The Truth About Defense Spending that Republicans Don’t Want Their Supporters Thinking About

There are many ways I could go about exposing the ignorance and stupidity that lies at the heart of so many things Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and those who support them believe. From their denial of climate change, to their belief that giving rich people more money helps the middle class, many of the key ideological talking points of the party are nothing but bumper sticker fodder used to manipulate those triggered by easy-to-remember propaganda.

Take their stance on defense spending, for instance. We currently spend around $604.5 billion per year on defense. Not millions — but billions. That’s more than the next twelve countries combined. By the way, 10 of those 12 nations are allies, with China and Russia being the only two who aren’t. However, even if you combined both of their defense budgets, we still spend about $400 billion more per year than they do.

Despite the reality that we spend that much on defense, for years Republicans have insisted that our military has grown weak. Naturally, they blamed this all on President Obama even though, clearly, we still spent trillions on defense during his eight years in office.

Nevertheless, Trump has promised to increase defense spending to “rebuild our military” (whatever the hell that means) and wants to improve our nuclear capabilities. Apparently, having enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet several times over isn’t adequate “firepower.”

So, Trump recently proposed increasing our defense spending by $54 billion, or right around 10 percent. Some Republicans have insisted that isn’t even enough.

This all comes on the heels of pushes by Trump and the GOP to slash spending and federal hiring freezes that are already hurting military families. As always, Republicans have no problem spending more on war, even if they have to rip money away from the poor and middle class to do it.

Fortunately for Republicans, they’re supported by many folks who don’t like to think for themselves. Because to rational people, none of this makes sense.

First, it’s ridiculous that we spend that much on defense. Let alone for us to be spending that obscene amount of money, only to have Republicans claiming that our military is weak and ill-equipped.

Here’s the harsh truth Republicans definitely don’t want their supporters to think about when it comes to defense spending: If we can’t defeat or deter any enemy we may face by spending more than $400 billion more per year than our next closest rival (China), then what the heck is another $54 billion going to accomplish?

Look, I’m a huge supporter of our military, those serving our country, our veterans, and our place as the nation with the most powerful military humankind has ever seen. But if our enemies can still pose serious threats to defeat us despite spending a fraction of what we do on defense, then we’re doing something very… very wrong.

This is not, in any way, a slight on our military. But it’s ridiculous for a nation to spend as much as we do on defense, while Republicans claim we need to spend even more, when we’re spending more than the next twelve nations combined.

Let me put it another way: Donald Trump’s proposed $54 billion increase is nearly as much as Russia spends — total ($58.9 billion).

Basic common sense tells us that if countries like China or Russia are still that much of a military threat to us despite spending a fraction of what we do, then we’re doing something really wrong.

I get that being an “overwhelming military power” is meant to serve, not only as a deterrent, but to also give us a huge advantage over any enemy we might face. But that still doesn’t explain why we need to spend that much more on defense than the next twelve countries combined. Even if we spent $400 billion per year, that’s more than twice as much as China.

Keep in mind that this is what we spend per year.

Hypothetically, let’s say we spent $600 billion per year on defense over the next five years, while China and Russia spend $150 and $60 billion, respectively, over that same five-year span. Here’s how it would break down:

  • United States: $600 billion x 5 = $3 trillion
  • China: $150 billion x 5 = $750 billion
  • Russia: $60 billion x 5 = $300 billion

See how ridiculous this is?

If we can’t build an adequate military that’s substantially more powerful than any other military on the planet by spending that much more on defense than our two closest adversaries, then we’re doing something terribly wrong, and another $54 billion per year damn sure isn’t going to fix it.

Based upon simple math, if we’re not powerful enough to be everything these war-loving Republicans want us to be, despite how much more we’re spending on defense than every other nation on Earth, then money clearly isn’t the issue with whatever it is they claim is wrong with our military.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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