Get Your Billion Back, America!

If you watch television, I’m sure that you have seen the new H&R Block commercials. Many find them to be interesting, while some think that they are offensive. One of these commercials, however, takes a very aggressive stance on a political issue that many find alarming. Take a moment to watch the commercial.

Perhaps H&R Block is taking a facetious approach to military funding; “Oh, here it is!” Whether you are pro military, anti-military, or somewhere in between, chances are that you are fairly passionate about your stance. This is one of those “hot button issues.” But, perhaps we should take a moment to look beyond the typical mantra that surrounds this issue, and examine the specifics.

In 2013, the United States spent more money on defense than any other country in the world. As a matter of fact, the country outspent the next nine countries combined. Now, this could be considered a great thing. Many people take pride living in a country which is undeniably the most powerful country in the world. But, I would like to propose a question. Lets take a closer look at the top 10 countries.

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Is it necessary to outspend the next largest defense budget more than 5 to 1? Could we outspend them 4:1, 3:1, or even merely double every Chinese dollar spent on defense, and still reasonably assume that we lived in the most powerful nation in the world? The difference that we are considering is a savings of a number in excess of $300 billion a year. If you are not convinced by this, consider that within these top 10 countries, only two could be reasonably considered foes. In an eight to two battle within the top 10, the United States and its allies outspend their foes 84.1% to 15.9%.

To be fair, the United States has, in fact, benefited greatly in some of its past wartime efforts. World War II generated enormous amounts of wealth. But, long gone are the times of great wartime spoils. It would be tough to determine any economic benefits that have come from any of America’s recent wars. It used to be that the victor of war could pillage and plunder, taking what was his. But, this practice has now been replaced with expensive rebuilding efforts to get the defeated nation back on its feet. Military training, costly infrastructure repair, and economic incentives, all of which add to an ever growing military budget.

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