Opinion: The US Military Is Bankrupting the Country

Walter Rhein

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Politicians keep talking about cutting Social Security. They often falsely claim that it’s an “entitlement.”

“Social Security and Medicare, if you qualify for the entitlement, you just get it no matter what the cost,” Johnson said in an interview that aired Tuesday on “The Regular Joe Show” podcast—Ron Johnson suggests Medicare, Social Security be approved on annual basis

It’s odd how Republicans can revere Ronald Reagan and forget his words on the subject of Social Security.

Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security Trust Fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or growing the deficit—Ronald Reagan: 'Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit'

When people like Ron Johnson talk about changing Social Security, they never seem to mention the payroll tax that we pay. Instead, they always talk about cutting the benefits we receive from our money.

Why aren’t more people angry about this?

If you want to cut “entitlements” why don’t you start with the inflated military budget?

The United States spends a great deal of money on defense compared to other countries. US military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021, a drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020. The US military burden decreased slightly from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 3.5 per cent in 2021. This comprised 38% of the year’s total military spending worldwide—US Military Budget 2022: How Much Does the U.S. Spend on Defense?

Everybody knows that the government cannot run anything efficiently.

There are few who will disagree with the fact that, in recent years, the governmental bureaucracy has grown dramatically while its effi­ciency has deteriorated in an equal­ly dramatic manner—The Inherent Inefficiency of Government Bureaucracy

If we understand that government is inherently inefficient, we should be dedicated to cutting costs in the military budget. Who pays for every single military expense? The hardworking taxpayers pay for it.

The problem we have in the United States is that a lot of states rely on military funding. That’s socialism! That’s an entitlement! We need to stop handing out taxpayer money like it’s free and make these states contribute to the GDP like everyone else.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar recently visited a number of Texas military installations to announce the results of a new study that quantifies the economic benefits Texas derives from the presence of these facilities in our state—Military Installations Worth Billions for Texas

It’s a problem to have an endless source of government military money because it disrupts the natural functioning of the free market. How are private businesses supposed to offer competitive salaries to the best people? The military budget artificially drives up prices because it represents an influx of money that’s not tethered to market performance.

The United States needs to radically reduce its dependency on military funding. Companies love to win cushy government contracts, and the taxpayers end up footing the bill. Handing out all this free money has a devastating effect on our economy.

If you want to talk about entitlements, you need to forget about Social Security and focus on the military. Let’s do our best to limit government inefficiency by reducing the nation’s dependence on free military money. It’s not free, you’re paying for it.

Think about that the next time you drive past a military base. Instead of thanking soldiers for their service, maybe they should be thanking us for all the taxpayer dollars they gobble up.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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