Scott Sipprelle is lying about defense spending. He claims that the US is neglecting its infrastructure, schools and research programs and funding “weapons and soldiers” instead. Here’s what he wrote on his website:
“To maintain America’s military supremacy in a dangerous world and in a time of unprecedented stress on our federal budget will require thoughtful reflection about America’s priorities and the evolving threats we face. Like every other operation of our federal government, we will need to consider transformational strategies and policies that will allow us to do more with less.
Consider the fact that America spends nearly half of the world’s defense budget with less than a quarter of the world’s GDP. This spending gap is clearly not sustainable, because it means that our allies and some of our economic competitors are getting a free ride under the umbrella of security that America provides to the free world. What the United States spends on weapons and soldiers, our competitors are spending on infrastructure, research, and education. This is a prescription for declining American competitiveness.
So, what do we do? First, we need to develop a consistent policy of pressuring our allies to pay their dues to the shared responsibility of assuring global security. Second, we need to consider strategies that maintain American interests abroad without large global deployments of US troops.”
This is liberal BS.
Firstly, it is impossible to “do more with less”. Either you want the US military to do more (and therefore you must provide additional funds) or you do not burden it with additional duties. His “do more with less” policy is merely an euphemism for “let’s cut the defense budget”.
Sipprelle also complains that “America spends nearly half of the world’s defense budget with less than a quarter of the world’s GDP. This spending gap is clearly not sustainable.” Actually, the defense budgets of other countries (such as China and Russia) have not been accounted for PPP (and are masked by the fact that unlike the US, Russia and China hide many military programs in ministries other than the Russian MOD and the Chinese CMC). Moreover, America has the LARGEST GDP of any country, a GDP of $15 TRILLION. The defense budget accounts for merely 3.56% of America’s GDP (a record low level not recorded since FY1948, except the Clinton era) and only 14% of the federal budget. It’s perfectly sustainable. That America’s allies spend only a pittance on their defense doesn’t absolve the US federal government of the duty to properly fund the DOD.
Sipprelle’s claim that “What the United States spends on weapons and soldiers, our competitors are spending on infrastructure, research, and education. This is a prescription for declining American competitiveness.” is a blatant lie. It’s blood libel. The truth is that America is not underfunding its infrastructure, research programs and schools. The federal government, state governments, local governments and the private sector continue to adequately fund all of those things. The combined budgets of NASA, the DHHS (which is basically a research institution), the National Science Foundation, the DOE R&D department and the DARPA equal ca. $117.2 bn, on top of the R&D budgets of the private sector and state governments. America is responsible for 33% of the world’s R&D spending and has won more scientific Nobel Prizes than the rest of the world combined. (BTW, has China won even one scientific Nobel Prize?)
Schools? The budget of the federal Education Department is $46.6 bn, and on top of that, there are 50 state Education Departments. American schools are not overfunded – they are badly managed.
The infrastructure? The budget of the USDOT for FY2010 is $57 bn (for FY2011, the USDOT has requested $77 bn). On top of that, there is a National Infrastucture Reinvestment Bank and 50 state DOTs. America is the only country in the world (other than Germany) that possesses a complete freeway network connecting all the big cities of the country. In other countries, freeway networks contain gaps (France, Britain, Australia) or remain undeveloped. The IHS alone is 42,000 miles long.
So America’s infrastructure, schools and research programs are adequately funded. Sipprelle apparently desires to cut the defense budget, gut the military and throw additional money at a dysfunctional, unionized, badly managed school system. He’s indulging in a guns-vs-butter debate. He lied when he claimed that the US is neglecting its infrastructure and weapons instead. The US can afford to adequately fund its military AND its infrastructure AND its schools AND its research programs.
The federal government needs to set priorities, though. And the absolute #1 priority of the federal goverment must be defense. The infrastructure, schools and research programs can and must be devolved to the states, to local governments or to the private sector.