AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (3 comments)

  1. Commissary subsidies. In many cases their prices are greater than Walmart, Sam’s or Costco. In addition they have a bait and switch program where they add a 5% surcharge to all purchases. I’ve been told this is to cover bags, parking lot maintenance and store cleaning. As their prices are barely competitive, this makes them out of line. I have only found a dozen or so items that are less expensive than local stores. I won’t mention those as the savings will disappear by next trip. As I live in PR, many products are not available in the local stores. That is the only reason I shop there.

  2. Benjamin Cole

    Something serious needs to be done, in terms of efficiency, at the Pentagon. We are spending double, in real terms, that we did pre 9/11 and here AEI is suggesting we are “at risk.”

    According to the Cato Institute, “The department will spend about $633 billion in fiscal 2013, or $5,200 per U.S. household. It has 1.5 million uniformed employees and about 780,000 civilian employees.”

    That accurate enough–but buys into the idea that VA spending is not defense spending.

    This is like your local school district or police department claiming that pensions and health costs for retirees are not really part of school or police budgets. A fiction, in other words, that the most-beginning accountant would never accept, or naive citizen would accept.

    I find it bewildering that the AEI posits that VA pensions and disability payments are not part of our national defense bill—it displays an incredible lack of accounting hardnosed-ness. Or rank bias.

    So add another $152 billion to our nation’s defense bill, in VA spending. That’s another $1250 per household.

    Then we have the Department of Homeland Security. You have about $50 billion there. or another $410 per household. There is more, but you get the picture.

    We are spending $6860 per household on national defense, but AEI says it is not enough? Really?

    And that is every year and rising?

    Surely we can do a better job for much less money. Why doesn’t AEI devote some resource to blueprinting a much leaner and more efficient military that would secure our borders for…say half the current bill. You know, think of matters from the taxpayers point of view.

    The private sector occasionally goes through some real crunches. In the long run, these shake-outs are healthy.

    The federal government’s defense sector needs a hard shake-out.

  3. I completely agree with Mr. Cole. Troops counts and numbers of ships is not an accurate measure of US defense. And the missions flown by A-10 and U-2 can undoubtedly be replaced other systems, most especially drones. The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship is a ridiculous idea and a complete waste of money. Especially in view of the reality that the Marines will NEVER conduct another opposed amphibious landing. The Navy needs ships to suppress pirates and respond to natural disasters, while quietly stalking Chinese and Russian submarines. The LCS can’t do any of that. It’s merely an expensive toy that “demonstrates innovative hull technology”.

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