The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jeb Bush Said What? Increase Defense Spending?

US Debt Ceiling Visualized
What caused the US Debt? 

The answer centers around US Presidents with the latest infusion of debt from George W. Bush. OK, so you are thinking: "....tell you something you didn't already know."  You may not know the extent to which the Bush apples do not fall far from the patriarch tree. Jeb Bush has come out with one of the most insane remarks imaginable from a potential candidate for the presidency. Let's qualify use of the word "insane". Bush recently stated (paraphrased) that the US can best avoid placing our troops in harm's way via increased defense spending.

His remarks are Albert Einstein like for Americans who recall the past and who are mindful of jingoist tendencies endemic to the GOP.

History has archived the futility of GOP increases in defense spending and the deleterious impact of over-the-top defense spending.

Huffington Post is reporting regarding the first foreign policy statement from Jeb Bush since he commenced his unannounced quest for the GOP nomination in 2016. The excerpt below embodies the essence of the Bush remarks and a sentiment from HUFFPO that delineates the extent of Bush idiocy.

In his first major foreign policy address, the likely 2016 Republican front-runner will make the case for increased military spending so America can "project power and enforce peaceful stability in far-off areas of the globe." He will also criticize President Barack Obama's foreign policy, calling it "inconsistent and indecisive." 
"Having a military that is equal to any threat ... makes it less likely that we will need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way," Bush plans to tell attendees, adding that he believes "fundamentally, that weakness invites war… and strength encourages peace." 
The idea that a bigger U.S. military would act as a bigger deterrent to potential foes is one that reached its apex during the Cold War, but has been repeatedly challenged in the 21st century by the rise of global terrorism and sectarian conflicts.
Read more linked above 

Republicans are incessantly railing about "big government" and "Liberal spending." They chirp and bird sing about spending as as if mimicking duck hunters and their call-makers. They attractive votes via fear while criticizing Democrats, all the while knowing they are the real spenders. Spending that is almost exclusive to defense spending.

In January of 2013, The Center for Media and Democracy's PRWatch published a piece that sums-up the business of spending for Republicans.  
What Caused the Debt?
Council on Foreign Relations military spending chart
(Source: Council on Foreign Relations) 
In 2001, Republican President George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus but left office eight years later with the country deeply in debt. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that the Bush tax cuts -- which were ended in part earlier this month in the "fiscal cliff" or "fiscal crossroads" negotiations, only after President Barack Obama won in a landslide election over Mitt Romney -- have been major drivers of the debt. The CBO also found that the lack of tax increases to pay for discretionary defense spending, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is major driver of the debt. Yet Republicans have bitterly defended these policies while simultaneously blaming Obama for the debt crisis. 
Beyond Republican tax and military policies fueling the debt, the other factor of major consequence is the economic challenges the country has faced in the aftermath of Wall Street's crash of the economy. The 2008 crash, at the end of the Bush administration, was the result of reckless greed by Wall Street in the face of anti-regulatory policies, such as the repeal of the Depression era Glass-Steagall protections -- a repeal spearheaded in the late 1980s by Koch's CSE group and pushed into law by Republicans joined by DLC ("conservative") Democrats in the Clinton Administration. (Notably, Koch Industries also lobbied hard against post-crash Wall Street reforms that would have put better controls on derivatives.)
Read more, here 

If we take a quick look through the past 50 plus years of Defense Department Spending, we see the clear danger in Jeb Bush's statement. Increases in military spending always top-out with armed conflict. President Johnson (Democrat) spearheaded the Viet Nam Era spending, although it should be noted Eisenhower years earlier planted the seeds of tat spending with his insertion into Viet Nam. Nonetheless, the graphics point to Jeb Bush's regressive thoughts on protecting the nation.

Whenever I hear or read a Republican speak of increasing defense spending, I reflect on two sets of data that we should recall and hold at the forefront of our cognitive processes.

That stated, and stated from credible sources, take a look at how the "other side" receives reports of defense spending. You will also quickly see why Republicans use defense spending to garner votes.

Fox News does defense spending like no other news related entity.

Media Matters 2013
On the February 12 edition of America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer displayed a graph comparing the growth in the defense budgets of China, Russia, and the United States from 2007 - 2011. The chart, which assumed that sequester cuts to the U.S.'s defense budget will take effect, projected the change in these countries' defense budgets through 2015. 

Hemmer explained that, "We just wanted to give viewers at home an idea about what countries are doing over the past four years and the coming four years from here," and that for the current year on defense spending, "China goes up, Russia goes up, and the U.S. remains flat when compared to these other two countries." In the next four years, Hemmer claimed, "on the percentage they will contribute on their defense budget, China is about 300 percent increase, Russia's not too far behind, [and] the United States is not only flat, but it's trailing now as we move toward the year 2015." The graph segued into a discussion with Fox military analyst Major General Robert Scales on how cuts to the U.S. defense budget will harm our military capacity.

Fox's chart, focused exclusively on growth in defense spending across a specific period of time compared to 2004 budgets, suggests China and Russia are far out-scaling the U.S. on defense spending. But date constraints and percentage change in budgets are meaningless outside the context of actual expenditure. Hemmer conveniently disregarded the actual dollar amount the U.S. spends on defense compared to China and Russia.
GOP candidates for high office without fail use 'fear politicking' with each and every national election. Jeb Bush has stepped into full campaign mode, and it didn't take him long to layout typically tired and old school mantra about national defense: spend, spend, spend. 
Embedded image permalink
As I frequently state, conservative mantra seems asinine and ridiculous to progressives, liberals and open-minded independents. For those who are inclined to soak-up GOP mantra like a fresh hot biscuit absorbing maple syrup, comments like those of Jeb Bush welcomed and relished. "Always give the customer (Voter) what they want (to hear)...and the GOP never ever fails.  If we take the flawed defense spending mantra through its 360 degree cycle, it takes willing Americans to enact the policy.

And, sadly the aforementioned enlightened progressives, liberal and open-minded independents stay home when elections are critical to the sovereignty of the nation.

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