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Thursday, August 18, 2011

WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT BILLION POUND GORILLA...

...which is the DEFENSE BUDGET.  I've had half a dozen Huffington Post articles (here is just one) on this subject, but just noticed a blurb in Scientific American that kind of epitomizes the idiocy (again, I add that, if you can't read the fine print, just click on it):
Here we have a looming global mega crisis relating to Peak Oil and Global Warming, with a future world now compromised about using nuclear fission power, where renewable energy is the only option remaining, and I see that the U.S. federal research budget for 2009 (January 2011 article said this was the latest available) shows the following expenditures for R and D (in million dollars):

  Defense                  $56,224  (which is $56.224 billion)
  Health                     $28,533
  NASA                     $  6,525
  NSF                       $  4,156
  Agriculture              $  1,027
  Renewable energy   $    625 (less than 10% of the Department of Energy budget!!!)

Through the Clinton and Bush administrations, this amount for renewable energy (including conservation) averaged around $625 million, or $0.625 billion.  The Department of Defense spends $56 billion for war research, almost 100 times more annually.  Mind you, this only R&D.   The total military budget is about 21,000 times this renewable energy amount:


You can thank Al Queda for winning the budget war, as since 2001 our inflation adjusted defense related expenditures have almost doubled.  That is their current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri to the left, with their former chief.  During that period, spending for renewable energy only edged up a bit, and only since this past fiscal year.  The average for the past decade, not including conservation, was less than a billion dollars/year.

Can you imagine where the world would be today if, after the Cold War ended two decades ago, we reversed just the defense and renewable energy research budget?  But more, according to the graph above, all military expenditures averaged around $1000 billion/year for the past decade.  So why even bother to lament only a 1/100 ratio for renewable energy versus defense ratio for research, when the ratio is 1/1000 for total renewable energy versus total military spending.  You need to read this a few times to understand the difference.


Keep in mind that at least ten years ago decision-makers already knew that China and Russia would essentially be incapable of challenging us, probably forever.  Our current foe amounts to, perhaps, a thousand seriously committed terrorists, who are not exactly the former Soviet Union with a Tsar Hydrogen Bomb.  Actually, the explosion above was sold as the poster for that bomb, but a more likely one is:

We are incredibly overspending for our military and you must ask yourselves, why?  One reason is, as that same Scientific American summary indicated:

Some members of Congress have already vowed to cut all non military R and D.

Who are they?  I would guess the Tea Party representatives.  Republicans and Conservatives tend to protect the defense budget because they get a good portion of their campaign financing from the Military-Industrial Complex (watch President Eisenhower's final speech a little more than half a century ago).  Considering where the world is today, and where it is seemingly going tomorrow, is this situation dumb, or what?

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Whoopie, the Dow Jones Industrials crashed 420 (-3.7%) today to 10,991, after being down as much as 522, with the world also sinking, especially Europe, generally down by 5%.  Ah, but gold hit another all time high of $1826/toz, up by $40.  Makes sense, but home mortgage rates dropped to AN ALL TIME LOW, with the 30 year fixed rate now down to 4.15%.  The one year adjustable is now at 2.86%.  Why whoopie?  I want the market to sink down below 10,000 so I can buy again, something I've avoided for more than 2 years.  


The WTI (American) crude oil future is at $81.61/barrel and the Brent (European) crude future is at $106.99/barrel.  I have never seen a $25+/barrel disparity before.  The WTI crude is sweeter (means better), but over the past dozen years, the Brent has usually been higher:
The number stands for cost of WTI oil minus cost of Brent oil.  They say it has something to do with the weakness of the European currency.

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As predicted, Tropical Storm Fernanda is weakening and moving south of Hawaii, while Hurricane Gregg, now at 85 MPH, will weaken and also probably someday pass south of Hawaii.  There are three disturbances between Africa and the West along that warm belt I showed a few days ago:

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2 comments:

pattygolden said...

Beautifully presented information. It should be required reading for all voters.

PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY said...

You might want to go to the Huffington Post for a popularized view of this topic:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-takahashi/should-the-defense-budget_b_884565.html

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