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CVC
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Working Together to Cut Spending

The politics of this nation is dividing us which in turns weakens us. In the spirit of unity, I thought I'd start this thread.

I can't dictate the tone of your posts, but I hope that we will be respectful and point out weakness in someone's suggested cut without attacking the person or their idea.

Raising taxes is not good for our country, but I am not so sure tax cuts are really that good either. What I believe is good is cutting spending. But what should be cut? Post your ideas on what you'd cut.

I'll start. Bring home our military troops from Europe and Asia. I don't know if we need troops in South Korea, but lets assume we do so we'll keep them.

We could bring home roughly 150,000 troops. I think it is safe to say that with salary and all other expenses we could estimate $30,000 to $50,000 for each soldier. So, going in the low side we could save $4,500,000,000 if we brought them home and didn't keep them, but lets assume we need those troops. It has to be less expensive and better for our economy to have the troops at home.

Not counting Bosnia or Kosovo, the US military has about 90,000 personnel in Europe.
Germany – 63,958.
Souda Bay, Greece - 386
Italy – 11,693
United Kingdom – 10,967
Spain – 1,268
Norway - 23
Sweden - 23
Turkey – 1,365
Belgium – 1,367
Portugal – 864
Netherlands – 444
Greece – 562
Russia - 18 (mainly in the US embassy in Moscow)
Thule, Greenland - 138

The US military has about 97,000 troops in Asia, not including the Middle East, and Central Asia.

South Korea – 26,477 troops
Japan – 48,844 troops
Philippines - 660 troops
Diego Garcia - 311
Jakarta, Indonesia - 19
Singapore – 115
Thailand – 1,113
Malaysia - 10

expatriate's picture
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Working Together to Cut Spending

There's a few problems with that:

1) Those troops have enabled countries like South Korea to develop their economies without having to worry as much about the enormous Army on their border.

2) Those troops have enhanced stability -- for example, our commitment to Japan has enabled Japan's pacifist stance and prevented other nations in the area (i.e. China, North Korea) from freaking out over the size of the Japanese military.

3) Rebasing is enormously expensive -- where are you going to put them? Who's going to foot the bill for billions of dollars to build bases to house them in the US? Who's going to approve the environmental impact statement? Who's going to pay to build up the sealift and airlift to support a home-based force?

That's just three easy items. There's a lot more but I've gotta go.

CVC
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I appreciate your insight and comments. Let me respond and you can tell me if I am off-base in my thinking (seriously, I respect your views).

1) Those troops have enabled countries like South Korea to develop their economies without having to worry as much about the enormous Army on their border.

I took South Korea off the table because of N. Korea. but why should other countries not have to worry about growing their economies and protecting themselves militarily? We do, so why should they? Our economy is in a shambles so isn't it time to rethink this philosphy?

2) Those troops have enhanced stability -- for example, our commitment to Japan has enabled Japan's pacifist stance and prevented other nations in the area (i.e. China, North Korea) from freaking out over the size of the Japanese military.

Maybe it is time for Japan to grow its military and stop depending on the US. Suppose China decides to invade Japan - how are we going to defend Japan when our troops are fighting a war in the mideast? Why the US? Where is Europe?

3) Rebasing is enormously expensive -- where are you going to put them? Who's going to foot the bill for billions of dollars to build bases to house them in the US? Who's going to approve the environmental impact statement? Who's going to pay to build up the sealift and airlift to support a home-based force?

The answer is easy - the same entity that is paying for it now is going to pay for it -we the taxpayer are going to pay it but the dollars and jobs will stay in the US.

We've closed military bases in recent years so reopen them and put the troops there.

Sometimes you have to spend some money to realize later savings.

We just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on some humanitarian effort in Peru. Those dollars could go to bringing our troops home. That is only one military action that I personally know of, so I bet there are others.

Why do we need troops in Italy and Germany? The people hate us so lets bring those troops and those US dollars home.

We can't tax our way out of this mess and we can't tax cut our way out of this mess either. We need to start cutting expenses. I am sure there are other savings besides this one. We need to work to find those cuts and then we need to collectively make our government make the cuts.

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CVC wrote:

2) Those troops have enhanced stability -- for example, our commitment to Japan has enabled Japan's pacifist stance and prevented other nations in the area (i.e. China, North Korea) from freaking out over the size of the Japanese military.

Maybe it is time for Japan to grow its military and stop depending on the US. Suppose China decides to invade Japan - how are we going to defend Japan when our troops are fighting a war in the mideast? Why the US? Where is Europe?

I know it sounds simplistic but you may remember what happened the last time Europe defended itself.
Remember when Japan was allowed to build its own massive Army.
My family and I called it WW2.
It cost more American lives on a daily basis to fix those messes than what it cost an entire year in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just a small input as I also have to go and shoot some Doves. I have several more Ideas that I'll post later.

CVC
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JTapia wrote:
CVC wrote:

2) Those troops have enhanced stability -- for example, our commitment to Japan has enabled Japan's pacifist stance and prevented other nations in the area (i.e. China, North Korea) from freaking out over the size of the Japanese military.

Maybe it is time for Japan to grow its military and stop depending on the US. Suppose China decides to invade Japan - how are we going to defend Japan when our troops are fighting a war in the mideast? Why the US? Where is Europe?

I know it sounds simplistic but you may remember what happened the last time Europe defended itself.
Remember when Japan was allowed to build its own massive Army.
My family and I called it WW2.
It cost more American lives on a daily basis to fix those messes than what it cost an entire year in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just a small input as I also have to go and shoot some Doves. I have several more Ideas that I'll post later.

Definitely something to think about, but I keep coming back to the fact that what we're doing now is not working. We need to figure another solution.

Keep in mind, that my idea is not to weaken our military, but simply to re-station it. I believe that a strong US military will help ensure world peace.

Why do our troops have to be stationed in Italy and Germany? Moving them out of these countries will definitely negatively impact their economies, but so what? Isn't it time we start thinking about our economy, our poor, our homeless and so on?

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To understand the Japanese issue, you have to understand the dynamic driving international relations in Asia. Think we had it bad in WWII? The Japanese murdered 200,000 civilians and prisoners in Nanking alone. The Western Pacific is keenly aware that 60 years of Japanese pacificism is a thin patina applied over centuries of warrior culture. Wounds in the Pacific run deep.

Any sign of Japanese militarization sends shockwaves through Asia. For example, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is dedicated to the spirits of Japan's war dead. It is an enormous political statement for the Prime Minister to visit that shrine, and such an event immediately sends the Chinese into orbit.

Our commitment to Japan has enabled them to keep a low profile and ease fears. If we pulled back from the Pacific and Japan stepped up its military, it would start an arms race in WESTPAC that would be devastating to international security and trade relations.

Furthermore, our forward presence there is a balance on China, which has longstanding aims toward Taiwan. Were we to pull out of Japan and Korea, our nearest forces would be in Guam and Alaska.

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This is a good topic CVC. Looking at places to cut the federal budget rather than raise taxes is a good idea. However I don't think the military is the place to cut.

One measure of rationalizing how military spending is to look at the percentage of GDP. This also can then be directly compared to other nations.

According to this measure the U.S. has actually trimmed spending considerably relative to the general economy.

http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/fed-rev-spend-...

I'm up for the idea that perhaps some of the block buster military projects (like perhaps the joint strike fighter) should be cut. However you also have to look at the economic benefit of tech transfer from darpa to the general economy. Military spending in R&D (although not necessarily highlighted by the MSM) has a proven track record of improving U.S. productivity over time.

In recent years transportation costs have soared for the military like the rest of us. If oil prices stay down this alone will have a significant impact on the next military budget.

My own two cents is that we need to get a grip on entitlement programs: SSN, Medicaid, and Medicare. They consume the largest portion of the federal budget and stand to grow the most over the coming years. (That is ignoring this government financial system bailout that seems to become more massive with each month).

http://www.federalbudget.com/

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I disagree with cutting the JSF. Our F-16 fleet is over 20 years old. That's a long time for to put high-G loads on an airframe. The fleet is currently undergoing modification to address stress-induced cracking with hopes to extend the service life. The A-10 is having even greater problems in this area.

Aluminum doesn't age the way steel does, and aircraft are designed to last for a finite period. Once you exceed that service life, bad things start happening. Yes, you can install a beef-up plate or put a stronger rib in place to eliminate cracking in that area. But that shifts loads elsewhere in the airframe and leads to failure in other areas. So the engineering workload to sustain the fleet can get pretty intense.

Bear in mind, too, that the F-16 and A-10 represent 1970s technology. Our bomber and tanker forces are even worse, with our B-52 and KC-135 fleets approaching 50 years old. That's the equivalent of fighting Desert Storm with B-17s.

Meanwhile, China and Russia are using their trade surpluses and oil revenues (respectively) to upgrade their fleets. Aside from the potential threat those two countries represent, we must also consider the people they sell their systems to. Without going into classified, you would be amazed at the leap in air to air capability the F-22 provides. The F-35 will bring a similar leap to strike and attack missions.

Americans have had unrivaled air superiority for decades, and our troops on the ground haven't come under enemy air attack since WWII. We can't afford to let that success record lead to complacency.

CVC
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Perhaps I didn't cleary state my thoughts on the military. I agree that we can't cut our military, I was merely thinking about bringing them home so that other countries's economies and national security aren't benefiting from our military.

You always hear of stupid studies being funded, I think that is one place to begin with the cuts. Might not add up to much in the scheme of things, but it will help.

Perhaps there should be an across the board cut of 10 percent of the funds that go to states. Let each state figure out how to reduce the amount coming to them.

I agree also with looking at improving efficiencies in the entitlement areas. Just looking at our state programs there is room to cut without cutting services.

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can you put me on a website or a place where I can get an itemized government spending list so I can cut from it?

Americans have no idea where the money really goes.

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syndeis wrote:
can you put me on a website or a place where I can get an itemized government spending list so I can cut from it?

Americans have no idea where the money really goes.

Here ya go.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2009/budget.html
And here
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2009/

Of course this is not an Itemized document, but it does cover each agency.
You will probably have to go to each individual Agencies website to get a more complete breakdown......if it exist.

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