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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WE NEED TO REDUCE DEFENSE SPENDING NOW

The 25April2011 issue of TIME magazine featured an article on "How to Save a Trillion Dollars."  Finally, finally, voices are speaking out on significantly reducing our defense budget. 

TIME, in particular, indicates that our eleven carrier task forces each, apparently, costs our nation $15 billion/year.  My 27December 2010 posting said the following:

Yes, I am critical about American spending on more weapons.  The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in 2006 cost $4 billion, the George H.W. Bush floated last year was built for $6 billion, and the America coming up will be built for at least $9 billion, not counting the enormous R&D expenditures.  STOP!!!  We already have 11 carriers.  How many theaters will we need to protect in the future?


Now, I learn that each carrier fleet chews up $15 billion/year.  In fact, the next carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (above, originally called America II), when floated in 2015, will by itself cost $15 billion that is $6 billion higher from only four months ago.  Why are we doing this?


I have now posted three articles in the Huffington Post on this subject:

  1.  Well, Barack, We have a Problem...  (29May2008)

  2.  The 10% Solution  (20February2009)  


The SIMPLE SOLUTION is for President Barack Obama to merely pronounce at the next G8 meeting (on the other hand, France hosts next month, and Obama will be in charge in 2012, so give his staff a year to work out the details) that the U.S. will next year reduce our defense budget by 10%, and will continue to do this every year if China, Russia and European Union also comply.  These funds can better be spent on reducing the debt and allowing enhancements in infrastructure, education, renewable energy and global warming remediation.  But more important than anything else, this will in time lead to global peace.  Read the articles if you are worried about terrorists, the danger of China, or whatever else that might be troubling you.  

For some reason, the Federal Government insists on shielding money spent on war.  For example, the fiscal year 2009 Federal pie chart shows defense as only 20% of spending:


The following is closer to reality, where more than half of our national budget is spent on war:


Yes, this second chart was created by the War Resisters League, but click on their page and see if you can find a flaw.

There is only one reason why we are spending so much on war:  the military industrial complex.  President Dwight Eisenhower was so right.  Click on his name, and watch what he said a little more than  half a century ago.  And his was stated by a general at a time when the Cold War with the Soviet Union was approaching a peak, as just the following year, President John Kennedy spoke on the Cuba Missile Crisis, when our society was as close as we have ever been to destroying ourselves.

Today, we are contending with a ragtag bunch of determined terrorists, and we seem almost paralyzed, but spending money as if we were not in debt.  This is utterly ridiculous.  Amen.

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Today was a sad day at the Ala Wai Golf Course.  The vendor for the clubhouse gave up, citing that the rental cost was too high.  Our sixsome was one of the final customers:


These are my McKinley High School Class of '58 classmates, with Herb Inouye the alien from Kaimuki to the bottom left, Edna Wong and Ron Gokan in the front row, with Leonard Oki to my left.  Amy Uwaine Okamura had to leave early.  We are practicing for the June 24th alumni tournament here, for our class won last year, which is saying a lot, for our high school is the oldest public school in the state, I think (founded in 1865 as the Fort Street English Day School--Punahou was established in 1841).
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Another good day on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones Industrials jumped 96 to 12,691, while world markets were mixed, with the Japan Nikkei up another 124 to 9,815.  Yup, gold rose to another all-time high, leaping $19/toz to $1527 (or $1530/toz, depending on which market).  Basically, investors were holding their collective breaths awaiting some hawkish news to control inflation from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in the very first press conference that office has ever given, but he didn't say much except to leave it clear that near zero interest rates would remain unchanged.  (I'm tempted to make a snide remark about that length, but won't.)  The NYMEX crude went up to $113/barrel, while the Brent Spot is now at $126/barrel.

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