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We Should Be Spending More Than 24% On National Defense

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We The People
The Constitution of the United States begins with the preamble. Most people know the "We the people" portion, but they don't think about what the rest of the preamble really says. Here is the preamble:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

According to the above statement, the whole purpose of our federal government is to do the following:

  1. establish justice
  2. insure domestic tranquility
  3. provide for the common defense
  4. promote the general welfare
  5. secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

Note this is federal, the states have their own government.

The first three are obvious and expected from a federal government. Provide courts to ensure fair justice, law enforcement for protecting rights and providing for a defense of the nation. Most would argue that number five above is starting to be eaten away. The "blessings of liberty" are not going to be passed on to our posterity, just a big giant bill which will ensure they have a really hard time remaining with any liberties at all.

Number four on the list above is the crux of the issue and the most abused of all constitutional statements. Those who will propose, pass and support any social and entitlement program, from social security to medicare to public education to health care, base all of their arguments off the fact that the constitution states it must provide for the general welfare.

However the constitution says no such thing. It says "promote the general welfare" not "provide the general welfare". There is a huge difference between promoting and providing and our founders were not stupid men. If they meant provide they would have stated such.

Therefore every single entitlement program in existence in this country is pretty much a fraud based on the willful ignoring of what the constitution states and its limitations of authority and the purpose of a federal government.

The point of all of this comes down to how the money in the fiscal 2008 federal budget was spent. As most would agree, items one through three above are surely stated as the primary reason for there even being a federal government. The fourth is currently the only thing that seems to be of any concern to our so called leaders up on Capitol Hill. Below is how the money was spent as a percentage (from the 2009 IRS Form 1040 General Instructions):


Do you see where the problem lies here? Let's break it down and look at it:

Social security, Medicare, and other retirement37%
National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs24%
Social programs20%
Physical, human and community development9%
Net interest on the debt8%
Law enforcement and general government2%

First of all I'd like to point out that these numbers are probably pretty "lazy". We've all heard the expression "close enough for government work", so I don't believe them as 100% fact, but it's all we have to work with.

Food Stamps
There is an outright deliberate lie in the numbers though and unless you're paying attention you'll overlook it. Social security, Medicare, and other retirement is surely a "Social Program". They define "Social programs" as things like Medicaid, Food Stamps and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Same thing - entitlement spending.

You can basically add those two together for my point to all of this. So 57% is spent on these "Social programs" when you roll Social Security in with Food Stamps and Medicaid.

But wait there's more!

Physical, human and community development is defined as follows:

These outlays were for agriculture; natural resources; environment; transportation; aid for elementary and secondary education and direct assistance to college students; job training; deposit insurance, commerce and housing credit, and community development; and space, energy, and general science programs.

The percentages aren't broken down for each of these under "Physical, human and community development", but those emphasized above are also surely "Social programs". So a portion of that 9% belongs under our catchall "Social Programs" category (we'll assume 4%) which would bring it from 57% to over 60% of total spending for all of fiscal year 2008.

So here is our revised spending:

Social programs60+%
National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs24%
Net interest on the debt8%
Physical, human and community development5%
Law enforcement and general government2%

Now referring back to the Constitution of the United States, do we really think that those who wrote it figured that over 60% of our spending would be on "Social Programs"? Is that what they meant when they said that the federal government should be founded to "promote the general welfare"? I don't know a reasoning person who would agree that was their intention when writing it down.

Promotion to most people means encouraging something. Encouraging kids to be put in school to better themselves. Encouraging hard work and saving. Encouraging people to obey the laws and other's rights. Not the federal government paying for it all with federal monies.

Which leads me to my first argument...

Shouldn't we be spending a little more than 24% on our national defense?

Shouldn't that number be more like 50-70%? After all without a nation we have nothing and therefore no need for a constitution nor a federal government nor fat, bloated, inefficient and wasteful social programs.

Douglas Macarthur Pipe
What?!? Some would say: "You're just a warmongering fool who wants to increase military spending by three fold! You must want to attack a few more countries, maybe even start a global war!"

Far from warmongering. National defense is not just offensive military, it also includes things like border security and interior enforcement, the national guard and coast guard. It ensures safety of citizens and defends the nation and their rights.

I am arguing to reduce spending, starting with the unconstitutional portions.

Let's be real meanies here and start by totally eliminating all "social program" spending. After all, we all hate children and the elderly right? So let's be real vicious! If we totally cut "Social Programs" spending out of the budget the new spending percentages would adjust along these lines:

National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs60%
Net interest on the debt20%
Physical, human and community development12.5%
Law enforcement and general government5%

Whoa, what just happened there! Our net interest on the debt went up from 8% to 20%. But remember these are percentages. It is still the same amount of money being spent. Here is the difference however.

Total income for FY 2008 was $2.524 trillion.
Total outlays were $2.983 trillion.
We had a $459 billion deficit. In other words, we spent more than we took in.

How much did all of those social programs cost us at 60% of our outlays for FY 2008?

$1.789 Trillion

Cutting that out means our total outlays would have only been $1.194 trillion total. Meaning we would have had a $1.33 trillion dollar surplus per year and still had the same military and national defense we currently have.

We could even slowly wipe out our national debt which currently stands at over $12 trillion and cut out that 20% we're spending on interest each year.

Or instead we could send each person in America - all 287 million of them (if you remove the 20 million illegal aliens from the official 307 million number), including every single child in America, $4,478 dollars per year. A family of 4 would receive $17,912 per year. Plenty of money to send both kids to a pretty damn good private school instead of that thug ridden public school down the street that they go to "for free".

But what about social security?

Social Security Advertisement
The average social security payment is $1,163.60 per month (SSA). Some get more, some get less, but that is the average. 49.7 million people are receiving Social Security. Which totals $694 billion per year.

Instead of the above scenario of giving each man, woman and child $4,478 dollars per year maybe we could take a different tack in order not to screw those currently on Social Security. We could continue giving those people on Social Security their money. We deduct that from our $1.33 trillion surplus first

$1.33 trillion dollar surplus - $694 billion SS payments = $636 billion surplus

The CIA world factbook breaks down the demographic population of the United States by age as follows:

0-14 years: 20.2%
15-64 years: 67%
65 years and over: 12.8% (2009 est.)

If we divided up the remaining surplus of $636 billion among only those 15-64 (192 million people) we would be able to give each $3,307 per year. In addition the government could send along with the payments a little book called "Promoting the general welfare" and in it they could tell people to put this in retirement or send their kids to school, because the government is getting back to its roots and they aren't paying for the crappy services they give you anymore. You'll have to settle for getting some good service from a private company that works to actually provide actual service so you don't go to their competitors.

In the end all of that money is taxpayer money anyway. It should never have been taken out of your pay in the first place for "Social Programs". So don't be fooled into thinking the government is doing you any kind of favors. In time the government could actually reduce taxes rather than sending you a check each year (yeah right!).

The point of all of this is that the federal government never should have been in the business of providing the general welfare. Just looking at the numbers above should tell you outright that it has become an albatross around the Constitution's neck - and therefore its citizens as well.

Congress members should not be saying who gets what amount and why. They should not be telling a working person that they have to pay the federal government "taxes" so that those same monies can then be given to a chosen few.

The federal government should only be promoting the general welfare. National defense should be our only top expenditure now and in the future and it is an absolute travesty that it has fallen to where it only represents 24% of our concern.

If you have thoughts of your own I'd like to hear them below. Most of my conclusions have come from simply looking at the numbers and using a common sense and very simplistic "first thoughts" approach. I do realize that it is a complex issue and I realize I skipped over health care and other issues, but that was not the purpose of this article.

The purpose was to point out how far away from the simplicity of the constitution we have strayed. It stated 5 general purposes for even having a United States and a federal government. From that we have devolved into 60% of taxpayer monies being routed into a fabricated social program system that the constitution never stated, endorsed or mentioned and in the process minimized our actual defense of our nation and well-being to less than 1/4th of our concern.

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Posted by Digger on January 5, 2010 07:03 AM (Permalink)

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I'm willing to bet congress hasn't seen this article.

Posted by: rjjrdq on January 5, 2010 09:04 PM

The constitution also mentions liberty. Taxation denies liberty as it requires longer hours to pay the taxes (especially social programs which steal to pay for the poor).

Posted by: Kenneth E. Pope on January 6, 2010 10:03 AM

So you are promoting increase in power of the military complex and you recon that would make our freedom guaranteed by the Constitution more secure. I personally have no problem to see where you are coming from. I hope you did watch the famous but never the less
hypocritical speech of our president Dwight Eisenhower about the potential danger of ever increasing power of the military complex. Have you ever thought what constitutes the real welt of the society? What about people of Afghanistan? One of the poorest nations in the world wining a war against the best trained and armed armies of the world. Unfortunately your reasoning is flawed and detached from the factual reality. Why do we call common sense common when it is so scarce.

Posted by: Dave on January 14, 2010 04:16 AM

So you are promoting increase in power of the military complex

You did not get my point. It is that the defense of our country should be a larger percentage of our spending. I'm not saying spending more, I'm pointing out that "other services" that our government has no business in being involved in to sustain our nation have pushed the amount we spend on defense to such a low percentage that it is quite disgusting - seeing as though national defense should be top priority.

I am not calling for an increase in the military complex.

Posted by: Digger on January 14, 2010 03:14 PM

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