As a libertarian, I believe that one of the very few legitimate functions of the federal government is national defense. Basically, almost the entire federal budget should be military. That’s not to say we should spend trillions on defense, just that the feds should not pool all the states money then hand it back out to them – they should only take what they need to do what can only be done on the national level. That said, look at this chart from wikipedia…half of the world’s military dollars are spent by the US.
I did a little math with these numbers…The fifteen countries that spend the most on defense are listed. Of the fifteen, nine are solid US allies. In order of military spending, they are: Saudi Arabia, the UK, France, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Italy, Israel and Australia. The other five, I’ll consider non-allies, even though Brazil, India and Iraq could go either way or remain neutral when the fighting starts — I’m trying to be as conservative as possible…the other two of the five potential adversaries are China and Russia. (These numbers seem a little light – US govt spending on defense is probably more than $581 billion, but assuming the measure is apples to apples across countries, this will do for purposes of comparison.)
At $581 billion in 2014 defense spending, the US spent more than it’s nine militarily largest allies, whose spending totaled $392 billion, and the US spent more than double it’s five largest potential military opponents, whose spending totaled $295 billion. Together with our allies, we spend more than triple what all our potential adversaries combined spend annually on defense. Given that the US was on the winning side of both world wars by ramping up from zero to sixty on a dime,
and given that the invention of nuclear weapons greatly decreased the likelihood of another all-out war (for more on this click here), it stands to reason that the US spending on defense as much as the rest of the world combined, allies and enemies alike, has got some cronyism baked in…call me crazy! So when I hear the GOP candidates in the debate arguing that we have a weak military or that the sequester is strangling our soldiers, I gotta wonder if anyone is actually looking at the numbers and using a little common sense.