Industrial Complex during the Vietnam War, but this is a new age. We know we need a strong military, and strong industry, for America to be strong.

    There's nothing wrong with a nation having a strong military (even the USA).
    There's nothing wrong with a nation having a strong industrial foundation (even the USA).

    If your kid is a soldier.. he's part of the "Military Industrial Complex". I want my kids in the military to be paid as much as those who aren't. Don't you? How do you do that if Democrats keep pushing to drastically cut the military budget?

    Rhetoric is one thing. Lets talk common sense. How does our military winning mean the people lose?

    They protect the people!

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Aug. 16, 2018 9:03 a.m.

    The Pentagon is not some independent entity that has to be fed for its own contentment. The US armed forces are the guarantors of peace in the world, and are needed just as much as ever in light of the imperialist actions of Putin and the expanding military power of the totalitarian Chinese government. International trade is vital to America, and the safety of the seas is protected by the Navy backed up by the other services. Freedom of air travel is vital to modern civilization, and is protected by the Air Force. Our electronic information society depends on the security of satellites. The protection of the US homeland against nuclear missiles has relied for decades on the ability of the US to retaliate on a commensurate scale.

    The military budget is a very small part of the US economy. It is a significant part (16%) of the Federal budget because national defense was made a federal duty by the US Constitution, "to provide for the common defense". It is a global job, one that is best performed by a nation that controls its military through elected officials and is dedicated to protecting democracy and human rights. Withdrawing from the field would be costly.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 8:50 a.m.

    Sorry cmsense. My previous comment was about Silo 1:41 p.m. comment, not yours.

    Note: The DOD budget will be +9%, not +13% (WIkipedia)

    I don't usually question a sub-10% increase in Defense. Heck, if it makes me safer, and it means we can pay our soldiers better, protect them better, give them better weapons, and fix their injuries better... why not?

    I know there is some waste in the DOD. There is some waste in every department. If you knew the amount of your money that is spent on fraudulent claims to SS, Medicaid, and Medicare... it would make your head spin. Forbes estimates it at $21 Trillion in fraudulent payments.

    Google "Fraud and billing mistakes cost Medicare — and taxpayers — tens of billions last year"...

    Google "Federal government continues to lose billions to waste, fraud and abuse" (Washington Post)...

    Google "Fraud, waste, and abuse in entitlement programs) Deloitte...

    Medicare Advantage billing errors cost taxpayers billions - CNBC.com...

    Look at the graphs... it goes up whether an R or D is President. It's higher than you can imagine. DOD waste/fraud is small in comparison.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 8:27 a.m.

    cmsense,
    I don't know if his number is correct. I've never seen that number. But if you Google "2018 United States federal budget" (Wikipedia)... you will read the following...

    "The budget cuts mandatory spending by a net $2,033 billion (B) over the 2018–2027 period. This includes reduced spending of $1,891B for healthcare, mainly due to the proposed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act"...

    "The proposed budget includes $200B in additional infrastructure investment"... (that's upgrading roads, bridges, etc).

    "The budget cuts discretionary spending by a net $1,851 billion over the 2018–2027 period. This includes reduced spending of $752 billion for overseas contingency operations (defense spending in Afghanistan and other foreign countries), which is partially offset by other increases in defense spending of $448B, for a net defense cut of $304B"...

    Remember... the whole 2018 Defense budget is just $574B. That's small compared the healthcare budget, which will grow if Democrats force everybody in the country to get their healthcare through the ACA (or what Hillary and Bernie were proposing the ACA morph into in it's next incarnation).

    (Source CBO)

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 8:14 a.m.

    "Where was this opinion when the Obama administration was spending 10 trillion dollars?
    They doubled the national debt.
    His administration spent more than any prior administration, put together.
    Where was your angst when that occurred?"

    ======

    Even though that is completely FALSE, there are many people gullible enough to actually believe it.

    That is downright frightening. It's those people who fail to be able to recognize the lies of trump and friends. Those who refuse to see the truth are even more scary.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 7:16 a.m.

    National defense is a specific, enumerated, delegated power and responsibility of the federal government.

    In sharp contrast, charity programs are not within Congress' proper purview to spend money. And no, the "general welfare" clause was never intended to empower congress to set up charity programs. Even the 16th amendment that empowers unlimited taxing, does not authorize unlimited spending.

    If desired, individual States might well operate socialized medical plans, retirement or disability programs, business subsidies, free food programs, or spend tax money on education. Of these, however, congress is authorized only to help train the militia: defense spending.

    Obviously, we now have generations dependent on federal charity spending. Ending the programs all at once would be catastrophic. But we must contain such spending and then work toward reinstilling personal independence.

    We need to follow the constitution or amend it to allow additional federal powers.

    And congress is bringing in record high revenue this year. Tax cuts dont necessarily mean reductions in tax revenue.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 5:14 p.m.

    Under normal circumstances I would agree with this editorial. Looking at human history and the state of the world and potential adversaries, blank check no, but I can swallow a 13% increase.

    I do think it it better to be prepared and have a strong detterent to any potential adversaries. Russia and China relations are not the best right now. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Russia and China have been increasing their spending.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 3:36 p.m.

    So Mr Genius... how much SHOULD the budget for our military be?

    What should the number on the check be? Not knowing how many conflicts or threats will come up in the coming year...

    We don't even know how many soldiers we will need to hire next year (and write monthly pay checks to their families), or how many weapons systems we will need, or how many threats we will be faced with. How are you going to write the check for that today?

    What if you write the check and then Iran attacks Israel, or North Korea attacks Japan or the USA? Or Al Qaeda and ISIS attacks America again? Or Syria gasses civilians again. Or Russia invades Crimea or Ukrainian again... Just say, "Sorry... we don't have any money"?

    You can't put the military on a tight budget. They are responsible for the most important thing (according to the Constitution)... Protecting our Citizens from military threats. Are you going to put a lowball price on that Dems?

    The DOD budget is $547 Billion of the $4.407 trillion budget. That's a pretty small price for our security IMO. 16% of the budget.

    Do you want to target that 16% Dems?

    Obama funded military too you know.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    Aug. 15, 2018 3:15 p.m.

    Tax cut and spend - the Republican way.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 1:41 p.m.

    @mike richards

    "Obama added $10,000,000,000,000 to the national debt with his ill-conceived ObamaCare, which nearly bankrupted America"

    100% false, and you know it.

    Yes the federal debt increased during Obama's presidency, but his 'ill-conceived ObamaCare' was not even a major contributor to that debt, let alone the entire cause as you claim.

    If Obama's policies were so detrimental as you claim, why the need to falsify your claims about those policies?

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 12:21 p.m.

    @md
    The annual deficit was decreasing each year after Obama's first year (which had a huge increase thanks to decreased revenue and increased spending to deal with the recession) then things got handed over to Trump and the deficit has now started growing during good economic times which is precisely the time when you should be looking to balance the budget. It's projected to be a trillion dollars soon.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Aug. 15, 2018 11:39 a.m.

    Why is that so-called "conservatives" find that welfare and health expenditures for people are "free stuff"?

    Then all the goodies, perks and grift that ends up in the Dept of Defense budget is not? I don't speak about wages for the average soldier, or decent equipment. That is a given. But a huuuggge amount of the Defense budget is dedicated to spending on "toys" we don't need, bases that ought not be still opened, perks for generals and admirals, and a bloated bureaucracy. And don't get me started on our offensive capacities to destroy the Earth many times over.

    Corporate America is the biggest beneficiary of the blank checks issued to the Dept of Defense. Why are we so insistent on continuing this "free stuff" to Corporate America? Where is your outrage "conservatives"?

  • AC_68 Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 11:27 a.m.

    A good day to join the military?

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 11:14 a.m.

    Defense spending is out of control.

    We don't get to have tax cuts AND an increase of spending. Where are the Republicans who care about the deficit! They are strangely quiet since Obama left office.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 10:54 a.m.

    Figures don't lie, but...

    Defense was 49% of total federal spending in 1962, and today it is only 15%
    Social security is now 24% of federal spending.
    Medicare is 15%
    “Health” is another 13%
    “Income Security” is another 13%
    Interest is 6% (and rising rapidly)

    The problem is not that we are spending too much on defense, it is that politicians have bought votes by passing entitlement programs for “Free Stuff” and these now account for an untouchable 60% of federal spending.

    Defense is not cheap, cannot be made cheap, and currently is not nearly enough to ensure our ability to defend against emerging threats like China and Putin’s resurrected Russia.

    As President Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” That means less free stuff, to ensure we have our freedom.

    The real issue is not defense spending, but the insatiable demands of interest on the current debt made worse every year as Congress refuses to cut spending overall and especially to eliminate annual deficits.

    Some defense programs should be eliminated, but overall defense needs are far from met.

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 10:47 a.m.

    If it ends up that they do have a blank check...I have some $5,000 hammers they might be interested in buying!

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 10:44 a.m.

    Defense spending must be properly contained. To do so without threatening the national security of the United States or our allies will require that those allies step up their defense spending first to meet the needs of their own national defense, and then to shoulder their share of the defense of the free world.

    The United States has been subsidizing the national defense of the UK, Western Europe, and major parts of Asia since about 1940.

    In other threads, some are wont to ask why other nations can afford socialized medicine while the US can't. To the extent that any other nation actually affords socialized medicine it is often because US taxpayers are funding--either directly or implicitly--the national defense of that country.

    At the same time, let us remember some of the benefits of our defense spending, above and beyond simple national defense. The Freeway Interstate System was originally funded as a defense item. Like the Space Race of the '60s (really part of national defense despite claims to the contrary), today's defense spending spurs technological development in many areas. DARPANET is most well known.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 9:59 a.m.

    Couldn't agree more. Though defense spending is one of the few areas the Federal Government spends that is actually Constitutionally-based, that doesn't mean we shouldn't look carefully at it. But, how much money is really needed there? I don't have that answer, but I don't think anybody seriously asks the question. The reality is nothing will be worse for our nation's defense than a fiscal crisis - as the story points out. And without significant changes, we're heading for one. It's only a matter of time and severity.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 9:45 a.m.

    Congress has been charged with the duty to protect the United States and to levy taxes to do that. The President is the Commander in Chief of the military. Part of his job is to see that the United States is protected.

    Obama added $10,000,000,000,000 to the national debt with his ill-conceived ObamaCare, which nearly bankrupted America. On February 9, 2017, the Military Times polled members of the military for their opinion of Obama's handling of his duty as Commander in Chief. "More than half of troops surveyed in the latest Military Times/Institute for Veterans and Military Families poll said they have an unfavorable opinion of Obama and his two-terms leading the military. "

    Lost ground must be recovered if America is to be protected from enemies foreign and domestic. That takes money. Congress has no authority levy taxes for social programs, but it has full authority to levy taxes for the military.

    Those Americans who stand with the Constitution will stand for a strong military. Those who don't stand with the Constitution will demand that unauthorized programs be funded at the peril of the military.

  • Whosaidthat Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:48 a.m.

    I totally agree with this, the War Machine needs to be turned into a protection and don't mess with us machine.

    Congress loves wars and is in the business of funding war. Not what the founding fathers had envisioned and not what the American people want. We need to lead by example and War is not a good example.

    It is time for term limits and new faces in Washington, what we have now is a Congress fueled by greed and what better way to get money than by starting a War! Vote them out. If we don't have term limits we will just get the same thing we have now. Dem or Rep doens't matter they are all in on "The War Machine." Lead by example.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:42 a.m.

    We spend as much as the rest of the world combined and yet so many of todays 'conservatives' are still scared. Meanwhile they will most likely die from heart desease. The GOP has been buying votes with fear for years.

    Eisenhower saw this coming and warned us about the military industrial complex.

    Also defense is something you do here. When its overseas that is called offense.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:38 a.m.

    If they want to spend more on the military then they should raise a special tax, called "Military Tax" and make people write a check every month. And while they're at it they should raise another tax called "Entitlement overspending tax" and make everyone write a check for that every month. None of these sneaky payroll deduction, tax hiding tactics. Let's have full disclosure of where the money is going and why, and then we'll see how much the American people really value additional defense spending and bloated entitlements.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:38 a.m.

    When excessive debt is your greatest threat, you know it's time to change your ways.

    The big spending categories are defense, Social Security, and health care. This is where reductions must be made.

  • B-Real2 Saratoga Springs, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:33 a.m.

    Here’s an idea Congress, don’t vote for a 13% increase in a year the budget deficit may reach $1 TRILLION😳

  • Mark321 Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:19 a.m.

    Maybe not a blank check but the military should be the closest thing to having a blank check over all things in the governmen since many NATO countries don't care about increasing there military. China and Russia are becoming serious players (in particular China) in the arms race. China's economy is already passed us in purchasing power GDP and almost passing us in nominal GDP. They have the economic clout and ambition to be a serious threat. Back to NATO as it pertains to curbing Russia, I seriously doubt that many of the NATO countries would seriously support another NATO country that has been invaded. I think US and UK will join in on the fight, but I personally think most NATO countries want the association and safety rather than militarily help someone within that association.

  • md Cache, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:15 a.m.

    Where was this opinion when the Obama administration was spending 10 trillion dollars?
    They doubled the national debt.
    His administration spent more than any prior administration, put together.
    Where was your angst when that occurred?

  • CMO Beaver Beaver, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:09 a.m.

    better than no check and that is what they would get from a Democrat

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:07 a.m.

    The article didn't talk about what the increase represented. I listened to a report on the defense budget, and it seemed that most of the increase was due to big ticket one-time expenditures - new ships, planes and tanks.

    Yes, this budget, along with every other spending appropriation, needs to be gone over with a fine-tooth comb, and every expenditure the government makes should be audited to ensure it happened as it should have, and was really worth it.

    But we need to do the same thing with entitlements. No one wants to even talk about them, but the cost of entitlements is projected by the CBO to expand to nearly 100% of the federal budget in the next few decades if something isn't done. Simply cutting payments to Medicaid doctors won't do the job. And with many politicians promising even more entitlements, it won't be long before we look back fondly on "only" having a $21 trillion debt.

  • countryvoice3 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 8:01 a.m.

    Here's the stupidity of what Donald Trump just did.

    "national defense is a vital function of the federal government. A strong defense is the best way to ensure peace. It also allows the United States to support peace in other freedom-loving nations and promote U.S. interests abroad."

    In fact "national defense" for well over a hundred years has meant defense of other nations and continents. We built tanks, ships, and airplanes for use on foreign soil. When was the last time we fought a foreign enemy on American soil?

    It's been a good strategy for American peace even with several tragic and blatantly immoral tactical encounters (Vietnam, Iraq etc.).

    Now Trump simultaneously pursues the tactic of disengaging from these foreign encounters but building up a military of gargantuan proportions to fight a home war that has never occurred, and likely never will with nuclear weapons.

    It's all for show. Mr. tough man, while sky rocketing debt for a cause that serves ego not purpose.

    Once again the disconnect in the Trump brain, (or is it always for show), is on full display.

  • B-Real2 Saratoga Springs, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 7:50 a.m.

    I don’t know where it’s written in stone that military spending is a conservative ideal or principle. It always surprises me that Republican candidates often preach that we need to support the military more. I’d agree that far more $$ should go into the pockets of servicemen/women than defense contractors. This is an obscene amount of money to spend when the govt. hasn’t even collected enough to pay for their spending habits (in a good “collections”/economy year). This is just sad. And frustrating. And shows Congress is clearly owned by the defense industrial complex. The article doesn’t share this, but I’d respect our Utah delegation more if they’d vote against this greed.

  • a bit of reality Shawnee Mission, KS
    Aug. 15, 2018 7:29 a.m.

    Excellent editorial.

    It is mind-blowing that when the Democrats are in charge, Republicans howl about deficits. But as soon as the Republicans take over, they lower taxes and increase spending, causing the deficits to grow even more.

    I can't help but think that when the military-industrial complex wins, the American people lose.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2018 7:28 a.m.

    The Deseret News is absolutely right about this outrage. I'm afraid the sad truth is that our representatives in the United States Congress no longer represent the best interests of their constituents, but only the needs of the people who contribute "campaign contributions" to them. In my opinion, this is little more than a form of legalized bribery, and the only thing that might stop it is to replace our current system with public financing of all elections at the federal level.