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Your Opinion: In defense of the national defense

Your Opinion: In defense of the national defense

January 6th, 2019 in Opinion

Bert Dirschell

Centertown

Dear Editor:

Politicians won’t balance the federal budget because they would have to stop buying votes by handing out ever increasing amounts of “free stuff,” free stuff paid for with borrowed money. “Free stuff” programs should be funded and administered at the state and local level. We could vote to raise our taxes to fund programs we deem worthwhile.

Some blame national defense for the debt. National defense was the primary reason for the formation of the United States. In Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution We the People granted 17 specific powers to Congress. Six of those powers deal with national defense, none of them granted the federal government the power to take the assets of one person and give them to another. Perhaps someone who supports the concept of forced income redistribution will point out the specific article and section of our Constitution they believe granted that power to the federal government, or maybe they think the federal government’s authority should no longer be limited by anything (the Constitution) or anyone.

The following dollar amounts come from the historical tables attached to the FY2019 federal budget. All figures are in 2017 dollars. It is interesting to review the changes in federal spending over last two generations, 2017-1992 and 2017-1967. Neither Social Security nor Medicare spending is included in these figures.

Per capita spending on “Medicaid and other means-tested entitlements” is 2.4 times higher than it was only one generation ago and 12.2 times higher than it was two generations ago.

Per capita spending on national defense is 86 percent of what it was a generation ago and only 69 percent of what it was two generations ago.

Lest you think our massive deficits are caused by taxes low taxes, per capita federal receipts (taxes collected) are 1.44 times higher than a generation ago and over twice what they were two generations ago.

The median household income in 1967 was $7,200 (1967 dollars). If it grown at the same rate as government spending it would have increased to $182,000 in 2017.

In FY2017 the government borrowed $457 billion ($1,400 for every person in the U.S.) just to pay the interest on the national debt. Projections are that by 2023 this interest on the debt will grow to $835 billion.