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The Military is Not an Entitlement

Published: Saturday 16 February 2013

Our military spending has more than doubled since 9/11/01. The threat of terrorism has diminished, al Qaeda leadership has been killed off, and there is very little likelihood of any terrorist group mounting another attack on the United States. But in spite of the huge money spent on the wars and the serious weakness in our economy, the military continues to receive more than it requests from the Congress.

There is no military entitlement. The word entitlement means the right to something. The Social Security fund is a entitlement because working people and their employers have paid into that fund. If our aging population threatens that fund, the remedy is simple, we raise the ceiling on income that is taxed to compensate for the inflation since the law was established. 

Medicare is an insurance which we buy, usually paid from our Social Security. If it is not in balance, it makes sense to adjust the relatively low premiums to solve the problem. The elderly have a right to it because they pay for it. It is remarkably efficient and a lifesaver. 

Military expenses are not an entitlement, even though the Congress treats it as almost untouchable. It is paid for by the largest share of our disposable tax income. Its big piece of the budget pie is starving many of our federal agencies, which are loosing effectiveness - to the great joy of the antigovernment, Tea Party Vandals. 

Our military expenses are huge. Here’s the estimate of Dave Lindorff in his article

America’s Political Disfunction is Rooted in War Addiction on www.ThisCant’ “The military budget, on the other hand, could be slashed by 50% and nobody would know the difference! ... We read about an occasional soldier killed or plane downed, but there is no day-to-day evidence that the US is a nation perpetually in a state of war. If the military were to end those wars, which are costing over $160 billion a year, pull out of all its far-flung bases, which are costing $250 billion a year, slash its huge Special Operations Command, which now number nearly 70,000 people at a cost of over $10 billion, eliminate or massively reduce its strategic nuclear forces, which costs $60 billion a year, and decommission its fleet of aircraft carrier battle groups, which counting construction and operation costs, plus the cost of the planes and missiles they carry, probably cost in the range of $100 billion a year, the US would be no less safe, but the federal budget deficit could be instantly slashed by close to $600 billion a year. That is the amount that is being cut in the current so-called “Fiscal Cliff” bargain over a period of ten years.”

We are now building bases around Asia and Africa. We are creating technology to control all aspects of space, satellite communications and high-tech tracking of individuals around the world. We still insist on being the world’s policeman for the benefit of international corporations (which often pay no U.S. taxes!) Military suppliers feel entitled to continuous contracts because they maintain a large, well- paid lobby in Washington to keep the money flowing, and no Congress person wants to lose these campaign contributions or the military-related jobs in their district. But the result is that America is becoming a Halloween pumpkin, fierce on the outside and hollowed out within. 

If you agree that the excessive military budget has gone on long enough, please contact your Congress people now, while the budget battle is being fought. 

ABOUT Peter G Cohen
Peter G Cohen, artist and writer, has been a student of nuclear weapons since creating materials for SANE’s Ban the Bomb testing campign in the 1950s. As an activist he was a peace candidate for U.S. representative in the Lehigh Valley in 1968 and the director of the New Democrati Coalition of PA, 1969-’70. He is the author of and other internet writings. Peter now lives in Santa Barbara, where he can be reached at
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Unfortunately a huge

Unfortunately a huge percentage of conservatives believe that constitutionally money spent on the defense of country is one of the few actual powers of the federal gov't. Even as it devours our nation and our society, they think that is a-ok because it is "constitutional.