Cut military budget by half and use the freed half wisely

The article "A 'Radical' Plan To Cut Military Spending" finally brings up a long overdue, uncomfortable decision needing making, including "that the U.S. simply cannot afford "wars of choice... none of them have changed the international system at all, and none of them have directly benefited us strategically." It is a tough reality test we have been too long in the learning. Yet our military budget right now is greater than that of all the other nations of the planet combined. It is even twice what it was in 2001; is the world twice as scary a place to us as it was in 2001? Even considering the 9/11 fracas, there were quite different ways we could have dealt with that, and far less destructively and expensively. We cannot change those happenings here and now, but hopefully we can learn from those terribly expensive lessons.

Part of it all is that millions of jobs - and huge corporate profits - currently depend on being part of the defense industries. This is tax money - at least re the jobs - that is going back into the economy. A cutback to 2001 military spending levels - homeland security has its own budget - would cost lots of jobs in the defense industry, and concurrent less money circulating in the economy from all those paychecks. These are paychecks paid out of our taxes, note.

Since we are already forking out 700 billion a year in "defense" if we cut back by 50% that is 350 billion of paychecks and corporate profits missing from the economy, all of a sudden. But what if, instead, we begin another "swords into plowshares" massive program, with that 350 billion dollars, starting right away?

The defense industry is quite skilled at making things, lots of kinds of things. Vehicles, gun-type machinery, rocketry, hospital equipment, for examples. In the defense industry, all those things just go to be blown up and destroyed in war, and thus tend to not later compete with ordinary business in the country. A few jeeps, a few restored fighter aircraft for air shows.

The idea here is to put all those people and corporations to work on creating things people need in peacetime. The military R&D has often been the place where the most interesting jobs were found - I was working on ARPA projects in the late 1960's, so I know. Surely there are R&D topics of equal excitement that are not involving preparations for antagonism between nations.

The huge objection to this will be the accusation of big government competing with corporate business - but really, since the work would actually be done by the contractors and their subcontractors, the only thing different is that the kinds of things that get researched and built and made available to the nation, would be chosen by the government, instead of being limited by the quick profit requirements that rule corporate decisions.

So the jobs would continue; the corporations would continue to be profitable; the only difference is that the things made and researched, developed and mass produced, would be things that constructively help the nation and the world. Instead of producing things that will just be destroyed. Seems like a big win for all concerned, to me.

Even the military investments in medical systems, could set an example that could start to bring down health care costs in the nation while improving national health. Government spending while guiding for only health efficacy instead of guided by the business directive to make the most profit for the least effort - and thus sandbag products that would be more effective for the customer but would cut back on the company's profit and therefore not allowed to be developed - these areas of health systems could be now explored with regard to protocol effectiveness and value for the cost.

Even the military investments in training - like boot camp - and the many technical expertise areas needed for defense effort - that half of that now diverted - in this hypothetical plan - could go to truly exploring the most effective ways to teach people how to do things, and not be limited to the inertia of the existing education system's protocols. Again, the result might be considered unfair competition with the commercial businesses, but actually the kind of thing that would be R&D and utilized would be those things conventional business systems simply have been unable to due, due to their inertia.

then the developed protocols would be available to private industry, including health and education businesses, as options for improving their ways, if they so choose.

Much as NASA's R&D has produced huge benefits for America's corporations, by the developed capabilities of the new technologies, that would perhaps never have been developed by a tunnel-visioned lumbering corporate system that has everything locked up in virtual business territories.

The stimulus of technology in all arenas from vehicles to medicine to education - even a more appropriate "boot camp" for physical fitness and learning discipline in teamwork - would be at taxpayer expense, but would go to benefit the taxpayer, instead of go to produce things that will just be destroyed - and probably destroy lots of things with it. Let's think a bit more constructively.

And if we were to some day have to defend against an aggressor that our military could not handle as existing under reduced budgets, American productivity would already be in such high gear we could then easily shift over to producing war systems, as we did in WWII. Meantime, we are not just throwing our resources away in making things focused on destruction. We can be doing far more healing and constructive things with the same money.

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