There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin
Well, there's been no reduction in the military's budget as yet. In the meantime, consider this argument from a recent article from the libertarian website antiwar.com
The total estimated cost to the American taxpayer for our current wars is $3 trillion to $4 trillion through 2020 — plus an additional $1 trillion just to pay the interest on the money borrowed to fund war. Funding war by borrowing money is one of the devices politicians have devised to pay for war, particularly for unpopular wars. This means our children must pay tomorrow for the wars we are involved in today.
In the modern era, including Word War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and our present conflicts, the United States has funded its wars through debt, taxation, or inflation, or sometimes a combination of these methods. In each case, according to a recent report by the Institute for Peace and Justice, the result has been detrimental to the economy in the long run. In each case, the burden has fallen on the American taxpayers and the private sector through increased taxes, increased costs of goods, and shortages. In short, in each case the result has been a depressed civilian economy.
The report also found that excessive military spending can displace more productive nonmilitary outlays in investments in high-tech industries, education, or infrastructure. The crowding-out effects of disproportionate government spending on military functions can affect service delivery or infrastructure development, ultimately affecting long-term growth rates. In simpler terms, the more the government borrows and spends for war, the less the private sector is able to grow and prosper.
Peace Is Profitable
The Eisenhower Study Group at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies has compiled a comprehensive study of the human, economic, social, and political costs of war. It’s available online.
Tax Day: While Millions Rush to Meet Deadline, Resisters Continue Longstanding Refusal to Fund War
People across the country are planning to protest the use of tax dollars to fund war. In dozens of communities across the country, demonstrations are planned at IRS offices, federal buildings and weapons factories to protest ongoing massive U.S. government expenditures on drones, missiles and bombs. According to a new pie chart released by the War Resisters League, 47 percent of federal taxes goes toward war in some form or the other. To protest paying for lethal weapons, some Americans are taking a stand by personally refusing to fund the military. These tax resisters are risking jail time by withholding all or a portion of their federal income taxes, and instead redirecting the money to humanitarian efforts. We speak with Ed Hedemann of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. He has redirected the federal portion of his tax bill to nonprofits and humanitarian efforts for 40 years.
ED HEDEMANN: I refuse to pay 100 percent of my federal taxes, my federal income taxes. I pay Social Security, Medicare, state and local taxes, but none of the federal income taxes. But actually, in fact, I do pay them, just not to the IRS. I take the entire amount of money and reroute it to other organizations helping to build a better world rather than helping to kill people.
AMY GOODMAN: And what has the federal government responded?
ED HEDEMANN: Routinely I get letters, threatening letters from the IRS. They look for bank accounts. They look for property that I might own to seize. They look for salaries that I might have. I go out of my way to be uncollectible. I don’t have readily accessible bank accounts. I don’t have a salary. I’m self-employed. I have had salaries in the past. And I really don’t own any significant property. Now, the IRS has gone as far as to take me into federal district court. They did that in 1999 to get me to reveal sources of my assets, because the IRS has been unable to find anything significant to collect. I refused to give this information, and that was the end of it.
AMY GOODMAN: What did the judge do?
ED HEDEMANN: I said to the judge that, "Well, I’ve already paid my taxes to other organizations, not to the IRS. I cannot pay money to help kill people." And I didn’t want to incriminate myself by giving this information to the IRS, a potential criminal investigation. The judge ignored everything except for the latter part and said that I didn’t have to give the information to the IRS because I might incriminate myself.
AMY GOODMAN: On Friday, we spoke to Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired Catholic bishop of Detroit. He’s been a leading voice for peace, justice and civil rights. He explained why he also refuses to pay his taxes.
BISHOP THOMAS GUMBLETON: I feel a good portion of those taxes goes to our war budget, which is our so-called defense budget, but it’s really a war budget. It’s the largest of any nation in the world. And years ago, Pope Paul VI said the arms race—and that’s what we are doing with our defense budget—is, in itself, an act of aggression against the poor. Using that money for weapons and strategies to use them is taking money away from the poor and causing them to starve. We should be using our natural resources and our wealth to promote development and to promote justice in the world. When you have a world where there’s such a gap between the rich and the poor, and such huge numbers suffering because of that, the church has a real responsibility to use whatever income it can bring to—I mean, our nation has a responsibility to use its income to help development happen, because that’s the basis for peace.
The fastest growing bureaucracy, and now second-largest employer in the federal government, is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The argument in this article is that not only is DHS bloated, it doesn't even have any reason for being.
Cost skyrocketing: Homeland security agencies got about $20 billion in the 2002 budget. That rose to about $60 billion (PDF) this year.
"The department is responsible for some of the least cost-effective spending in the U.S. government. It’s time to admit that creating it was a mistake."
"Given that DHS spending is motivated by such an elusive threat, it’s no surprise a lot is wasted. The grants made by DHS to states and cities to improve preparedness are notorious for being distributed with little attention to either risk or effectiveness. ... the agency has routinely refused to carry out cost-benefit analyses on expensive and burdensome new procedures, including scanning every inbound shipping container or installing full-body scanners in airports—despite being specifically asked to do so by the GAO."
DHS "heaps largesse on a range of contractors, all of whom have an interest in hyping the threat of terror to ensure the money keeps flowing."
The Case for Abolishing the DHS
by Charles Kenny for BusinessWeek Magazine, July 15 2013
$75,000 for every American household spent on Iraq and Afghanistan occupations by the U.S. military
The $2 trillion Bush borrowed to pay for the wars accounted for roughly 20 per cent of the total amount added to the US national debt between 2001 and 2012. The US “has already paid $260 billion in interest on the war debt,” andfuture interest payments would amount to trillions of dollars. The largest portion of that bill is yet to be paid.
US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to cost $6 trillion
by Sabir Shah
September 19, 2013
From Print Edition
"The NSA’s rent, charged to every taxpayer living under its web of surveillance, comes out to an exorbitant $574 per year. If this is the price the federal government is charging American taxpayers to have their own privacy invaded, then I say the NSA’s rent is too damn high."
October 28, 2013
The NSA’s Rent Is Too Damn High
By Steve H. Hanke
published by The Cato Institute