How to realign 40% of the US Defense Budget

This is offered as a high level starting point to address the fact that:

The United States spend an enormous amount of our resources on defense. The United States spends far more than all other countries.

This presumes that the United States neglects our national security if we do not take care of our people.

The conclusion is that Homelessness, Housing and Infrastructure problems can be resolved by reducing the Defense Budget by 42%

Recently on Facebook my friend David Hoffman made a statement about taxation of the wealthy in order to fund necessary services in our country. His comments sparked a comment from me in which I called for the reduction of United States military spending by 40%. Our mutual friend Attila Nagy also joined in for a lively discussion.

Afterwards I asked a person with sophisticated knowledge of the United States military budget what it would take to reduce military spending by 40%. This individual gave me a very sophisticated and thoughtful response which is reprinted below. This individual chose not to attribute their name to this item but gave me permission to share it.

Q: How would you go about reducing the military budget by 40%?

A: Immediately or over time?

Q: Over time. Strategically but maintaining effectiveness.  An obvious sub question is whether it is possible and appropriate.

A: OK, well 40% is a lot to ask so if I were required to make those cuts, I might look at it this way.

Freeze all “new” programs.  Finish current contracts but don’t start development of new programs.  Cut total quantities of the new programs in work.  If we are going to build 5000 new tanks then only build 2000.  15 subs only build 5.  Then I would look at manpower.  Manpower is one of the largest drivers of cost.

Now, all this having been said, if you cut programs then the material you have left (that isn’t going to be replaced) is going to have increased maintenance requirements over time and that will require an increase in maintenance hours and more parts both of which increase cost of using the aging equipment.  You own the manpower so 8, 10, 12 hour shifts 5,6, 7 days a week is possible but becomes less effective over time.  Parts will eventually run out and the cost to build more of the same parts is usually prohibitive.  You could initiate a “modernization” concept which would look at the equipment as it ages and make design changes to keep the equipment relevant.

All this would represent a logical approach.  A less logical approach would be to “peanut butter” spread the cuts.  Take the % of budget the Services current have and spread the 40%.  So Air Force may take a 13% cut, Army a 12% cut, Navy a 10% and Marine Corps a 5% cut and then let the Services decide how to best try and met mission while absorbing the cuts.

Keep in mind the National Strategy determines what we need to be manned to accomplish.  Do we want to be able to engage in multiple places at the same time?  Also, if we decrease the troop levels and then need to surge the surge will take time and won’t be immediately available.  On that end I might look to increase the Reserves but at the same time increase their annual training time so if needed there would be less time required to be deployment ready.

Equipment is harder to deal with.  If you decrease quantity, unit price will go up. So, in some cases it might be better to kill a program.  That being said, the programs you could kill without significant impact over time are likely the smaller programs that won’t provide significant savings.

Sorry if I failed to actually answer the question but as you can see there are multiple options each with their own consequences.

[end of analysis]

For context and as a proposal, the Country already planned to spend these funds so we can generally realign them without net tax or cost increases.

Thus if the Defense budget is $686 billion

Forty percent used in others ways would equal is $274.4 Billion

Homeless report the problem

Homeless cost With 567,715 people who are homeless at a cost of $35,578 per year per person = National cost of $20,198,162,270

Housing cost = $64 B annually

Joe Biden proposed investing $640 billion over the next decade for housing that’s affordable and also accessible to those with disabilities, which would include:

  • Plans to end redlining and discriminatory practices in the housing market. States receiving federal dollars through certain grants will have to develop a strategy for inclusionary zoning.
  • Creating a refundable tax credit of up to $15,000 when Americans purchase a home for the first time.
  • Establishing a $100 billion fund to construct affordable housing.
  • Protecting tenants by enacting the Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020, which would help them access legal assistance.
  • Granting housing vouchers to every eligible family so that they don’t have to pay more than 30% of their income for rental housing. Eligibility is based on total annual gross income and family size. In general, a family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income in their county or metro area, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Student Debt forgiveness has to be funded some other way

Broad student loan forgiveness could affect 45.3 million borrowers with federal student loan debt who owe a total of $1.54 trillion to the government. Wiping out $10,000 each — as Biden calls for — would result in up to $429 billion canceled

Infrastructure renewal $200 B a years for ten years = $2 Trillion

Green New Deal In the past, Ocasio-Cortez has put the price tag for her proposal at $10 trillion. Some of this will be addressed in the Infrastructure proposals.

In Conclusion, at a cost of $284 Billion => Homelessness, Housing and Infrastructure can be solved by reducing the Defense Budget by 42%

March 18,2023 The Hill analysis

What do you think?