There is no one source for the 20% military. What I did was to get figures from the CBO and Treasury website on annual budget revenues and expenses and created a sources and uses of funds for a "typical" recent fiscal year. The 20% is roughly the Dept of Defense percentage of the total USA budget.
There are legitimate concerns about what is considered Military versus non-Military expenditures but the big picture is that a serious look at the national deficit has to look at all expenditures because the magnitude of the deficit is so big. Everything needs to be on the table for consideration - otherwise, reality is being ignored.
I tend to agree with you that our Military budget, however you calculate it, is too high for legitimate defensive purposes. Being a sort of military policy wonk, the national policy is for our armed forces to be able to wage two major wars - throughout the world - at roughly the same time. The days of major world wars is likely over and what we are facing in the future is likely the types of guerilla / terrorist type actions. Our military is still focussed on wining two major wars and has not faced the reality of the smaller asymetric warfare. Also, a military sized mainly for homeland defense, asymetric warfare and less worldwide intervention (other than with coalitions) could be smaller and thus less costly. We would not need 1,750+ new F-35 jet fighters at about $100 million each and large standing armies. I would suspect that we could cut the military budget by 25% and it still would be adequate for a defensive non-interventioness strategy.
However, a 25% cut in the USA military spending would still not solve the annual budget deficit so you are still looking at a general level tax increase and/or cuts in entitlement programs.
Also, I agree with your concept of bio-region self-sustainability. Perhaps the money saved from downsizing our military could be better spent on foreign aid to help bio-regions develop green enery self sufficiency - as well as to pay down the national debt.
As for your thesis on "debt", unfortunately, the world economic system is structured the way it is and reconfiguring it is a bigger task than I want to tackle at this time.
From: Ronnie Hawkins <[address removed]>
To: atheists-36 <[address removed]>
Sent: Sun, Oct 20,[masked]:26 pm
Subject: Re: [atheists-36] Tea Party & Fiscal Prudence
You say only 20% of "federal expenditures" go to the "military." Can you give a reference for that particular figure? And can you come up with numbers to indicate what amount of federal tax dollars go to support militarism, as well as surveillance by NSA, CIA, FBI and who-knows-what in all the other ways that go beyond directly paying for the armed forces--all the perks and subsidies that go to the war-fighting and spying industries overall?
Moreover, can you give a justification for that much money, whatever it is now, going to militarism, surveillance, and all other governmental agencies existing for the purpose of imposing "external control" on people here and abroad?
I could also question just how we conceive of "debt," continually magnified by the computation of "compound interest" (a contingent social convention--invented for what reason?), and why we continue to believe in and maintain this socially constructed object in the way that we presently do. What is important is what our human actions are bringing about in the real world--should we be manufacturing and dropping bombs that kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people around the world? Should we be gushing out millions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere to support this expansionist empire-building?--not what sorts of abstract "numbers" are produced in the spreadsheets drawn up by certain kinds of institutions. It might be a good thing if the U.S. "defaults," with a currency that's taken as the world's standard but that is widely agreed to be so only because it is "backed up by the U.S. military," however that is to be envisioned. If the whole global numbers game goes down, maybe people on every continent will be thrown back on trying to sustain themselves with the "resources" of their own bioregions, and we'll all have to live a whole lot closer to ground-level reality.
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