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Jan 07 2013

Does this mean we can beat them all up?

So you already knew the US spends a lot on the military. How much?

defense_spending

More than just about everybody. Combined.

Somehow, I don’t think we’re getting the best bang for our buck here.

(via Quartz)

119 comments

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  1. 1
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Smells like tax cuts!

  2. 2
    erichaas

    I’d be willing to bet there’s a lot more US military spending going on behind the scenes that doesn’t show up in that chart.

  3. 3
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    That would be most of the cost of the wars. Those are off the books.

  4. 4
    A Hermit

    Worth noting; on that list you have NATO allies the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada; NATO partners South Korea and Australia, de facto (though not formal) ally Japan; India, which signed a cooperation pact with the US in 2005 and Saudi Arabia, a military client of the US.

    That’s 9 of the 14 next largest military spenders which are US friends and allies. The remaining three are Brazil, not really a rival of the US, Rudssia and China.

    So put the budgets of those friends and allies in the column with the US budget and compare that to the Chinese and Russian budgets and ask yourself why Americans are so fearful…and where else some of that money might be spent…

  5. 5
    A Hermit

    UURRGGH

    10 of the 13 next largest spenders…

    Math is hard…

  6. 6
    jnorris

    The first four of the other countries are also our competitors in the global arms market.

  7. 7
    Rip Steakface

    And of those four we compete with, two have been our allies for a century or more (not exactly sure when the bond of trust between the UK and US formed, nor the bond between the US and France [though that seems to go right back to the American Revolution]), one is a shadow of its former strength riddled with corruption and decay, and the last is only an ideological foe, sort of. China is still our main trading buddy, and it’s pretty well established that the greater the trade connections between two nation-states, the less likely they are to go to war, at least these days.

    So then if the only *remote* threats to us in pure military capacity are either allied, not actually a threat, or our symbiotic partner, what’s left? Third-world banana republics run by strongmen that more often than not were installed by us.

  8. 8
    jnorris

    Rip Steakface wrote:

    So then if the only *remote* threats to us in pure military capacity are either allied, not actually a threat, or our symbiotic partner, what’s left? Third-world banana republics run by strongmen that more often than not were installed by us.

    Yes, the brown people are all we have left to fight and they seem to do a damn good job of defending their homes.

  9. 9
    sambarge

    Is Canada depicted by the lavendar stripe at the bottom? Aren’t we pinkos? Damn those Conservatives! They better not be changing our international ‘pinko’ reputation.

  10. 10
    josephnobles

    This is about the only way to get stimulus spending in the good graces of the conservatives, and I’m serious. There’s no way our national security needs to spend more than the rest of the world combined for the military. It’s at least 60% bona fide Keynesian stimulus to local economies. And it props up more! For example, the amount of SNAP provisions spent at military commissaries has quadrupled over the last four years. But getting conservatives to admit this and moving this money into other places to cut down on military spending? I don’t think it will ever happen.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    terminus

    Has anyone seen a similarly styled graph that depicts how much the U.S. spends on public education, compared to the rest of the world (seriously, I would like to post both of them in my HS classroom)?

    I love inverse correlations.

  13. 13
    woodwose

    Living just north of the largest military power on Earth and having the both the water and oil it will need to preserve its lifestyle (and smallest military budget on the graph) is a real comfort.

  14. 14
    md

    Man, if only we’d gone over the fiscal cliff and cut some of that stuff.

    Go Chuck Hagel! Go Chuck Hagel!

  15. 15
    J Bowen

    It could work. Problem is- we’re not stealing enough of their lunch money.

  16. 16
    slothrop1905

    ‘China is still our main trading buddy, and it’s pretty well established that the greater the trade connections between two nation-states, the less likely they are to go to war, at least these days.’

    That’s so cute…

  17. 17
    Rip Steakface

    @10

    It’s called military Keynesianism. It’s heavily related to what finally fully pulled us out of the Great Depression – everyone attributes the end of the Depression to the beginning of WWII and the corresponding skyrocket in military spending. So, in other words, Keynesianism works, and is actually supported by the right so long as people die.

    Every day, I grow to find these people more and more disgusting.

  18. 18
    Rip Steakface

    That’s so cute…

    Can’t seem to remember the last time two trading partners as intertwined as the US and China went to war, or at least participated in anything more than minor border squabbles. Maybe segments of the Roman Empire?

  19. 19
    Nakkustoppeli

    Keynesian stimulus? Not really. A proper Keynesian stimulus is only done when the economy is weak. Military spending tends to go on unabated during both booms and recessions unlike, say, unemployment benefits. Of course the armed forces could purchase new fighter planes, carriers, tanks and so on during recessions, but does it really happen so, or does it happen during boom years contributing to the overheating economy?

  20. 20
    microraptor

    Obviously, the solution to this is to cut Medicare spending.

  21. 21
    paulburnett

    A lot of the spending is pure waste – taxpayer dollars turned into weapons systems by defense contractors and then never used. There are over four thousand mothballed military aircraft stored at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson AZ and thousands more at other desertish places. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_boneyard

  22. 22
    slothrop1905

    If you call what’s happening to labor and manufacturing forces between the two countries ‘trade partners’…I certainly wouldn’t. ‘Intertwined’, yes, but not in any good way…

  23. 23
    terminus

    @Scourge99,

    At first blush, your graph might appear compelling. However, when you compare military spending to GDP, you are basically identifying how much of a burden it places on the U.S. economy…which has very little to do with the burden it places on U.S. taxpayers.

    The real question is whether we are spending money appropriately. When you consider that American public school teachers (like me) are considerably underpaid, by international standards, whereas our military is the most well-funded military in the history of the world (I am just a biology teacher, not a mathematician, so let me know if I am off-base)…it makes one question our priorities, considering the current economy.

  24. 24
    kevinalexander

    The money doesn’t go into a hole in the ground. It’s carefully counted and ends up in someones’s pocket.
    To them it’s not military spending, it’s military income.

  25. 25
    Rip Steakface

    If you call what’s happening to labor and manufacturing forces between the two countries ‘trade partners’…I certainly wouldn’t. ‘Intertwined’, yes, but not in any good way…

    I was speaking less on a domestic policy and workers’ rights level and more on a foreign policy and “matters of war and peace” level. Yes, of course workers on both sides of the coin get fucked, but it’s definitely a trade partnership.

  26. 26
    a3kr0n

    What do you bet some upstart will come along, and topple all of this with a lousy $5 slingshot?

  27. 27
    slothrop1905

    A massively unbalanced and deteriorating ‘trade partnership’, which within our children’s lifetime will reap some pretty bad results. Don’t get me wrong, I”m not saying the amount that the US spends is justified, I just think assuming that Chinese-American relations are not going to come to a head is wishful thinking. Things can’t just keep going the way they are.

  28. 28
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

    Yeah, except not so much.

  29. 29
    Ihavenoidea

    If we trimmed the military then how would we be able to offer great opportunities for education, health insurance and other benefits for the military?
    Becacuse you really do have to be willing to lose life to get these things today. It is not easily available to many.
    I have no idea what to drink to make me forget how fucked up this is.

  30. 30
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    @29:
    May I reccomend a Blood Orange Mimosa?
    I like how you tied your nym into your comment too.

  31. 31
    Larry

    Obviously, the solution to this is to cut Medicare spending.

    And the school lunch program.

    And NASA.

    And …

    You start watching those pennies and pretty soon they start amounting to 0.001% of the defense budget.

  32. 32
    Tâlib Alttaawiil (طالب التاويل)

    america needs to spend that much on the military,
    because everyone in the world loves us so much.

  33. 33
    Ihavenoidea

    @30:

    Would it be okay if I sugared the rim of the glass? I have some key limes to spare, and would coat the rim with them before drenching them in extra fine I have leftover from a baking spree for Solstice. Thank you for making me feel welcome here.

    @31

    Are those pennies even as much as you can visibly see at the bottom of Buckingham Fountian on any given day?

    Wouldn’t that be a powerful advertisement? Nevermind, it’s the booze talking now.

  34. 34
    mdvalero

    “The real question is whether we are spending money appropriately. When you consider that American public school teachers (like me) are considerably underpaid, by international standards, whereas our military is the most well-funded military in the history of the world (I am just a biology teacher, not a mathematician, so let me know if I am off-base)…it makes one question our priorities, considering the current economy.”

    I don’t think the correlation will work out like you hope – a lot of countries don’t educate the proportion of students that the US does – in many countries, wealthier families that can afford private schooling have the opportunity for education, whereas we educate everyone. We may actually pay more educators than many countries.

  35. 35
    scourge99

    At first blush, your graph might appear compelling. However, when you compare military spending to GDP, you are basically identifying how much of a burden it places on the U.S. economy…which has very little to do with the burden it places on U.S. taxpayers.

    I’m glad we agree. The point is that posting a graph of how the much the US spends on its military is a similarly pointless representation. Even Fox news can play “who has the more shocking graph (or statistics)” game all day long.

    The real question is whether we are spending money appropriately.

    I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on what is “appropriate”.

    When you consider that American public school teachers (like me) are considerably underpaid, by international standards,

    I often hear complaints that Americans think blindly throwing money at their problems will fix them. Solving the problems in our education system is a bit more complex than haphazardly shifting spending.

    whereas our military is the most well-funded military in the history of the world

    Did you make that up or did you actually do some sort of analysis before making it a talking point?

  36. 36
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Actually, the New Deal pulled you out of the Great Depression by 1934. The recession of 1937-38 was caused by Republicans objecting to further stimulus spending. (sound familiar?)

  37. 37
    Marcus Ranum

    I bet they hate us because they envy the fuck out of our freedoms.

  38. 38
    mildlymagnificent

    in many countries, wealthier families that can afford private schooling have the opportunity for education, whereas we educate everyone.

    Surely the valid comparison is the G20 or OECD countries, not the have-nots or the not-as-wealthy-as-us countries. afaik, looking at that military expenditures list, you might want to exclude China and India on percentage grounds, but on the pure numbers far more children have access to education. Brazil and Russia I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess for recent figures. But you can’t possibly claim the education systems in UK, Germany/France/Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia or South Korea are less accessible/ affordable/ universal than the US.

  39. 39
    michaeld

    As the son of a Canadian teacher I will speak up to confirm we do in fact teach everyone and we pay our teachers better as well.

  40. 40
    Marcus Ranum

    Hey waitacopstrokingminute here! Where is IRAN?!? I thought they’re getting ready to completely DESTROY us!! And where’s Israel!? Aren’t these horrible global threats, like, why we need our huge army!? This is all very suspicious. But it does look like the Germans are up to something, again, huh?

  41. 41
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    The Germans are always up to something.

  42. 42
    Rip Steakface

    Actually, the New Deal pulled you out of the Great Depression by 1934. The recession of 1937-38 was caused by Republicans objecting to further stimulus spending. (sound familiar?)

    Ehh. The worst of the Depression was over, for sure, and the New Deal was an amazing time for liberals. But we didn’t go from bust to boom until during and after the war.

    Either way, I was trying to speak more in a sense that would appeal more to the average wannabe independent who doesn’t actually know much about history or the issues rather than to my fellow decidedly unbashful liberals.

  43. 43
    phillipbrown

    Of course China spends less on defense. They don’t have to pay the same labor costs. What the US should be doing is outsourcing all their defense production to China. Imagine how much money they would save.

  44. 44
    chigau (違う)

    Rev.
    and they talk funny

  45. 45
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    scourge:

    I often hear complaints that Americans think blindly throwing money at their problems will fix them. Solving the problems in our education system is a bit more complex than haphazardly shifting spending.

    Where did terminus state that xe was trying to solve the problems in our education system by haphazardly shifting spending? It seemed to me that xe was stating that perhaps money could be shifted from military spending to increasing teachers’ salaries. Sounds reasonable to me. Unless there is some reason the US needs to spend as much money on defense as we do. Is there?

  46. 46
    mdvalero

    Note that I didn’t claim that. terminus said “I love inverse correlations.” In response, I said, “I don’t think the correlation will work out like you hope.” I didn’t include the comment that I was referring to in that sentence – sorry. I do not suspect that, given this dataset, military spending would be inversely correlated with education spending. Your points on China and India may highlight that. Nonetheless, how would one interpret any such correlation anyway? Is it even a meaningful comparison?

  47. 47
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    scourge99
    So what the fuck point are you trying to make? Seriously, what is it? That the U.S. doesn’t spend vastly more on its military than could be conceivably justified by any even hypothetical threat? That that money wouldn’t do more good if it were invested into infrastructure? What?

    I often hear complaints that Americans think blindly throwing money at their problems will fix them. Solving the problems in our education system is a bit more complex than haphazardly shifting spending.

    Suggest something then, don’t just whine. I’m not saying that more money will fix everything that’s wrong with the U.S Educational system, to do that we’d need a national curriculum as well, but it will fix a lot of them, so if you’re saying it won’t, you better have an alternate solution in mind.

    mdvalero

    Compared to other countries with a public educational system (You know, like the entire industrialized world, teachers in the U.S. are underpaid, and the system as a whole is underfunded as well.

  48. 48
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @phillipbrown:

    Actually, we DO outsource quite a surprising amount of defense material production to China. If trade relations were to break down, many of those expensive weapons systems we have would cease operating as soon as we ran through our backlog of spare parts. (And in some cases, we don’t even have spare parts.) We have, in many cases, no raw materials (rare earth metals? China cornered the market), no factories capable of producing the parts (we stopped building ‘em over here, so they’re mostly outdated), and no remaining trained factory workers.

  49. 49
    mdvalero

    lol @philllipbrown

  50. 50
    mdvalero

    “Compared to other countries with a public educational system (You know, like the entire industrialized world, teachers in the U.S. are underpaid, and the system as a whole is underfunded as well.”

    Where did I say anything that suggested that I think teachers are properly paid, please? I said nothing of the sort. I am the daughter of 2 teachers and am a postdoc soon to be educator! I support public education and think teachers should be paid more. I just don’t think that military spending is inversely correlated with military spending! Geez! Talk about arguing against a point I never made. Maybe my point was ill-defined to start out with. Apologies if that is the case!

  51. 51
    Crudely Wrott

    And military suicides have now exceeded battlefield deaths. While the lower numbers of in-action fatalities can be credited to fast extraction and excellent medical attention, the higher numbers of self-inflicted fatality speaks loudly that our military is doing something wrong. Very, very wrong.

  52. 52
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    the higher numbers of self-inflicted fatality speaks loudly that our military is doing something wrong. Very, very wrong.
    Something like maybe sending people far from their homes and loved ones to shoot total strangers and watch their friends maimed and killed around them, for years without a break? I mean, I can see where that would mess someone up, yanno? Maybe, just maybe, we should do a little less of the going around the world shooting random strangers, just a thought.

  53. 53
    scourge99

    It seemed to me that xe was stating that perhaps money could be shifted from military spending to increasing teachers’ salaries. Sounds reasonable to me. Unless there is some reason the US needs to spend as much money on defense as we do. Is there?

    So paying teachers more = better education???

    Thank you for contributing to the stereotype that Americans try to solve their problems by blindly throwing money at them.

  54. 54
    Crudely Wrott

    Yes, Dalillama. Something like that.

  55. 55
    scourge99

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    So what the fuck point are you trying to make? Seriously, what is it?

    That playing statistic games to fool people into accepting a talking point is a page out of the play book of Young Earth Creationists and Fox News.

    I’m not saying that more money will fix everything that’s wrong with the U.S Educational system, to do that we’d need a national curriculum as well, but it will fix a lot of them, so if you’re saying it won’t, you better have an alternate solution in mind.

    I’ve said nothing about how to fix the education system.

    And sorry, I can disagree with an idea without having to propose an alternative.

  56. 56
    Crudely Wrott

    In past wars once the military threat was neutralized, we stood down. We also replaced soldiers with construction workers and engineers to at least try to pick up some of the mess and put some infrastructure back into functioning condition.

    There was that one time in SE Asia where we cut and ran when the obvious stared us in the face. Now we count Viet Nam as a trading partner.

    What we are doing now is making ourselves a fool in the eyes of the world and a criminal in the eyes of those who live in Afghanistan.

    When I was a sprout coming up there were a lot of WWII vets who were still getting re-acclimated to real life back stateside. My step dad and my uncles among them. Not so long ago I tended to a veteran of Pacific island fighting as he made his way to his grave. One thing that all these men seemed to have in common was the pride of having done something just and noble. I have yet to meet a veteran of the last two wars who exhibited the same trait.

    Perhaps I just haven’t met enough of them, perhaps there are not many of them. I don’t know. What I do know is that practically no one anywhere thinks that our current military excursions are just or noble.

    As Walter Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is, January eighth, two thousand and thirteen”.

  57. 57
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    scourge99:

    So paying teachers more = better education???

    Thank you for contributing to the stereotype that Americans try to solve their problems by blindly throwing money at them.

    What comments are you reading? And what are you smoking while you’re reading them?
    *Exactly* nowhere did I say “paying teachers more=better education”. Nor did terminus say anything like that either.
    Nothing more than some of the massive amounts of military spending could be shifted to pay for an increase in teachers’ salaries.
    Where the fuck are you getting this ridiculous idea that *anyone* has said this will equal a better education?

  58. 58
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    scourge99:

    I’ve said nothing about how to fix the education system.

    Nor has anyone else.
    Learn to read for comprehension.
    Ditch the bias.

  59. 59
    AJ Milne

    The Germans are always up to something.

    It’s true. Sneaky little bastards. Turn your back and they’ll go and build you a car–or possibly some very contemporary and efficient stainless steel kitchenware–while you’re not looking!

    … and now I feel all bad for playing on the stereotype. Y’know, I bet it’s a huge pain to be a just totally chill German, who just wants to smoke a bowl or something. People would give you such a hard time. It’d be all like ‘But… But… But… You’re German! Aren’t you supposed to be working? Or organizing something? I heard you people are organized…’

    On the other hand, as a Canadian, people are always asking me why I don’t have anything to smoke. It’s always like: ‘But you’re Canadian!’

    So, anyway, I’d hereby like to protest this stereotype. Listen, world: all Canadians are not stoners!

    … no, no, that’s just people from BC. Here in the East, we’re more into alcoholism.

    Seriously, I sometimes feel bad for living up to parts of the Canadian stereotype so well. It’s like I’m part of the problem. Yes, I’m very into certain winter sports. Yes, I actually do quite like beer…

    … and yes, you got me. That is maple syrup in my luggage. I carry it everywhere. It’s true. Stuff’s pretty awesome, let’s face it. And I’m even pretty annoyingly polite in person.

    In my defense, however, I’m not much into hockey at all. That one I’m all over subverting.

    … anyway, I’d just like to say I’m very disappointed with the Americans in this thread arguing over spending priorities…

    … no, not over the argument. Nor that it’s over spending. This, indeed, we have come to expect from you. Indeed, ideally, if you’re going to live up to your reputation properly, I’d like you to see if you couldn’t somehow continue this into the teeth of a deadlock that brings international stock exchanges to a near standstill, complete with grinding anxiety about a worldwide fiscal meltdown. If it could be arranged, thanks…

    So no, it’s not the disagreement that I’m disappointed about, exactly. Rather, it’s just that I’m so surprised you’ve been arguing for several hours now and there’s been no actual gunplay yet.

    (/This cliché standup routine on national stereotypes brought to you by the fact that it’s late and I’m avoiding work… Aaaand back to it. Sigh.)

  60. 60
    Muz

    While not uninteresting, what is the point of showing military spending in relation to GDP?
    Should military spending always be a certain percentage or in a certain range? Is military spending supposed to scale with GDP? Does higher GDP mean there is more to defend, or is it simply a goldfish principle thing?

  61. 61
    scourge99

    What comments are you reading? And what are you smoking while you’re reading them?
    *Exactly* nowhere did I say “paying teachers more=better education”. Nor did terminus say anything like that either.
    Nothing more than some of the massive amounts of military spending could be shifted to pay for an increase in teachers’ salaries.

    Shifting the money to teachers salaries just to pay them more didn’t even strike me as reasonable.
    because they make decent money ( at least where I live: https://apps.tuhsd.k12.az.us/departments/humanresources/salaries/Salaries_Certified.pdf) and make money hand-over-fist with a pension and double dipping.

    I wish my job would pay me 3/4 my salary for the rest of my life after 20 years of service while I also get paid for working another job.

  62. 62
    lorn

    I was reading a while back about how the military has as high a proportion of general-grade officers as we did right before we got into WW2. Immediately after Pearl Harbor there were a whole lot of retirements as the bloated bureaucracy got rid of the dead wood.

    It noted that pretty much every general-grade officer has a permanently assigned high ranking officer as a lap dog/valet/man Friday, a dedicated domestic staff to wait on them hand and foot, and most of them have both multiple private residences, and an executive-grade jet standing by to move them around. Often the benefits exceed those of CEOs of major corporations. None of that is cheap.

    Keep that in mind when you read about wounded soldiers having to wait months to get physical therapy, a visit with a psychiatrist, or counseling because the system can’t afford it.

  63. 63
    muskiet

    Considering they spend over 4 BILLION dollars just so all the different military departments can look different in the bushes, the legislature should pull their heads out of their @sses and get serious about telling the military to stop wasting money in stead of only telling everybody else.

  64. 64
    muskiet

    Damn… link for above comment:
    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20121005/NEWS02/710059916

  65. 65
    yubal

    The USA spends about the same amount of money on military as the German federal government has in it’s entire annual budget.

    Including those autobahns, the semi-decent healthcare program, unemployment and welfare programs, free schools and the cost effective universities everybody can join.

    @ US citizens

    wanna pull your hair out and cry? OK. Here you go:

    I spent less than 500 bucks on tuition, from me entering elementary school to defending the doctoral thesis. In the same time I spent less than $2000 on co-pays for whatever medical issue I had, including constant psychotherapy, at least eight pairs of glasses, biannual physicals and dental care, two surgeries and one rehab. On the con side, Germany does not own a single air craft carrier. What a bummer.

  66. 66
    Nick Gotts

    scourge99,

    Your graph makes pretty much the reverse of the point you think it does. Exactly 3 countries are shown as spending a higher proportion of GDP on the military than the USA, and two of them are US client states – arguably all three (the Iraqi armed forces being heavily dependent on equipment, spares and training from the USA). So the graph clearly reinforces the claim that the USA is over-spending on its military.

  67. 67
    Nick Gotts

    On the con side, Germany does not own a single air craft carrier. What a bummer. – yubal

    Well that just shows, doesn’t it! America is defending the entire free world from the Russians, who are forcing Europe to, er, buy lots of gas and oil from them – I mean the Chinese, who are forcing us all to, er, buy their cheap manufactured goods – I mean the Moooslemterrists, who would invade us in their millions if it weren’t for those US aircraft carriers and the troops or military bases in 138* countries.

    *Last time I checked.

  68. 68
    Nick Gotts

    A massively unbalanced and deteriorating ‘trade partnership’, which within our children’s lifetime will reap some pretty bad results. Don’t get me wrong, I”m not saying the amount that the US spends is justified, I just think assuming that Chinese-American relations are not going to come to a head is wishful thinking. Things can’t just keep going the way they are. – slothrop1905

    Probably not. But it’s unlikely that this unbalanced trade relationship could bring about a war, because neither side could have any rational motive for allowing it to do so. If a Sino-American war does occur, it will be because irrational extremists have gained control of one country or the other – and as things stand, that’s far more likely to be the USA, and the more weapons they have, the likelier they are to start one.

  69. 69
    joe_k

    @Scourge99 – I think you are missing the point. The USA spends more on it’s military than the NEXT 20 COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD COMBINED. Regardless of whether or not that is a large proportion of GDP, the US could cut $300bn dollars from its annual defence budget, and still be spending as much as the next four countries combined. Two of which are US allies, and one of which is a shadow of its former self.

  70. 70
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Scourge99:
    Heard of “shifting the goal posts” have you?

  71. 71
    Jadehawk

    Here is a different perspective:

    an entirely worthless one for the purpose of figuring out whether the degree of US spending is justified. Even if, say, North Korea started spending 100% of its GDP on the military, it still could be wiped off the map by the US.

    The point is that posting a graph of how the much the US spends on its military is a similarly pointless representation.

    incorrect.

    So paying teachers more = better education???

    Thank you for contributing to the stereotype that Americans try to solve their problems by blindly throwing money at them.

    except for the part where this actually works, of course. Making teaching a higher-status job is a part of how, for example, Finland became one of the world’s best educated countries (and that’s aside from the part where no one actually even suggested such a thing).

    because they make decent money

    lol

    make money hand-over-fist with a pension and double dipping.

    lololol

    so basically this all amounts to standard-issue conservative-American whining about those ebil spoiled public servants who supposedly have it oh so good. as if the rest of the civilized world doesn’t exist.

  72. 72
    richardelguru

    It’s a little-known fact (but one that tells a lot about the US military) that the Pentagon was supposed to be square!

  73. 73
    Usernames are smart

    Seems the only thing we learn from history is that we’re the kid with ADHD.

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    [snip]

    Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
    — President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960

  74. 74
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Does this mean we can beat them all up?

    Technically yes.

    Ethically no.

    But sadly we won’t be making the decision either way.

  75. 75
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @72.richardelguru :

    Really or joking?

  76. 76
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ 65. yubal :

    Germany does not own a single air craft carrier. What a bummer.

    If my probably unreliable memory suffices, China – that’s, yes, the rising superpower, new space race entrant “People’s Republic” of China – has one, count ‘em, *one* aircraft carrier. Seriously.

    (Bearing that unreliable memory disclaimer in mind – but still.) Am I right?

  77. 77
    Anri

    That playing statistic games to fool people into accepting a talking point is a page out of the play book of Young Earth Creationists and Fox News.

    Hmm, I guess I have to ask, what is the “talking point” that the OP is attempting to fool us into accepting?
    That the US spends more militarily than most of the rest of the world combined?
    ‘Cause that’s what’s being said, and it’s – what’s the term? – oh, yeah, true.

    So, enlighten me, what’s your point?

  78. 78
    gingerbaker

    The cost to manufacture a 2 square meter solar PV panel is now about 1 dollar. The number of PV panels we need, as a nation, to generate 100% of all our energy needs is 214 billion.

    If we spent less than one third of one year’s military budget on photovoltaic panels, we could be a very long way toward being 100% renewable energy in this country. We could even accomplish such a goal before it is too late.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    slothrop1905

    Yes, only one aircraft carrier. Which was just built. After an 11% rise in military spending from the previous year.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/08/us-world-military-idUSTRE7273UB20110308

  81. 81
    A Hermit

    @61 scourge99 says:

    I wish my job would pay me 3/4 my salary for the rest of my life after 20 years of service while I also get paid for working another job.

    Well it’s easy; go to school for four five years to get your education degree, find a teaching position, work your as off for 30 or forty years, pay a big chunk of your income into the pension fund and you can have that too…

  82. 82
    Jeff

    We have a military hegemony. As far as world stability goes, one super power is far better than competing super powers. No country can compete with us, so they won’t really bother trying.

    Heavy cuts to defense spending is an unrealistic expectation.

  83. 83
    noastronomer

    Heck the US navy, maybe with some USMC support, could take on most countries by itself.

  84. 84
    Doug Little

    Heck the US navy, maybe with some USMC support, could take on most countries by itself.

    No need, Seal Team 6 and Chuck Norris could take on most countries.

    America, Fuck Yeah.

  85. 85
    WharGarbl

    “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” – Theodore Roosevelt
    We got the big stick part down real good.
    Just need to get working on the speak softly part.
    Although US may be in the situation where the stick got so big, we’re tempted to use it all the time.

  86. 86
    culch

    What is the source for the expenditure chart, and what year/s does it represent? The linked article at Quartz does not say, either.

  87. 87
    michaeld

    @culch

    If I had to bet and cause people are lazy… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures
    as taken from the SIPRI yearbook 2012 (assuming it was just created and isn’t an old image).

  88. 88
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Another fantastic source for information on countries throughout the world is (don’t throw anything at me) the CIA. The World Factbook is very useful.

    Some years ago, I spent three weeks doing a stint at the DOI Terrorism Watch Office. My job was to collate the various national and local threats. When those threats (travel warnings, tips dropped through the CIA to the FBI to DOI, incidents at federal land sites, BOLOs, etc.) involved foreign (non-USA) countries, I would go over to the CIA World Factbook and provide additional information that was germane to the threat. Day shift (who are the regulars) wanted to know where in the hell I was coming up with that information (even though I provided the URL for additional information. They were quite surprised to find out about that site.

  89. 89
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Damn. Addendum to my #88:

    They give military expenditure as % of GDP (and for some nations, the information may be a half-decade or more out of date (but they are still useful)). They also give reported GDP, so figuring out the actual dollar amount of military spending is not difficult.

  90. 90
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    And, oddly, all of the military spending to GDP figures are for 2005/2006. What the hell? The economic information is very up to date, as is the political information. Hmm.

  91. 91
    kevinalexander

    It’s a little-known fact (but one that tells a lot about the US military) that the Pentagon was supposed to be square!

    The Pentagon is square. The one really expensive side is a military secret.

  92. 92
    tfkreference

    @scourge99
    Why aren’t you a teacher if it’s such a great job? Perhaps there’s a reason teachers in your area want to retire after 20 years. Hint: they didn’t go into teaching for the money–what changes in that time? Can you see a benefit to society from having experienced and motivated teachers?

  93. 93
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Another reason teachers still have decent benefits and pay? They still have an effective union.

  94. 94
    Stardrake

    slothrop1905@80: The Liaoning wasn’t even just built–it’s a Russian Kusnetsov-class carrier (originally the Varyag, that the Russians never finished–the Chinese bought the hull from the Ukranians and finished construction–the hull was sitting empty since 1992! Liaonang is likely more capable than Kusnetsov, having newer internal systems, but no match for even one Nimitz class US carrier–and the US has 10 of those!

    Not much to worry about on that score, no….

  95. 95
    Alexey Petrenko

    I guess the same plot can be made for the world prison population: http://www.libertyforlife.com/jail-police/prison_populaton.htm US seem to be busy defending your freedoms not only from outside enemies!

  96. 96
    Matt Penfold

    But no one can match the UK, which will have an aircraft carrier but no aircraft to go with it!

    Only the combined geniuses of Labour, Lib-Dem and Tory politicians could produce that triumph.

  97. 97
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    @scourge99 #61:

    I wish my job would pay me 3/4 my salary for the rest of my life after 20 years of service while I also get paid for working another job.

    Perhaps you should discuss this with your union. (I assume you do something constructive like supporting your union, and don’t just whine about tearing down other people’s retirement benefits to your meager level.)

  98. 98
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    But no one can match the UK, which will have an aircraft carrier but no aircraft to go with it!

    The Hawker Harriers are retired? When the hell did that happen?

  99. 99
    WharGarbl

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip
    #97

    Perhaps you should discuss this with your union. (I assume you do something constructive like supporting your union, and don’t just whine about tearing down other people’s retirement benefits to your meager level.)

    Or, perhaps go into the teaching profession and find out how “cushy” the job is?

  100. 100
    Matt Penfold

    The Hawker Harriers are retired? When the hell did that happen?

    Last year (2012). We sold them, and all the spare parts, to the US. For the first time since 1916(ish) the Royal Navy does not have a carrier capability.

  101. 101
    Ingdigo Jump

    Seems the only thing we learn from history is that we’re the kid with ADHD.

    An insult to people with ADHD

  102. 102
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Matt:

    Well, you still have the rotary-wing aircraft (which, if I remember the current line of Royal Navy carriers correctly) is about the right size for helos. Just remove the jump ramp and you have a really good littoral combat vessel.

  103. 103
    Ingdigo Jump

    Technically yes.

    Ethically no.

    Literally yes. Technically no.

    It reminds me of a comment about the Manhattan project where, contrary to popular myth, they actually decided that if there was ANY chance the test detonation would destroy the world they wouldn’t do it. The comment was that from a physics POV they were right…from a political POV they were wrong.

    We COULD do that, but the decision would be almost certainly suicidal and not be worth the cost.

  104. 104
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    @93

    But, but, but unions are eeeevuuuuuul, and, and, socialist, dontcha know ?

    I always puzzles me how much time people waste complaining about and fighting people like them who have it slightly better than them while defending the rich fuckers who give them incredibly crappy jobs.

    And will end their arguments with that stunning stroke insight that those who complain about rich fuckers who get filthy rich off the underpaid labor of people like them are just jealous.

    It’s like the mother of all projections.

    Or is it what the so-called american dream is ? Keeping people subservient with the delusion that they will one day become that rich fucker if they work hard enough ?

  105. 105
    Matt Penfold

    Well, you still have the rotary-wing aircraft (which, if I remember the current line of Royal Navy carriers correctly) is about the right size for helos. Just remove the jump ramp and you have a really good littoral combat vessel.

    We also got rid of the three STOL/VTOL carriers at the same time we got rid of the Harriers. There are two new, larger, carriers building which will be capable of operating conventional aircraft launched via catapult, but the first carrier will be ready nearly 10 years before the aircraft will. In meantime, both will operate as helicopter carriers.

  106. 106
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    This is a quote from me (cannot remember when I made it) that someone tossed onto the Pharyngula wiki:

    “One of the claims I hear, quite often, from conservatives is that taxing the rich is class warfare; if we don’t let them keep all their money, we are communistsocialists who want everyone to earn the same amount of money and have the same benefits. Then, when a union stands up for workers and says, ‘no, you cannot cut their wages and benefits which the workers earn,’ suddenly you get the bullshit about similar workers earn less and have shitty benefits and it is suddenly okay to want everyone to earn the same amount of money and have the same benefits. It is commiesocialism when we ask the rich to pay a little more but capitalism when we do the same to the workers.”

  107. 107
    Matt Penfold

    Another thing I have noticed about pay, is that when it comes to ordinary workers the argument goes that pay must be kept down in order to remain competitive. But when it comes to chief executives the argument is that pay must be high in order to attract the very best.

    I don’t need to explain to the Pharyngula readership was is so fucked up about that.

  108. 108
    dianne

    Obviously, the solution to this is to cut Medicare spending.

    If the US government based its spending on what is actually threatening US-Americans’ lives, they’d gut the military and drastically increase Medicare, Medicaid, and NIH spending. Disease is the primary threat to the US, not invasion or even terrorism.

  109. 109
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    dianne:

    But nurses have unions. So do many other hospital workers. How dare you suggest that the government support unions?

    (attempted humour)

  110. 110
    michaeld

    Matt
    Reminds me. There was a time when the submarines at the west Edmonton mall were more seaworthy then the Canadian Navy’s submarines. Luckily the west Ed ones were finally removed ending that national embarrassment.

  111. 111
    dianne

    But nurses have unions. So do many other hospital workers.

    Yeah, we had a recent hullaballoo when one of the unions demanded that the hospital negotiate with them fairly. People kept talking about how unfair it was that we (ununionized employees) didn’t get a couple of benefits the unionized employees did. I kept waiting for someone to come to the logical conclusion of “we got to get us one of those union things” but the moment never came.

  112. 112
    microraptor

    If the US government based its spending on what is actually threatening US-Americans’ lives, they’d gut the military and drastically increase Medicare, Medicaid, and NIH spending.

    Duh. I was just mocking the standard conservative line about how the only way to fix the budget is to slash Medicare and Social Security (the latter being an even sillier idea, since Social Security doesn’t come out of the general federal budget, it’s funded by its own program).

  113. 113
    Matt Penfold

    Here in the UK the Government plans to limit the up-rating of benefits paid to people of working age to 1% for the next three years on the grounds that to increase such benefits in line with the rate of inflation which has been the case since for ever was unfair to workers who have not seen their pay increased by the rate of inflation.

    It seems not to have occurred to my Government that maybe the problem is that workers have not being getting large enough pay-raises, not that the sick, unemployed or those so poorly paid the state needs to top up their earnings have been getting to much.

    Needless to say, MPs will be getting a larger payraise.

  114. 114
    Anthony K

    Reminds me. There was a time when the submarines at the west Edmonton mall were more seaworthy then the Canadian Navy’s submarines. Luckily the west Ed ones were finally removed ending that national embarrassment.

    IIRC, it wasn’t that they were more seaworthy, it’s that WEM had more.

  115. 115
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    I kept waiting for someone to come to the logical conclusion of “we got to get us one of those union things” but the moment never came.

    I’ve been trying to educate my dad about benefits lately.

    My dad works as a car mechanic and has no benefits beyond wage insurance (we’re in canada). He used to complain that employees of the state got pensions while he didn’t. I argued that maybe he should have a pension rather than wanting people who have better conditions to have less. But somehow, he thought that it would be detrimental to the business he works for.

    The only argument that won him was that retired people with money could afford cars and therefore could afford to pay his boss to repair cars while poor retired people travelled by bus.

  116. 116
    Fred Magyar

    Well, here’s a thought. The US consumes approximately 18.5 million barrels of oil a day of which we import about 60% http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/

    To keep that in perspective that’s more oil than China, India, Russia and Japan’s consumption combined. Given that the US has, roughly speaking a population of 300 million compared to a combined population of almost 3 billion in China, India, Russia and Japan, that’s one heck of a lot of oil for a rather small group of very oil thirsty people! And let’s not forget that a good chunk of the Chinese oil consumption is used in part to produce goods for us Americans.

    Can you imagine the social and economic chaos that would ensue within the borders of the US if we suddenly lost access to about 10 million barrels a day?!
    So I’d venture to guess that a rather significant part of our military budget goes towards making sure those global supply lines are kept open and flowing to our benefit…Wouldn’t want anybody to get any funny ideas now, would we? That might force us to export a little democracy here there and we always have to be ready for that.

    Of course I could be way out in left field on this…but I think the biggest buck with the largest set of antlers gets to intimidate the less endowed bucks and therefore protect it’s grazing and stomping grounds at least until it loses it’s strength.

  117. 117
    garyyoung

    Bang! Bang! Kaboom! Blam! BANG! Boom! Boom! KABOOM! WHEEeeee! … Some more!

  118. 118
    ck

    IIRC, it wasn’t that they were more seaworthy, it’s that WEM had more.

    Well, there were those nice ones Canada bought from the U.K when they had their scratch and dent clearance submarine sale.

  119. 119
    crocswsocks

    Aaagh… Graph is… painful…

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