Explaining his “no” vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders expressed serious concern over the “bloated military budget.” Even considering the source, his concerns are valid, I think.
We have a nearly 40% share of the world’s defense budget, spending more by ourselves than the major national powers of the world combined. That’s crazy. And according to Sen. Sanders, the Government Accountability Office can’t even audit defense spending due to extraordinary financial mismanagement. His words:
The situation is so absurd that the Pentagon is unable to even account for how it spends its money. Earlier this year the Government Accountability Office cited its inability—that is, the GAO’s ability—to audit the Pentagon. They wrote that they were unable to do a comprehensive financial analysis due to “serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense that made its financial statements unauditable.” That is from the Government Accountability Office. So we are voting for a budget that the GAO says they cannot even audit—for the most expensive agency in government.
I don’t often agree with Bernie Sanders. But on this, I completely agree. The amount the taxpayer spends on the military is absurd. Sanders quotes the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, which outlines that:
Twenty percent of the U.S. federal budget is devoted to military spending, while the average for our NATO allies is a mere 3.6 percent. Five percent of U.S. annual GDP is allocated to the military, but for the NATO countries, Japan and China, it is well below 2 percent. . . . Today the amount Washington spends on the military each year is $2,300 a person in the U.S. The comparable obligation for the average NATO country is $503 a person. For China it is less than $200 a person.
$2,300 dollars a person per year for the military! And not every person is even paying taxes. This is absurd, seriously. We could cut billions from our military budget just by reining in our military spending to strictly home defense. I’m not holding my breath though.
Okay. Let the tirade of question-begging epithets commence: