Defense

One of the largest expenditures of the federal government, national defense, is widely seen as untouchable in mainstream politics. Every president and Congress increases defense spending, but the crucial fact is that very little of this money has anything to do with defending Americans on U.S. soil. Instead, the U.S. government engages in no-win wars of nation-building that persist for years without any clear objective in mind and maintains hundreds of bases in most nations worldwide. The U.S. government has a significant and costly military presence in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and elsewhere, defending nations that can afford to defend themselves. The bureaucratic waste and graft in the military establishment have long been identified by respected conservative voices such as Senator Robert Taft and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Most of the hardware purchased and maintained has absolutely nothing to do with neutralizing terrorists, but are anachronistic relics of the Cold War era.

The $700 billion annual defense budget does not even include all expenses associated with protecting the country—Homeland Security, nuclear weapons security, veterans programs, off-budget military operations and so forth. Any serious proposal to significantly reduce U.S. spending to a responsible, constitutional, and sustainable amount must include a fundamental rethinking of U.S. spending on “defense.”

Learn more about Defense Spending problems and the solutions:

“Pentagon’s Budget Realities Mandate New Defense Team”
Winslow T. Wheeler (The Hill) April 16, 2013

“From War to Welfare: How Taxes and Entitlements Begin with Militarism”
Ivan Eland (The American Conservative) February 27, 2013

“Founding Fathers’ Advice to Deficit ‘Super Committee’: Bring US Troops Home”
David J. Theroux (Christian Science Monitor) September 21, 2011

“Defense Spending Is Much Greater Than You Think”
Robert Higgs (The Beacon) April 17, 2010

“Why Freeze Spending on Only Part of the Budget?”
Ivan Eland; January 27, 2010

“The Trillion-Dollar Defense Budget Is Already Here”
Robert Higgs; March 15, 2007

“The Cold War Is Over, But U.S. Preparation for It Continues”
Robert Higgs (The Independent Review) Fall 2001

See Also:

The Independent Institute’s Archive on Defense and Foreign Policy