Posts tagged ‘Military Budget’

03/19/2012

Coast Guard Stations Could Close

Of the 173 active U.S. Coast Guard stations, approximately 85 are redundant, and could be closed to help reduce the National Debt. The Guard has 74 bases on the Atlantic, spanning 2,069 miles, 23 in the Gulf of Mexico, spread over 1,631 miles, 28 on the Pacific, from San Diego to Seattle, and 42 in the Great Lakes.

The original purpose of the Coast Guard, in 1790, was to help stamp out piracy. Their duties expanded in the 1800s, as shipping by sea grew to be the primary carrier for commerce and business. At one time, 350 lighthouses were manned by the Guard.

During the second half of the 20th Century, technology made the existence of a large number of coastal stations obsolete. Advanced communications and helicopters changed the nature of rescue at sea operations, and reduced the need for as many ships and ports.

Most Coast Guard facilities however, built in the mid to late 1800s, still remain open, thanks to pork-barrel politics. Proof that a great number of bases are no longer needed can be found in our newest states. Alaska, which has a general coastline of 5,580 miles, has only 3 stations. Hawaii, with 750 miles of shore to patrol, has just two ports. Puerto Rico, our territory in the hurricane belt, gets by using just a single outpost.

The Guard could continue to serve their purposes with roughly one facility for every 100 miles of coastline. If this rule was implemented, facilities could be closed in nearly every area:

15 could be decommissioned in New England:
Maine, with 230 miles of shore, could close 4 of 6 stations.
New Hampshire (13 miles) doesn’t have a base, or need one.
Vermont (landlocked) should shut down the one they have.
Massachusetts (192 miles) could shed 8 of 10 facilities.
Rhode Island (40 miles) may retain one, but terminate 2 others.
Connecticut (166 miles) could preserve the training station at Groton as well as the Coast Guard Academy at New London.

19 could be eliminated along the Northeastern Atlantic:
New York (127 miles) could cancel 6 of 8, sparing the Staten Island base, and the Brooklyn Air Station.
New Jersey (130 miles) should unload 8 of 10.
Pennsylvania (not on ocean) could close their Philly area base.
Delaware (28 miles) could maintain the one they have.
Maryland (31 miles) could keep Baltimore’s, while vacating four.
The DC Coast Guard Headquarters would remain.

11 on the South could be boarded up:
Virginia (112 miles) could get by with 1 of the 3 they have.
North Carolina (301 miles) should close 7 of 10.
South Carolina (187 miles) could maintain the two they have.
Georgia (100 miles) should give up 2 of 3.
Florida (580 Atlantic miles) can keep their 6 on the east coast.

6 bases in the Gulf of Mexico could be closed.
Florida (770 miles) could function with 8, including the facility at St. Petersburg, while closing down 4 others.
Alabama (53 miles) could keep the one base they have.
Mississippi (44 miles), doesn’t need 2; one has to go.
Louisiana (397 miles), with only 3 stations, can maintain theirs.
Texas (367 miles) should terminate 1 of their 5.

14 on the West Coast can be vacated:
California (840 miles) can eliminate five, and continue with 8, including the San Diego Air Station, and the Alameda base.
Oregon (296 miles) closes 4, while covering 296 miles with just 3.
Washington (157 miles) doesn’t need eight; five should get the ax.

20 bases could be shut down on the Great Lakes:
New York could retain the 3 they have on Lake Ontario, to patrol a 331-mile Canadian border.
New York on Lake Eire (77 miles) would have to unload 1 of 2.
Pennsylvania on Lake Eire (51 miles) could maintain their base.
Ohio on Lake Eire (312 miles) needs to board up 6 of 9 stations.
Michigan on Lake Huron can keep 3 of 6 along roughly 300 miles of Canadian border.
Michigan on the east side of Lake Michigan (354 miles) doesn’t need 5 of 9 stations, as they have no international duties.
Indiana on Lake Michigan (43 miles) could keep their base.
Wisconsin on Lake Michigan’s west shore (245 miles) could get by with 3 of their 7 stations.
Illinois on Lake Michigan (63 miles) says good-bye to 1 of 2.
Michigan’s 2 stations on Lake Superior, covering 208 miles of U.S. Border, would both be spared
Wisconsin on Lake Superior (108 miles) could retain their base.
Minnesota keeps 1 on Superior to guard 150 miles of north shore.

Once government opens facilities, politicians fight to keep them, whether they continue to serve any purpose or not. If conservatives are serious about reducing the National Debt, they should take the lead and close roughly 85 unnecessary Coast Guard stations.

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01/12/2012

Ron Paul: Why Voters Support Him

While the inside the beltway crowd cannot understand why Ron Paul finished a close third in Iowa, and now second in New Hampshire, if they had been listening, they would have heard his anti-war, anti-torture message, his willingness to cut military spending, his pledge to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, his promise to avoid conflict with Iran, his hostility towards corporate welfare, deficit spending, his defense of liberty, and personal freedom, and scorn for wasteful projects, like the war on drugs.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul clearly receives his popularity from his foreign policy. He said: we need to stop our wars. It angers foreigners when we occupy their lands. We were attacked on 911, he explained, because we had troops in Saudi Arabia. We are disliked because we have done nothing to stop the abuse against the Palestinians. We have 900 bases around the globe in 150 nations. Paul asked why we keep troops in Korea, Japan, or Germany. We have more weapons than all other nations combined–enough to blow up the world 20 to 25 times. He said we have to stop trying to be the policeman of the world.

WAR ON TERROR: He said the war on terror is like the war on drugs. It’s a pretend war. No formal declaration of war was ever made. Terrorism is only a tactic, he said. Others may want to bomb us, because we bomb them, not because of what we believe.

LIBERTY: As to profiling, Paul asked what if a person looked like the white Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh? As to the Patriot Act, our Founders warned not to sacrifice liberty for security, Paul said, something our government now does too willingly. We should not give up freedom for a police state.

TORTURE: Paul correctly argued torture is illegal under U.S. and international law. Water-boarding is torture, he said in no uncertain terms. It’s uncivilized and immoral. We should not give up so easily on the rule of law, he said, as he pointed out over 300 terrorists were convicted in civilian courts and sent to prison.

MILITARY BUDGET: Paul said there is a lot of waste in the military and we can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman. Our new embassy in Baghdad alone is costing 1 billion. He courageously said the military budget must be on the table and offered to cut billions from their overseas spending. He accused others of just talking about reducing proposed increases.

FOREIGN AID: Paul would also cut all foreign assistance, including aid for Israel, since the Constitution does not authorize it. We gave military aid to an Egyptian dictator and got nothing.

AFGHANISTAN: He would clearly withdraw from Afghanistan now, and would save billions. He said the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan, because that’s where the Soviet Union was brought down. He predicted the same may happen to us.

IRAN: Paul does not pander or say things he thinks the audience wants to hear. He explained Iran wants to build nuclear weapons, because they have well-armed neighbors who already have the bomb, and for them, it is a matter of self-defense. He was not afraid to say Iran is no credible threat to the U.S. He warned the imposition of sanctions against Iran would provoke yet another war. He said it is not worth going to war against Iran to prevent them from gaining nuclear weapons. What is going on right now with Iran is the same propaganda used in the build-up to the Iraq War. He would not support an unprovoked unilateral attack by Israel upon Iran. He asked: why are we flying drones over Iran? While we don’t want to see Iran with nuclear weapons, he said it’s dangerous to declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims.

SYRIA: Paul would stay out of Syria. The Syrians need to deal with Syria, he said. We would only get in trouble if we got involved. We should simply support self-determination.

IRAQ: He would complete the withdrawal from Iraq, reminding us we still have 17,000 contractors on the ground over there.

ISRAEL: Paul asked: why should we commit our kids and our money to endlessly aid Israel?

CORPORATE WELFARE: Paul accused both parties of bailing out big corporations and Wall Street speculators, who ripped off regular people in the derivatives market. He would deny government aid to private enterprise.

HOUSING: Paul said Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae caused overbuilding and distortions, and government needs to get out of housing. Easy credit built too many houses and caused a bubble, he argues, which eventually burst, and now we are going through a correction, that is costing Middle Class people their homes. If money was to be given out, Paul said, it should have gone to those who lost their mortgages, not the banks. He said government sponsored enterprises received excessive credit from the Fed under the Community Reinvestment Act, and the housing debt must now be liquidated, as we are just prolonging the agony.

BUDGET/DEBT: Paul said nobody cares about the national debt, but it is a burden on the economy. Our financial condition is actually the biggest single threat to national security, he said.  Unnecessary wars have added to our deficits, and yet we are not cutting anything; it’s just talk. They only nibble away at baseline budgeting. They get hysterical on the Hill, because their budgets are not going up as rapidly as they want. The budget is out of control, because of earmarks. Paul said he would eliminate five departments and cut 1 billion in spending from the federal budget in his first year.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Paul said the Social Security Trust Fund should not have been used to fight wars.

DRUG WAR: Paul argued the war on drugs is a total failure, which should be handled like alcohol.

THE FED: Paul does not believe the Fed Reserve should set interest rates or decide how much money should be in circulation. He would return the gold standard. He said the Fed set interest rates well below market levels and keeping them low only distorts the economy. He does not believe they stimulate economic activity. He said Greenspan kept them too low for too long. He criticized the ability of banks get loans at zero percent, a practice which cheats the elderly of interest income they could earn from CDs. He was concerned the Fed sent five billion overseas to bail out foreign banks, and wants the Fed audited.

HEALTH CARE: Paul correctly said the insurance and drug companies will love the individual mandate. He wants more market competition in medicine. He supports medical savings accounts and would let people opt out of the health care plan.

 

08/22/2011

Military Waste: Spending Taxes on Golf

When a friend showed me an ad placed by the U.S. Army seeking a “Professional Golf Management Trainee,” it reminded me of how much waste there is in the military budget.

This is no joke. The Army has a full-time permanent position for a golf trainee. The starting salary is up to $38,000, but the cost to us is much higher, as the position includes full benefits such as: health and life insurance, 401-K retirement, paid holidays, sick leave, vacation time, and possible student loan repayments. Many vacancies exist in the U.S., and relocation bonuses are possible.

The job is said to be “crucial to support military operations.”

Management trainees undergo 24 months of on-the-job training, and 12 months at an Army installation. The training varies by installation, but focuses on golf course and pro shop operations.

The trainee learns how golf courses operate. Training includes: 1) the conduct of play; 2) how to keep the facilities clean and safe; 3) how to make sure the course meets quality golf standards; 4) how the maintain relations with the grounds crew; 5) how to manage the golf cart fleet; and 6) how to oversee the food and beverage for outings and tournaments.

Along with college transcripts, a degree from a Professional Golf Association Management Program is required, along with three professional Letters of Recommendation.

The above is just one example of the waste in the military budget. Can you imagine what the right-wingers at Fox would say if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) considered golf “crucial” to their operations?

If the country is going to cut budgets, let’s not forget there are millions, and probably billions of dollars wasted each year by the military. Military budgets should never be off the table. The politicians should have the courage to examine their spending and eliminate wasteful expenditures not needed for national security.