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Monday, May 23, 2011

A rare sound

A Democrat in the United States Senate actually talking like a Democrat.

Comments (18)

Might be something in the water.

A Senator from Montana talking sense--cool beans!

Yep, a Democrat -- somebody who thinks cutting a few overseas military bases (not a bad idea by the way, indeed a necessity) will save enough money to fund/save Medicare. I would ask to see Tester's math, except we know that he doesn't have any.


"A good place to start is taking a hard look at the huge amount of money America spends on military operations overseas -- especially on Cold War-era military bases in Europe and Asia."

He said START; nowhere did he say that was the sole remedy.

Just do it! Bring them all home. We have 9000 troops in England. Who is going to attack England? The Normans? I thought they already did that.

Exactly! What's the more realistic threat to Americans: poor healthcare or less military? When our defense spending exceeds the rest of the world's combined, you know we've got a problem. Thing is, no one seems to want to touch that, no matter how obvious that elephant in the room is. Maybe it's finally time?

No doubt the Pentagon is run much like a megga sized version of TriMet or any other bureaucracy who number one priority is self preservation and expansion.

But unfortunatley our system has turned into one where the most severe problems are the ones most likely to be made worse.

Consider the Precription drug coverage problem.
Some seniors were facing horrific decisions and needed help with precription drugs.

But instead of helping the 15% of seniors needing it Congress passed (by a 51-49 vote in the senate) universal coverage that provides drugs to every senior, including the wealthy and now adds $60 billion to our debt every year.

Yet not a peep can be heard by anyone to remedy this blunder.

How is it that there is not sufficient political will to fix such a problem that is recognized by essentially everyone in DC?

"Every nation in the recorded history of man began its decline when the largest portion of its wealth was dedicated to maintaining an army. There has been not one exception." --Thomas Jefferson

In 2012, The largest single item in the US budget will be defense, surpassing social security, medicare, and every other item. The 2012 US defense budget will be larger than the defense budget of all other first world countries *combined* (including China).

God Bless America.

To make that more plain: More than $1 of every $5 you pay in taxes in 2012 will go to fund the Department of Defense.

I imagine just looking at overpriced defense contracts granted to corporations beloved of Republicans would reveal areas where government spending could be cut with no arguable pain to the rest of us.

Every single Republican I know prefers that any overpriced defense contracts be reigned in.
There are no such things as Republican beloved defense contractor corporations that are off limits.

The Department of Defense is a masssive bureacuracy like few others.

The idea that Republicans are not wanting it scrutinized for waste fraud and abuse along with every other bureaucracy is nonsense.

How the issue is framed is interesting. Not what are we going to spend money on? But we cannot "afford" Medicare. Of course we can afford anything we want to afford it is a question of priorities. We cannot afford to give the wealthy a 30% tax cut either but it is in the same plan that cuts medicare. But somehow the Reps always find money to fund tax cuts to their donors all the while howling about the deficit (like they had no part in that mess!) and swearing that "we cannot afford Medicare". And can we once and for all give up the lie that tax cuts create jobs? Please? Demand for products above current capacity to produce products results in the need to hire more workers. Whether tax cuts for the wealthy spurs enough demand to result in job growth is an open question. Very little data points to that being the case. Of course it is a convienent lie for the Right to use as a justification for opening the treasury to their friends.

Fake out!

US Senators don't make changes by writing a letter. They build a coalition and pass legislation. He's not doing that part

From link above:
The U.S. operates more than 1,000 military installations on foreign soil, including 268 in Germany, 124 in Japan and 87 in South Korea. Approximately 370,000 U.S. servicemen and women are currently deployed in more than 150 countries around the world.

268 military installations in Germany?
I looked at some data on Germany and USA.
The square miles of Germany - 137,847
The square miles of Oregon - 96,003 (World Atlas)
The equivalent number of military installations based on square miles in Oregon would be about 188.
Can you imagine if reversed, we had 188 German military installations in our state?


Area - Total 357,021 km2 (63rd)
137,847 sq mi

It has the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest by purchasing power parity. It is the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods. In absolute terms, Germany spends the third biggest annual development aid budget in the world, while its military expenditure ranks seventh. The country has developed a very high standard of living and a comprehensive system of social security.

Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is organized in Heer (Army), Marine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Zentraler Sanitätsdienst (Central Medical Services) and Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service) branches. As of 2005, military spending was an estimated 1.5 percent of the country's GDP, that is position 99 in a ranking of all countries;[39] absolutely, German military expenditure is the eighth-highest in the world.[6

State of Oregon – square miles, 96,003

Total U.S. military spending in 2008, more than $600 billion, was over 41% of global military spending and greater than the next fourteen largest national military expenditures combined. The per capita spending of $1,967 was about nine times the world average; at 4% of GDP, the rate was the second-highest among the top fifteen military spenders, after Saudi Arabia.[57] The proposed base Department of Defense budget for 2011, $549 billion, is a 3.4% increase over 2010 and 85% higher than in 2001; an additional $159 billion is proposed for the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.[58] As of September 2010, the United States is scheduled to have 96,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan, and 50,000 to Iraq.[59] As of January 5, 2011, the United States had suffered 4,432 military fatalities during the Iraq War,[60] and 1,448 during the War in Afghanistan.[61]

Fake out!

You'll notice I said talking like a Democrat.

As ex military I don't think it's a bad idea to close some of our oversea bases but there are some things to take into consideration first:

-Will the US actually save any money by closing that base? After bringing the personnel/equipment home we still have to pay them.

-How does closing a base impact the country hosting our base? I'm fairly certain Germany can economically handle us closing a base but can a smaller country? Can even Germany handle us shutting down 6-10 of them?

-A lot of bases overseas are in fact foreign aid to that country. After moving the base home do we now have to support that country with foreign aid along with still paying for personnel/equipment at home?

-After removing our "protection" from a country they will need to grow their military. Can that country support enough of a military to protect themselves? If they can, do we need to worry about yet another large military that might be used against us in the future.

There are a lot of other things to take into consideration for each base closure, I've just scratched the surface. My point is we can't just willy nilly start closing bases and bringing people home. A lot of thought and reasearch needs to go into each and every closure.

What happens when we run out of money to continue this? ....or are we citizens to continue to decline to a third world country status while we protect a first world country like Germany?

We have needs in our country and infrastructure needs that our military people can help with when they come home.

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