Congress, with its insatiable appetite for spending, is set to pass yet another “supplemental” appropriations bill in the next two weeks. So-called supplemental bills allow Congress to spend beyond even the 13 annual appropriations bills that fund the federal government. These are akin to a family that consistently outspends its budget, and therefore needs to use a credit card to make it through the end of the month.
If the American people want Congress to spend less, putting an end to supplemental appropriations bills would be a start. The 13 “regular” appropriations bills fund every branch, department, agency, and program of the federal government. Congress should place every dollar in plain view among those 13 bills. Instead, supplemental spending bills serve as a sneaky way for Congress to spend extra money that was not projected in budget forecasts. Once rare, they have become commonplace vehicles for deficit spending.
The latest supplemental bill is touted as an “emergency” war spending bill, needed to fund our ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The emergencies never seem to end, however, and Congress passes one military supplemental bill after another as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on.
Many of my colleagues argue that Congress cannot put a price on our sacred national security, and I agree that the strong, unequivocal defense of our country is a top priority. There comes a time, however, when we must take stock of what our blank checks to the military industrial complex accomplish for us, and where the true threats to American citizens lie.
The smokescreen debate over earmarks demonstrates how we have lost perspective when it comes to military spending. Earmarks constitute about $11 billion of the latest budget. This sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the $708 billion spent by the Pentagon this year to expand our worldwide military presence. The total expenditures to maintain our world empire is approximately $1 trillion annually, which is roughly what the entire federal budget was in 1990!
We spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined, and far more than we spent during the Cold War. These expenditures in many cases foment resentment that does not make us safer, but instead makes us a target. We referee and arm conflicts the world over, and have troops in some 140 countries with over 700 military bases.
With this enormous amount of money and energy spent on efforts that have nothing to do with the security of the United States, when the time comes to defend American soil, we will be too involved in other adventures to do so.
There is nothing conservative about spending money we don’t have simply because that spending is for defense. No enemy can harm us in the way we are harming ourselves, namely bankrupting the nation and destroying our own currency. The former Soviet Union did not implode because it was attacked; it imploded because it was broke. We cannot improve our economy if we refuse to examine all major outlays, including so-called defense spending.
May 24, 2010 12:51 PM
And I always thought that Republicans were the war
hawks! Except Dwight Eisenhower, from the military, who warned us about the
industrial/military complex, and you, a fellow Libertarian.
Keep up the good work! Please!
Comment by Ken Hamilton
MMay 24, 2010 12:54 PM
Excellent points, Representative Paul. Well said, sir, well said.
Comment by Wolfgang Peter May
MMay 24, 2010 01:10 PM
140 countries and over 700 military bases. Now all countries, whether they wish us well or ill, are entirely certain that our "leadership" is utterly insane!!
Comment by Ed Magowan
MMay 24, 2010 01:11 PM
Our system is beyond the point of fixing, it must collapse in order to be rebuilt. Unfortunately the god and guns crowd will grab power and turn us into a nuclear armed theocracy. We're screwed.
Comment by Jim Stutz
May 24, 2010 01:19 PM
I have long been in agreement with Dr. Paul on this
Why, 65 years after WWII, do we still have troops in Germany, Italy & Japan? They have strong economies and can certainly afford to defend themselves.
Again, what is the need for the US to continue defending South Korea? They enjoy a booming economy and should step up to the plate & defend themselves against the tinpot dictator to their North.
Is our world wide military presence supposed to be an extension of our foreign policy?br />
I seriously doubt that many Americans really care to stay in Iraq any longer. We have spent & sacrificed too much for this illegal war.
Comment by Donna
May 24, 2010 01:32 PM
The traitors in Washington will never mend their
ways nor give up the Empire that gives them the power to steal from the entire
earth. The US government is a truly despicable international organized crime
syndicate. I highly recommend the following article, " Time to Get Serious About
Secession" by Wilton Strickland at Secession News.
Comment by Joe L'Amarca
May 24, 2010 01:34 PM
We the global Population have a time limit on this
planet , therefore we need to wake up and get matters taken care of .
Some constituents are slowing the process of revolt down ,soon there will be more prostitutes on Earth then people .
In fact I am begeining to feel like a frog thats slowly being cooked Thank you
Comment by Louie Pastor
May 24, 2010 02:36 PM
President Eisenhower warned us about the Military Industrial Complex. He was a President, Five Star General and a patriot. Just like you Congressman/Dr. Paul, he was not listened to and see here it has gotten us? I tell you I think our "leaders" (and I gag on that expression), are really working towards the complete failure of this country.
Comment by Bob Mandernack
May 24, 2010 03:23 PM
I can see nothing wrong with shutting down all the military bases we have in every country in the world and bringing home those men to patrol our borders and harbors full of containers full of who knows what. It would cost far less to keep them here than where they are now and the help to us is unmeasureable.
Comment by Sandra
May 24, 2010 05:08 PM
Our country is now in the throws of the Fourth Reich. Buckle up and be prepared to fight back the new Hitler regime. Let's start with the top bankers: The Rothschild banking family, the Rockefellers, the Morgans, the Warburgs, etc. Then move on to the top industrial corporations and their political minions. Time to flush out these Nazis and lock them all up for Treason.
Comment by Frank Pelteson
May 24, 2010 12:42 PM
I don't know why it is still called "Defense
I think it should be called "New World Order Nation-Building Spending."
Comment by Holly Marcyoniak
May 24, 2010 12:56 PM
GOD BLESS FOR SINCERELY CARING ABOUT OUR COUNTRY !
SOETORO/OBAMA DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME FEELINGS & HIS GOALS
ARE 360 DEGREES OPPOSITE. WHAT IS STILL DOING OUR WHITE HOUSE???
Comment by D A Mihelic
May 24, 2010 01:06 PM
As a former Navy pilot I enjoy watching the
Military channel. A recent airing covered the air wars in different conflicts.
Long story short, we experienced difficulties executing the air war in Vietnam with the Air Force and Navy. There were two different response. The Air Force spent a great deal of money to improve armament and weaponry. The Navy rigorously trained their pilots to be effective with the weapons in current use. The result was Top Gun. Navy loss rates in the Vietnam air war dropped sharply while Air Force losses remained the same.
A former employee, now an Air Force Lt. Col., very recently told me the Air Force continues to approach war by spending ever more money on more exotic and very expensive weapons.
Will we ever learn? Every great civilization that tried to maintain the empire status that we now enjoy failed. History can teach us, will we listen?
Comment by David Whittenbarger
May 24, 2010 01:25 PM
God has turned our Federal Government over to a reprobate mind. Meaning, since they no longer are concerned with God's word or wisdom and therefore grope in the dark blindly. Trying to do what they perceive in their self-placed blindness, is best for this nation but can only achieve the opposite. They continue to hurt, destroy, and diminish all that was once good and just and prosperous for America. They cannot see their way clear enough to realize their own foolishness so like a dog returning to its own vomit, they make the same mistakes over and over. Serving the works of Satan rather than walking in the light of Christ. For years were have listened to and watched the irresposible and the illogical continue in Washington and have wondered "why!" Absence from the light of Christ creates this state of chaos. We call it liberaslism.
Comment by Ed
May 24, 2010 02:26 PM
It is one emergency after another so they can slip in their self-serving private agendas. Pretty sickening actually. We're broke but we pick up spending, hello Greece and 3rd world status. The next generation will be the first to have it worse than the preceding generation. Keep standing up for what's right Dr. Paul. Anger is growing nationwide against these inane policies and the paid shills called our government representatives.
Comment by FrankG
May 24, 2010 04:02 PM
The fact is that no one or group wants to willingly change. Change is scary and Unc' Sam is spending head over heels trying to maintain the statis quo. Which may look good now, but makes for a bleak future.
Comment by Larry McCulloch
May 24, 2010 01:37 PM
If the majority of personnel from bases all over the world were brought back to serve our country in the USA it would boost our local economies tremendously. Military occupation is what some countries depend on to boost their economies. One example is Germany. If all the bases were closed there the german economy would crumble!
Comment by Tom
May 24, 2010 02:12 PM
Interesting thought, Ed, but the truth is, they can't grab power unless we let them. Bottom line is the country is in the state it is because the citizens were derelict of duty, not because the Government grabbed power. The ballot box has always served as "term limits" for any politician that wasn't worth keeping, but we can't be bothered to exercise the power the forefathers gave us. No, we need to text and talk on our cells, sit before the "great American wasteland" and let the talking heads do our thinking. No group of people can be subjugated as easily as the ignorant, and we've spent the last 50 years on an education system that has turned intelligent people into ignoramuses. If you are looking to point fingers, start by looking in the mirror.
Comment by Rickg
May 24, 2010 02:20 PM
People are beginning to realize that you just may have a point: no one can harm us as much as we harm ourseves. We will be broke and bankrupt long before any enemy lays a hand on us.
Comment by Zman
May 24, 2010 02:22 PM
While I completely disagree with you on feeding the conspiracy thoughts of some of the tin-foil hats on your blog, I am in utter agreement about your spending premises. These "supplemental" bills are garbage and filling them with earmarks is even worse. The Fed Govt must do a better job in controlling and budgeting spending AND keeping all spending bills within the parameters of the bill titles rather then BRIBING Reps with earmarks......
Comment by Sherwin Borden
May 24, 2010 03:18 PM
The real invasion of America is pouring north across the Rio Grande. Our 46,000 troops in Germany belong here in the USA. I understand WW II ended 64 years ago. Those guys in DC are absolute nuts.
Comment by william kinter
May 24, 2010 03:19 PM
if you could make a list of which congress member are always voting for increasing supplemental maybe we can get them out of office. your next straight talk letter should help us know who to get out.the sooner they are gone the better ? i hope for all of us
Comment by David
May 24, 2010 04:00 PM
Just like the Soviet Union, perhaps the time has come for the USA to also implode, leaving the 50 independent states to carry on without the burden of the federal government.
Comment by Artie
May 24, 2010 07:29 PM
We need to take care of people here in the U.S.A.We are in debit,but no-one in Washington will tell the people we are in debit
Comment by Camden McConnell
May 24, 2010 12:47 PM
The question is, how many Americans would voluntarily contribute to a fund being raised to send an armed force to Iraq to kill Arabs?
Comment by Bruce
May 24, 2010 12:50 PM
Keep telling the story Dr. Paul. More and more of us are waking up every day!
Comment by Robert
May 24, 2010 12:56 PM
You are absolutely correct again!
Comment by Mark Darby
May 24, 2010 12:59 PM
Thank you, Dr. Paul, for pointing out the trees
while everyone is trying to focus on the woods. A car never crashes into "the
woods", but many have crashed into a tree.
As our economy careens off the road, it's not the twigs and bushes that will kill us, rather it is one of those 3 or 4 big trees that will do us in. Those big trees are: defense spending, social security, medicare and medicaid.
If we don't do something to steer our economy away from those big trees, and do it soon, we are doomed.
Comment by jean Faurisson
May 24, 2010 02:19 PM
65 years after WW II Germany has no peace treaty. It's greatest military base is American and Germans must ask permission to Americans in order to carry out exercising their troops.Germany has no constitution voted by it's citizens but only a "basic law" (grungesetz) bestowed by the Allies. Shameful status due to lies, lies, lies e.g. those at Nüremberg trials. USA repent ! May good Americans prevail lest all will burn in the fire of Hell !
Comment by Patrick
May 24, 2010 03:15 PM
Your words are a relief in a time of growing state
We no longer can accept the leviathan power to steal and kidnappe us.
But as bad as the situation is in USA, it is far worse here in Brasil, with former-comunist terrorists in power.
Thank you for your work Dr.Paul
Comment by Andrew L. Carney
May 24, 2010 04:16 PM
Open ended spending means the destruction of order, fairness and freedom. It also applies to healthcare,illegals and education. Keep up the fight. We need to stop foreign aid and bring our troops home.
Comment by Scott Thurston
May 24, 2010 05:39 PM
"We must make our election between economy and
liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must
be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessities and our comforts, in
our labors and our amusements,...our people...must come to labor sixteen hours
in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to government,...and
have no time to think, no means to call the mismanagers to account; but to be
glad to obtain sustenance by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks
of our fellow sufferers...And this is the tendency of all human governments; a
departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that
second for a third, and so on 'till the bulk of society has been reduced to be
mere automations of misery...And the forehorse of this frightful team is public
debt; Taxation follows that and, in its train, wretchedness and oppression." -
Thomas Jefferson (1823)
"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." - James Madison, April 20, 1795
Comment by Hank Shaeffer
May 24, 2010 05:58 PM
I’m sorry to have to say this, but we, the Americans people, are acting like a bunch of 12-year olds. We think life ought to be a trouble-free, risk-free, all-expenses-paid vacation, complements of the government. Sure, we say there’s too much spending, and we don’t like the direction the country is going, but if you ask us if we’d be willing to roll back Social Security, or Medicare/Medicaid (40% of the budget), or the so-called “safety-net” programs (another 15%), we’d look at you like you’re from another planet. And don’t dare mention defense, because then you’re un-American. We’ve got to flex our military muscles in every conceivable corner of the globe (another 20% of the budget), although I don’t think anybody could tell you what we get out of it. Then, when some wacko gets on a plane and tries to set his shoes or hair or underpants on fire (and there will always be wackos, believe me) – the chicken hawks and soccer moms all line up to sign away what’s left of their hard-won American freedoms. I tell you, friends, sooner or later we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that the Government is not our problem. Congress is not our problem the Courts are not our problem, the President is not our problem. They’re just politicians sticking their fingers in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. It’s us, friends, the American people. We are the problem.
Comment by zane
May 24, 2010 09:16 PM
why don't you talk about your marijuana bill? i hope it passes congress.
Comment by Mihail
May 24, 2010 10:16 PM
The War On Terror Is A Jewish Hoax;
ONLY THE JEWS have benefited from the War On Terror. The Jewish Neocons within the Bush Administration promoted it to serve their Zionist agenda. The War On Terror has only destroyed our liberties at home and pushed us into unnecessary wars abroad where no Jewish soldiers fight.
Long before 9-11 the Jewish Neocons had been arguing for regime changes throughout the Middle East using military force beginning in Iraq. This plan was designed to establish a Pax Americana/Israeliana. But this Zionist plan has proven to be a fiasco given Middle East realities as evinced in Iraq.
How Jews Control America;
IS IT GOOD FOR THE JEWS?” was a question I constantly grew up with.
Having been raised in an upper middle class Jewish environment whenever a presidential campaign took place the question asked by the Jewish Community was, “Is he good for the Jews?” Never was the question asked, “Is he good for America?”
An example of how the Jewish Community gives priority to ‘Jewish interests’ before America’s can be found at Election Central USA, one of the Web Sites run by the powerful Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
Comment by Joe
May 24, 2010 10:40 PM
Eloquently stated. Thank you as always.