The Economics of Federal Defense Policy




The Economics of Federal Defense Policy

Three out of four Americans polled in the 1992 election year believed that the
United States was heading in the wrong direction. With such an overwhelming
consensus, the country hired a new president to attempt to fix the vital issues
at hand. Although both Republicans and Democrats believed that the United States
was still the "sole superpower", the people of the United States saw that their
quality of life was deteriorating. In fact, the signs of economic, social, and
political decay were undeniable.

For example, the wages of production workers in America have declined twenty
percent in the last twenty years due to large corporations shifting their
operations overseas. Over thirty-seven million Americans are without health
insurance due to its exploding costs. There are about sixty million people below
the poverty line; fourteen million of which are children. Our crime rate is at
an all-time high as well as the population in our prison system. The United
States has nineteen preceding nations that have lower infant mortality rates.
Among the twenty most developed countries in the world, the United States has
the highest divorce rate and the highest teen pregnancy rate. The most
incredulous fact of all is that the Pentagon continues to absorb twenty percent
of the federal budget-over a third of which is spent protecting Europe against
an enemy that no longer exists.

In fact, that is the most probable source of America\'s problems: the budget.
Forty-seven percent of the national federal budget is spent for a military
expense. The National Defense, the topic of this paper, is what is stealing
money from the poor in our own country and lessening our status as the "sole
superpower" of the world.

The National Defense was a program initiated from day one of the United States\'
existence. It was a program designed to protect the people of the world, but
primarily the people of this nation. It was designed to protect human rights and
the ideals of democracy and capitalism. However, in lieu of recent events, the
use for such a program is now debatable. The world has changed significantly and
dramatically within the last five years. The threat of an evil empire such as
the Soviet Union is no longer; the Cold War is over.

Ultimately, demilitarization is needed for many reasons. Both Democrats and
Republicans alike supported the development of a gigantic-industrial complex.
Both are content with only minor budget reductions. However, more drastic
measures should be taken in order to move this country into the twenty-first
century successfully. Military spending should be slashed, the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) should be dismantled, and the other vestiges of the
Cold War should be removed.

(A)

This graph displays the United States\' military spending compared to that of its
Top Ten contenders. It shows how overwhelming and exacerbated the United States\'
spending really is. Russia and the United Kingdom spend about two hundred fifty
billion dollars less than the United States. In fact, there is a twenty-five
billion dollar difference between the United States and all the other nations
combined.

This next graph again shows the outrageous spending habits of the United States
and its Department of Defense. This graph displays the United States compared to
its potential enemies or adversaries. The differences are astronomical. Russia,
the only country that comes close to comparison, is still a mere two hundred
billion dollars behind.

(B)

The threat of the Cold War is extinct. For over forty years, the military budget
has been driven by the Soviet threat. Over half the budget was devoted to
defeating a sudden attack by the Warsaw Pact nations on Germany. Now, the ex-
Soviets want to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In the words
of General Colin Powell," The Red Army is no more." (1) In fact, the economy in
the post-Soviet nations is so terrible that the soldiers are selling their
weapons for food. Malnutrition is incredibly prevalent. According to the CIA and
the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), if Russia was to be taken over by a
dictator, it would take ten years for them to reconstitute a military threat to
the west.

The facts are clear. The United States is surrounded by friendly nations on
either side as well as two gigantic oceans. Most of the nations that are strong
enough to be considered a threat are now considered friendly nations. The
possibility of any potential enemies coming close to competing with the defense
tactics and forces of the United States is virtually impossible.

These statistics are also evident to the politicians in Washington. The Bush
Administration and the Joint Chiefs