The Military Spending Issue is Nuts.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by AP_piano295, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. AP_piano295, Apr 30, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013

    macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I mean honestly this is just getting ridiculous.

    We're building two varieties of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) the independence class and the freedom class. As far as I can tell this costly decision was made for no other reason than to guarantee jobs (and thus voters) at multiple companies in multiple states.

    Thank's Ray Mabus : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Mabus

    Meanwhile the ships are both way over budget from their estimated 250 million to a price of 600 million too 800 million per ship.

    And neither of them works right?!

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/01/littoral-combat-ship/

    And in the mean time congress is setting aside money to build more Abrams Tanks which the Army says they don't need!

    http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2013/04/29/Congress-buys-tanks-Army-doesn-t-want.html

    I'm not even trying to make the argument that our defense spending is out of control here. But this is just insane we're spending billions on weapons that don't work, that the military says they don't need.

    EDIT: Billion --> Million (thank you Peace)
     
  2. macrumors P6

    Peace

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    #2
    That's 600 million per ship not 600 billion.

    Not that I agree just want the facts correct.

    I might add the expected time that the ship I was on would survive battle was around 20 minutes.

    Some ships. Depending on the type aren't expected to last long during battle. They are designed to protect the main battle ships and aircraft carrier until they can deploy missiles etc.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    vrDrew

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    #3
    What scenario seems more of a threat in the next 20-30 years?

    1) Disruption of world trade by pirate groups operating out of the Horn of Africa and the South China Sea. South American drug cartels developing increasingly sophisticated vessels to transport narcotics. Terrorist groups establish training camps in inaccessible parts of the Arabian peninsula.

    2) Major conventional war against a developed nation such as China or Russia.

    If you think that #1 seems more likely, then we need vessels like the Littoral Combat Ship.

    Both the Freedom and the Independence are basically "prototype" vessels. Designed to be tested in such a way as to uncover flaws and deficiencies before these ships go into series production, or into combat.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    #4
    Honestly I worry about the Navy - their ships do not seem well protected from hits. It is as though after WWII attempts to make ships survivable were abandoned because of the bomb. The problem is that now virtually anything can puncture the hulls of our ships. I am not in the military, so I cannot confirm this, but somebody once told me that even bullets can puncture the hulls of most Navy ships. Seems to me the Navy should in vest more on survivability from conventional weapon hits, or perhaps abandon a surface fleet altogether (using subs) except for the carrier groups.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

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    #5
    There was a huge fuss here after the Falklands here as it became apparent very quickly that our ships and naval personnel were terribly badly protected in an actual shooting war. Just about everything had to be re-thought. The biggest issues seemed to be how easily everything caught fire and how hard they were to stop. Afterwards ships were redesigned and the Navy even changed the materials protective clothes were made from away from man-made fibres etc. I assume the US navy were very interested in what happened and the lessons learned.

    It wasn't just us though - I think an Argentinian corvette was quite heavily damaged by small arms and a rocket launcher by the Royal Marines during the invasion of South Georgia to point it had to pull back out of harms way.
     
  6. macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #6
    Not much point of putting expensive armor on our ships when modern anti-ship missiles can cut right through it.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    VulchR

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    #7
    I understand that, so why are we putting so many sailors at risk? I just have this funny feeling that if a war on the seas ever does break out, that we will find our fleet of fancy, expensive ships will be defeated by rather low-tech weapons (mines, torpedoes, missiles, suicide boats, etc.).
     
  8. macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #8
    The ships have good defenses of anti-missile missiles, electronic defenses, and CIWS.
     
  9. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #9
    I know the GOP loves war and the war machine, but I don't know if I can pin this just on them. We are definitely spending and more importantly wasting billions on defense, in many cases for devices that don't work or are not worth the billions spent on them. In many cases, it's a glorified jobs program.

    Years ago President Eisenhower, a Republican I admire, said something to the effect that a economy is more healthy when it is built on producing items that reinforce society, not things ment for war. For example, a bridge furthers commerce. A tank and all the support it needs, just sits there until a war pops up. I'm not saying we should have no defense spending, but we are completely over the top on this issue.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    vrDrew

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    #10
    "Risk" is one of the things we as a society, and certainly individual service people, accept as one of the costs of conducting military operations.

    Look at it this way: it may be theoretically possible to equip an individual infantry soldier with so much body armor that he/she was all but invulnerable to small-arms fire. But if that body armor weighed so much that the soldier was unable to move quickly enough to perform their mission, then we haven't achieved anything.

    Navies from time immemorial have operated vessels that were, to one extent or another, vulnerable to potential enemy weapons. WWII era destroyers and frigates could easily be sunk by German u-boat torpedoes. But we accepted that risk because, skillfully deployed, each destroyer and frigate could not only destroy enemy vessels, it could also perform its primary mission - that of protecting other vessels, either convoyed merchant ships, or battleships and aircraft carriers in its task force.

    The Littoral Combat Ships referenced in the attached article can do things literally no other naval vessel can do: They can operate in shallow inshore water (the draft is about 12 feet); at very high speed (more than 40 knots); and can deploy a very wide range of weapons - everything from automatic cannon fire, to guided missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles; small squads of Navy DEALS; to specialized marine interdiction law enforcement teams.

    We could build heavily armored small ships to (try to) do the same thing. But they wouldn't be much use, because they'd either run aground miles from where they needed to be; or they'd be so slow and underpowered, that by the time they got there, the bad guys would be long gone.
     
  11. macrumors P6

    Peace

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    #11
    Tanks..


    If there's a home of the Abrams, it's politically important Ohio. The nation's only tank plant is in Lima. So it's no coincidence that the champions for more tanks are Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman, two of Capitol's Hill most prominent deficit hawks, as well as Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. They said their support is rooted in protecting national security, not in pork-barrel politics.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/28/abrams-tank-congress-army_n_3173717.html

    This is why they want more tanks. To keep a plant running. Has nothing to do with national defense .
     
  12. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #12
    One thing I noticed from my time in the service and reading about the service is that generals/admirals are slow to change and ask for things they don't really need so I am pleasantly surprised the Army is saying they don't need more tanks.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Since we now know that there is a lot of wasteful spending on tanks the army doesn't need, why aren't CONservatives going mad about this as they do with so-called "entitlement" spending?

    "Defense" (really offensive/war) spending makes up the most of our spending as a country, far more than any other program by a wide margin. Why don't we take the money that would go towards these tanks and focus that on improving our health care system, Social Security, education, infrastructure, etc.. You know, real nation building here at home that has a net gain instead of tanks that blow stuff up where the net gain is 0? Oh that's right, we need to keep the war machine well oiled by funneling money towards Dick Chaney's buddies in the defense/offense industry. :rolleyes:
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    We don't need a new class of ships to fight pirates we already have a range of ships which are capable of taking on that mission. We certainly don't need **two** new classes for that mission.

    And we can easily halt the issue of drug cartels tomorrow by, legalizing drugs.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Because those entitlement programs cost more than double what the military costs. I'm not in the crown who think welfare is fundamentally bad, but we could cut our defense spending in half and still have budget problems if we don't work on healthcare/disability/etc.
     
  16. macrumors 68020

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    #16


    Where are you pulling those numbers? As a country, we were spending $10 billion per month on Iraq and Afghanistan. And that's just on the war and not on war/offense/defense contracts awarded to the weapons manufacturers which is more money on top of that, giving us a net gain of $0.

    Social spending will in turn, give us a net gain of >$0 because it will put people back to work thus stimulating our economy by putting money back into the system and money going into our treasury through taxes.

    In short, making a bomb will literally blow our money up while spending money on ourselves is an actual investment.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    This is where I'm getting those numbers:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget#Total_outlays_by_budget_function

    The things claimed as "entitlement spending"; health, medicare and income security total 1.4 trillion, defense spending was a little over 700 billion.

    Where do you think that "$10 billion per month" on wars goes? American companies, which create jobs, and help the economy just as much as entitlements. But even if we cut all of that, we cannot afford to keep spending this much money, period. The math doesn't work out.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #18
    What exactly are you qualifying as entitlement spending?

    Working roughly off this wikipedia chart of spending : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2011.png

    Social Security: 768 billion, this is a system that I and many other working Americans pay money into with the reasonable expectation that this money will support us in our old age. I wouldn't consider that entitlement I think a better word would be retirement.

    Medicare & Medicaid: 802 Billion, for the sake of argument I will concede to the term "entitlement" regarding medicaid though my philosophical opinion regarding its utility is probably different than yours. The estimated cost of medicaid in 2008 was 204 billion dollars.

    But I would not consider Medicare to be an entitlement, again it is a system I pay into with the understanding that it will support me in the future, retirement not entitlement.

    Discretionary Spending: 615 billion, how this breaks down is a little complex here's a more detailed look. But using a very broad definition of entitlements I think you could classify education, social services, transportation, income security, and lets say half of "other" as entitlements. Bringing the entitlements total in the discretionary spending portion of the budget too 353 billion.

    Source:http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/BS_Discretionary_print.pdf

    And finally, Other Mandatory Spending: 461 Billion, It's really hard to quantify where entitlements might fall in this ill defined category so for the sake of argument and considering the percentage from discretionary spending lets say 50% of "other mandatory spending" is entitlements. So let's call the entitlement portion of this part of the budget 230 billion.

    This brings things the annual budget on things which we can in the most loose terms be considered "entitlements" (and we're talking about really stretching the definition here) too approximately 787 billion dollars.

    Now onto defense, starting from the chart we see:

    Defense Spending: 670 billion, but we're going to do our homework here that's only DOD spending, we also should include FBI counter terrorism, price of internal affairs / management, veterans affairs, homeland security, veterans pensions. I'm excluding from my total but there's also war related interest debt to consider which comes in at between 20 and 90 % of all of the interest we pay (that yellow portion of the chart). So considering all of these factors I believe a very estimate of annual defense spending is approximately 900 billion dollars annually.

    Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

    That puts the defense spending budget at a whopping 113 billion dollars higher than the "entitlement spending" programs.
     
  19. macrumors P6

    Peace

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    #19
    Just so you know. The Dept. of Veterans Affairs was only put in the DoD category because of the sequester deal made last year. Before that it was not part of the DoD. So in actuality it is not part of the DoD.
     
  20. macrumors 68020

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    #20

    Thanks for dissecting that, I couldn't have said it better myself!

    On the note of entitlements.... If an individual pays into something are they not entitled to something in return? It would be like me going to a restaurant and giving my money the server and expecting my meal in return, correct?
     
  21. macrumors 68020

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    #21

    Let's clarify where that $10 billion goes exactly....



    That $10 billion goes primarily towards defense/offense/war contractors/corporations which Dick Chaney helped secure, which create a limited number of jobs in that specific industry, that is a drop in the economic bucket in terms of economic stimulus as a whole. The rest of the money goes into the pockets of the executives in these companies that then goes into off-shore accounts.


    Sure, we as a country can afford what you consider "entitlements". The act of spending money actually stimulates an economy so long as that money is recirculated in the economic system and not hidden in off-shore accounts. Spending money creates demand for labor, workers are hired to fill the demand for labor, those workers are paid and spend their money, the money that is spent then recirculates and the demand for services would pay for itself. As crude as that was, an economics 101 student would easily grasp that concept.

    What I really want to know is why CONservatives keep chanting this mantra of austerity? That is, even if we cut things we clearly cannot afford, like two wars that were never actually paid for and weapons contracts, that we need to cut even more to the point where we cannot afford to take care of ourselves?

    Besides, what's wrong with spending money on social programs that take care of the citizenry and pay for themselves in the long-term? What's wrong with wanting an insurance plan like Social Security that will protect us from poverty in old age or disability, unemployment insurance that will prevent us from winding up on the street in times of unemployment, Medicare to pay for treatment when we are sick, SNAP to prevent us from going hungry, etc.? We pay into these programs and are therefore "entitled" to them.

    What's more important, a bomb or a loaf of bread?
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    I don't think that's really the point, regardless of which category we're putting the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs in it's still defense spending. I'm in no way suggesting we shouldn't be paying/supporting veterans but it's still a part of defense spending. When we hire soldiers we'll inevitably have veterans and that's a military cost.
     
  23. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #23
    There are times when a bomb is needed, but you always need the bread. I'm agreeing with you. :)
     
  24. macrumors 68020

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    #24

    I totally know that there are times when the need for arms arises but our representatives have gotten us to the point where they have sacrificed our liberty in exchange for a false sense of security. Since that's the case, Benjamin Franklin would tell us that we deserve neither.
     
  25. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #25
    I reference Benji's quote often. :D
     

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