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June 26, 2011

Real debt sinkhole

Congress is cutting Medicare and Social Security to reduce the debt, yet we spend three times as much on national security.

More than 90 percent of the national debt is for fighting wars — past, present, and future, including debt service.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates notes problems with NATO. We pay three-fourths of its cost.

Europeans are capable of paying for their own defense. Similar situations exist for defense of South Korea and Japan, while we fight three wars.

The Defense Department has more than 5,429 military bases and 53.5 percent of the world’s naval tonnage. Costly equipment like the F-22 fighter, with its high maintenance costs, has never been used in combat.

Three-fifths of defense spending goes to private corporations. From 2008-2011, payroll taxes collected 40 percent of federal revenue. Corporate beneficiaries of war, like General Electric and big oil, pay no corporate income tax.

Social Security and Medicare pay for themselves. Is ignorance a pre-requisite for election to Congress, or have its members been bought by the military-industrial complex?

G. Ross Stephens
Professor Emeritus
Political Science and Public Administration
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Leawood

Comments

James D. Agresti

The claim that "we spend three times as much on national security" than "Medicare and Social Security" is categorically false.

In 2009, we spent

• $664 billion on national defense, or $763 billion if we include veteran's benefits:
http://www.justfacts.com/nationaldebt.asp#causes-spending

• $675 billion on Social Security:
http://www.justfacts.com/socialsecurity.asp#benefits-benefit

• $509 billion on Medicare:
See Page 10: https://www.cms.gov/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/tr2010.pdf

So in sum, we spent $1,184 billion on Medicare and Social Security, or $421 billion more than we spent on national defense and veterans' benefits.

James D. Agresti
President
Just Facts

LL

Gary...you're right! Evidently the Professor doesn't pay into Social Security & Medicare as most of us do...monies collected for these programs should NOT be included in defense spending...and money that has been spent this way should be repaid by the federal government.

Gary

I am surprised to know that Social Security and Medicare pay for themselves. I was pretty sure I have been paying into both for many years, and receiving neither.

The writer is a typical professor demeritus.

sandraberry

Yeap. In fact, did you know that Currently, many insurance companies do not allow adult children to remain on their parents' plan once they reach 19. Companies cannot do that any more. Search onilne for "Penny Health" and you can insure your kids if you are in the same boat.

 
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