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Discussion: (17 comments)

  1. re: “Euro-like”

    not hardly. not when the next 10 countries behind us – combined do not match our “defense” outlays which look like this:

    National Security Outlays in Fiscal Year 2009
    (billions of dollars)
    Department of Defense 636.5
    Department of Energy (nuclear weapons & environ. cleanup) 16.7
    Department of State (plus intern. assistance) 36.3
    Department of Veterans Affairs 95.5
    Department of Homeland Security 51.7
    Department of the Treasury (for Military Retirement Fund) 54.9
    National Aeronautics & Space Administration (1/2 of total) 9.6
    Net interest attributable to past debt-financed defense outlays 126.3
    Total 1,027.5

    Our total available revenues from individual and corporate income taxes these days is about 1.3T.

    the real question is a two-fer:

    1. – do we want to pay for the “Defense” we say we need?

    2. – how much should we be paying for “defense” in the first place?

    to this point, we do not seem to have a number ….just “whatever it takes”.

    It’s hard to believe that we now spend basically twice as much on Defense as we did in 2000 – when we DID have a balanced budget AND we cannot even cut it by 5% without dealing a death blow to “Defense”?

    The GOP Congressmen are correct when they say we have a “spending problem” but they refuse to deal with the reality as to why.. and engage in truly delusional thinking that cutting entitlements alone will fix the spending problem.

    1. “It’s hard to believe that we now spend basically twice as much on Defense as we did in 2000 – when we DID have a balanced budget AND we cannot even cut it by 5% without dealing a death blow to “Defense”?”

      Yeah, I know, Larry. Your hero Obama is a good example:

      “Lately, some people have been saying, ‘Well, maybe we’ll just give the president some flexibility. He could make the cuts the way he wants, and that way it won’t be as damaging,’” Obama said.

      “The problem is when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10 percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there’s no smart way to do that,” he said. “You don’t want to have to choose between, let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid or the poor kid? Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?”

      http://hotair.com/archives/2013/02/27/inhofe-toomey-hey-why-dont-we-give-obama-some-flexibility-on-sequestration/

      In other words, he wants to cut NOTHING. Not even if the Congress lets him pick and choose.

      “The GOP Congressmen are correct when they say we have a “spending problem” but they refuse to deal with the reality as to why.. ”

      Look in the mirror, Larry. Blind, obedient Obama voters like you are the main problem.

      1. everyone is going to have to take a haircut here – entitlements and defense AND we have to decide if we are willing to pay for as much defense we say we need.

        Obama did not double the Defense budget, it was doubled when he got into office.

        The POTUS does not make cuts nor does he spend. He can only do what the Congress approves.

        that’s the reality.

        you could say that Obama is not “leading” because he is not advocating what you want but he can’t cut the spending – only Congress can.

        1. “Obama did not double the Defense budget, it was doubled when he got into office.”

          Oh, but according to you it wouldn’t matter anyway since he’s just a chair warmer in the Oval Office. It’s not like he has any ability to influence budgets via veto threats or submit his own budget plans.

          Too bad you aren’t a Washington consultant, Larry. You could have advised Boehner he was wasting his time negotiating with Obama during the past few years. You could have warned Obama his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term was foolish because he’s just a figurehead.

          God, you’re pathetic. Your hero is going into histrionics over a pipsqueak reduction of a spending increase, a reduction you supported until he told you it was bad(after supporting it originally himself) and you can only find fault with the GOP.

          1. If Congress could agree between the two houses – then Obama would be in the veto position and much weaker but the Congress itself cannot agree.

            Hey Paul , I’m all for balancing the budget guy. I just don’t think you can do it by only cutting entitlements and not getting more revenues and cutting DOD.

          2. “If Congress could agree between the two houses – then Obama would be in the veto position and much weaker but the Congress itself cannot agree.”

            Not agree? Harry Reid hasn’t submitted a budget for reconciliation since before the Ipad came out.

            As I’ve said before, even you don’t believe your own bullshit. You were lecturing us for the past yr how Obama supported the sequester. Why would that matter if he’s just a passive observer who merely signs the checks?

            “Hey Paul , I’m all for balancing the budget guy.”

            And yet you support Obama. Simply mind boggling.

            “I just don’t think you can do it by only cutting entitlements and not getting more revenues and cutting DOD.”

            We already raised taxes. We are cutting defense. Time for you greedy geezers to get yours.

          3. re: ” Not agree? Harry Reid hasn’t submitted a budget for reconciliation since before the Ipad came out.”

            very true – but every year he didn’t, the GOP STILL VOTED to CONTINUE deficit spending in the CRs.

            “As I’ve said before, even you don’t believe your own bullshit. You were lecturing us for the past yr how Obama supported the sequester. Why would that matter if he’s just a passive observer who merely signs the checks?”

            he DID suggest the sequester but it took the GOP to approve it.. eh?

            ““Hey Paul , I’m all for balancing the budget guy.”

            And yet you support Obama. Simply mind boggling.”

            who cares about Obama.. he don’t get to cut anyhow, only Congress can do that – no matter what Obama wants.

            ““I just don’t think you can do it by only cutting entitlements and not getting more revenues and cutting DOD.”

            We already raised taxes. We are cutting defense. Time for you greedy geezers to get yours.”

            we did but look at the reality. We take in 1.3T in taxes and we are spending more than a Trillion on “defense” alone plus another Trillion+ on entitlements + another 1/2T on the rest.

            I’m fine with a real plan to get balance but the looney tune ideas of using FICA are …well they’re loony and cutting entitlements won’t get you a balanced budget unless you also cut more Defense and perhaps get more revenues.

            I just don’t believe some folks are really serious. they just want to play blame games then run away and hide when the real numbers come calling.

    2. Your numbers breakdown seem a little arguable (especially adding the interest to past debt, that’s a US Congress obligation in total) and I don’t know if you add all those departments into the 2000 figure.

      But, yes, we could cut defense in some aspects…espcially with DHS and some weapons programs that clearly aren’t working (F-35).

      What I don’t get is how you can say entitlement spending is delusional? The US budget is 3.7 Trillion dollars. The US Government brings in 2.3 Trillion in taxes. Entitlement spending + interest on debt (All “Mandatory Spending”) currently exceeds (or is equal to) the total tax revenue of the US Federal Government. How is this delusional?

      1. I don’t think cutting entitlements is delusional. I think believing that cutting ONLY entitlements will balance the budget – is delusional.

        if we are actually serious about balancing the budget, it’s going to take much, much more than cutting just entitlements.

        The US budget IS 3.7 but that includes FICA/SS which are dedicated revenues.

        Subtract out the FICA taxes and the SS spending and what you are left with is about 1.3T in individual and corporate income taxes to actually spend on non-FICA entitlements and Defense.

        here’s Defense:

        National Security Outlays in Fiscal Year 2009
        (billions of dollars)
        Department of Defense 636.5
        Department of Energy (nuclear weapons & environ. cleanup) 16.7
        Department of State (plus intern. assistance) 36.3
        Department of Veterans Affairs 95.5
        Department of Homeland Security 51.7
        Department of the Treasury (for Military Retirement Fund) 54.9
        National Aeronautics & Space Administration (1/2 of total) 9.6
        Net interest attributable to past debt-financed defense outlays 126.3
        Total 1,027.5

        what do you want to do?

        1. Well, I don’t know why you re-posted your original post again…I can still see it. And as I said, I find the numbers subject to debate as “defense spending”.

          Here’s the thing. No one I know of is saying they ONLY want to cut entitlement spending. What I hear a lot is that you need to INCLUDE entitlement spending (considering they make up 62% of the total budget).

          Now, I’ll go with you and say the 1.3 Trillion of non-FICA/SS taxing is true (only because I haven’t double checked). That would mean we have 1.0 Trillion in FICA/SS taxes to pay for 2.4 Trillion in entitlement outlays. Considering that that leads directly to a deficit nearly equal to the US government deficit of 1.3 Trillion a year, it kind of disproves your point that it can’t be done.

          That being said, I’d like to see a lot of cutting of the rest of the Federal Government, but I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if we maintained a stronger military (minus inefficiencies) considering we’re facing a near future with a nuclear Iran and North Korea.

          1. re: ” And as I said, I find the numbers subject to debate as “defense spending”.”

            they’re not entitlements, right? or some might be but they’re military.

            re: ” That would mean we have 1.0 Trillion in FICA/SS taxes to pay for 2.4 Trillion in entitlement outlays. ”

            no. just subtract FICA AND SS from the totals and what you are left with is general revenues and what we spend them on – to include entitlements that are not SS.

            FICA is about 865 billion. It is spent on SS, Medicare Part A and Disability.

            Medicare Parts B,C,D, MedicAid, and other entitlements come from general revenues to the tune of 1-1.5T.

            the defense spending number I gave is a true number. Most people do not consider money spent on Defense is much more than just DOD.

            and the number I gave you is conservative because there are a crap-load of govt civilian employees working on DOD AND non-DOD National Defense such as NASA, Homeland Security and the Dept of Energy which makes nuke weapons and ship reactors for aircraft carriers.

            Look at the real numbers both entitlements, DOD, National Defense, and the rest of govt and you DO get 3.5T but take out the 865b for SS/MedA and you get 2.7T which is about 1.2T more than we take in – in taxes and constitutes the deficit.

            Once you look at these real numbers – you start to realize that cutting entitlements is not going to balance the budget – not even close.

            so my question is – if we are serious about this – then how will we balance?

            I do not see how we do it unless we make cuts to entitlements and National Defense AND increase tax revenues.

            so how serious are people who say we have a spending problem and need to balance the budget when they say we can do it with cuts to entitlements only?

          2. Well Larry, I dont know how you’re figuring your numbers. You do realize that people consider Medicare an entitlement right? You keep slicing it out of the entitlement side and discuss SS by itself. If you’re advocating reducing Medicare payments, I’m in agreement. The program needs restructured and it’s a major driver of the debt.

            Also, the revenue from FICA is indeed about $865 Billion, but half of that is from it’s “Trust Fund” which is on loan to the Federal Government and costs the general budget about $200 Billion to cover.

            Also, since you included Dept of Veteran’s Affairs in the DOD budget…why is the budget 2 times larger than it was in 2005 when the US was engaged in 2 active wars? It deals with Veterans when they come home and I wouldn’t consider that a defense budget. It’s also grown by 52% since 2008. And yes, It could be up for some cuts.

          3. Medicare Part A comes from FICA – you can consider it a “prepaid” entitlement like SS is as neither of them are paid from general revenues.

            Medicare Parts B,C,D are 75% taxpayer subsidized with 25% coming from premiums. About 250 billion dollars goes to pay for Medicare. Needs to have premiums increased for those who make 70K and over in income. Does not need to be wiped out. One of the primary problems with Medicare is Part C which basically wipes out the 20% co-pay in original Medicare -that had all seniors have some skin in the game and that meant when they got knee replacements at 20K – 4K was their cost. With PartC, almost all of it is “covered”.

            re: the trust fund. The Trust fund is like all Trust funds in the govt – it’s not unique and everything that went into the trust fund was paid for from FICA taxes – not general revenues. Now it is owed back just like the money we owe to people who buy T- notes. It’s an honest debt the country owes back for the FICA money it spent.

            but tell me this – tell me right now – how much of the 1.5T deficit is due to paying the trust fund back to SS?
            Why does it need to have anything at all done to it right now ?

            re: the bigger budget… actually it’s twice what it was in 2000 when we had a balanced budget.

            what happened? We not only got into two wars, but then we formed Homeland Security, doubled the DOD budget from 2000-2008 and threw in Medicare Part D on top of it – We also got taxes – then the economy tanked dropping revenues even more.

            Almost all of this occurred BEFORE 2009.

            re: veterans, military pensions, health care, etc

            if you do not consider these “defense” what do you consider them?

            would we have these expenses if we did not hire them for “defense” to start with?

            the thing about “defense” is that it not only costs in the active duty part – it also costs in the retirement part.

            and did you know that DOD employees – both military and civilian receive social security and Medicare also?

            here’s what I’m saying. That we need to be honest about what the spending really is.

            We cannot pretend that only “entitlements” is the spending.

            so do you consider health care, pensions, SS, Medicare for retired military and DOD civilians NOT military spending?

            would you include their entitlements in the main category of entitlements that you say need to be cut?

  2. Crispian

    Compare the growth of entitlements over that same period – of course defense spending becomes a smaller percentage of GDP!

    1. nether defense spending nor entitlements should be calculated as a percent of GDP for actual budget purposes.

      they both should be calculated according to what the actual available revenues are.

      and right now – the actual available revenues are about 1.3T in individual and corporate income taxes.

      that’s the money you actually have to work with and that’s the reality that we have to deal with.

      1. “that’s the money you actually have to work with and that’s the reality that we have to deal with.”

        Once again, you’re short by around a trillion. We also have the money that is taken out of my paycheck to pay for your entitlements. No reason why we can’t raise SS taxes, cut Medicare, privatize it, whatever.
        You spent your life voting for the big spending morons who got us into this mess, Larry. You might have to share in the sacrifice just like the rest of us. Walmart is always hiring greeters.

        1. Paul – in the current discussion about budget what is the chance that FICA will be used to pay for something other than SS?

          re: voting for big time spending…

          well, let’see.. we had a balanced budget in 2000 and I voted against the Bush idiot… and he then proceeded to agree with Congress to blow up the budget, by doubling spending not only on DOD but Medicare, cut taxes, and then supported the TARP ans stimulus when the economy blew up.

          nope.. last time I checked I voted against Big time spender BUSH twice.

          and Paul .. I do not get SS guy.

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