Defense is a constitutional DUTY of the federal government

Fact #1: The US Constitution and the first 12 Amendments to it were written by America’s Founding Fathers. This means that the Constitution was written as the Founding Fathers wished it to be.

Fact #2: The US Constitution assigned only a limited range of expressly stated (“enumerated”) prerogatives and duties to the Federal Government. Every other issue is to be handled by state governments, local governments, or individual citizens.

Fact #3: Nonetheless, the Constitution does assign a few duties to the Federal Government. These duties are also the reasons why the federal government was established in the first instance.

Fact #4: One of those duties (and simoultaneously one of the reasons why the federal government was established) is defense, i.e the duty to maintain a military strong enough to protect America and deter its enemies.

The preamble to the Constitution says: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The first article of the US Constitution gave the Congress the prerogative “To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”.

It also gave the Congress the prerogative to “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years”

and the prerogative to “To provide and maintain a Navy”.

The fourth article of the Constitution established a constitutional DUTY for the federal government to maintain a strong defense:

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”


Yet, for the last 21 years, the federal government has been neglecting this duty. It has severely reduced defense spending, from ca. 5.5% of GDP in 1989 to 3.65% of GDP today, and it has severely reduced equipment stocks, equipment orders and equipment programs. Military facilities are becoming decrepit and tours of duty are becoming ever longer. America’s missile defense remains tragically underdeveloped while the US military is using obsolete equipment produced during the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s.

Currently, the federal government spends only 3.65% of GDP, a paltry 14% of the federal budget, on defense, which is its constitutional duty, while it spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on issues which it shouldn’t handle. including the agricultural sector, ethanol and fossil fuels, thus distorting prices.

During the last 2 years, the federal government has spent $700 bn on the TARP program, $862 bn on the pseudostimulus, $400 bn on the FY2010 Omnibus, and billions of dollars on the bailout of Detroit and the bailout of Wall Street. Under President Obama, the federal government has increased welfare program spending to $888 bn per year (the FY2010 defense budget is a paltry $534 bn). Entitlement spending is 3 times bigger than the FY2010 defense budget.

The federal government is neglecting its duty to maintain a strong defense while handling the issues which it shouldn’t handle; issues reserved to state governments, local governments and individual citizens.


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