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  • Retiring Boomers: Where the Bucks Are

    Defense v. Entitlements

    Maintaining and modernizing our armed forces doesn’t just protect America, it fulfills the Constitution’s mandate to “provide for the common defense.” Yet the defense budget appears to be one place where President Barack Obama and Congress are looking to offset massive new spending elsewhere – “stimulating” or otherwise.

    “The Pentagon faces a $100 billion annual shortfall in its procurement and modernization accounts,” warns Kim Holmes, Heritage’s vice president for defense and foreign policy studies. “The question facing Mr. Obama is not whether to trim a few expensive and unnecessary weapons systems, but whether he is willing to forgo America’s military edge by skipping or delaying construction of the next generation of modern weapons.”

    Specially trained troops, updated equipment and “smart” weaponry to counter tomorrow’s threats are both necessary and a relative bargain for taxpayers, their children and grandchildren, Heritage analysts conclude. The crushing burden comes from the rapidly escalating cost of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

    As a percentage of the economy, a downloadable chart from Heritage shows, the government is spending more than twice as much for the three major entitlement programs as for the military — even before 77 million baby boomers retire in great numbers. In coming decades, the cost of entitlements will leap from 8.5 percent to 18.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Without reform, our well-intentioned promises will require raising taxes by the equivalent of $12,072 per household or eliminating every other program — including defense, transportation, housing and education.

    “Spiraling manpower costs and modernization demands are growing at an unprecedented rate, with many ships, planes and tanks older than their crews,” Heritage national security expert James Carafano writes. “Detroit got into trouble because of bad businesses practices. The armed forces are in trouble because Washington under-funded the military in the 1990s and shrunk it too much to cope with the threats of the post-Cold War world.”

    Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) recently predicted a new round of defense cuts. Others in Congress believe that keeping our military edge, as Heritage’s Baker Spring and Mackenzie Eaglen outline in a new paper, requires spending the equivalent of at least 4 percent of GDP on defense for five years or more. They seek to put that commitment into law.

    “The recession may make meeting a 4 percent commitment politically more difficult,” Holmes notes, “but only because we have not yet had an honest debate about where most government spending has been going.”

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Retiring Boomers: Where the Bucks Are

    1. Mayme Trumble, NY says:

      I paid for social security and I better get it! I think I deserve it more than those toady representatives and senators who play poker, hot tub with prostitutes and squander tax payer money by doling it out to every crazy defense idea out there. There is tons of waste and corruption in Defense. Start a campaign to tighten the waste there, then you can come for my social security.

    2. Mayme Trumble, NY says:

      Do your figures include the 170 billion we are spending on the Iraq and Afgan wars? I would certainly consider them defense.

      I also thought the war in Iraq was going to pay for itself. Has that begun to happen yet? Does it look like it will?

    3. Dale Bauer, Sacramen says:

      There needs to be private sector audits of every government agency and program. Then from these audits decide which ones are not needed and streemline the others! All private companys are cutting back – Why isn't the government?

    4. Marshall Hill-Michig says:

      WHen the Issue of Social Security started by a

      Democrat and used to also support noncitizens,

      and other various Programs that Congress refuses to Fund or Face!

    5. Dan, Milwaukee, WI says:

      What about the $150 billion that Bush shifted out of Social Security in 2004 to reduce the budget deficit? He did that to make that year’s $415 billion deficit look smaller. Where did he spend it? Defense? When are the Republicans go to move to restore those funds to it’s rightful place in the Social Security trust fund which us Baby Boomers paid for.

    6. Phil Pate, NM says:

      Many of us did not have the ability to establish our own retirement account until the late eighties. Please remember even then in order to have a personal retirement account the organization that you were working might block your ability to place funds in personal accounts. SSA was and is a method of suplimental income when we are no longer working.

    7. rodger craft says:

      I have paid into SSI for 44 years and I have supported every scheme this government has put up. Like giving welfare to people who can, but won't work,illegals who get benefits they don't deserve, and people from other countries who draw SSI who never paid a dime into it. I'm sick of Baby Boomers getting the blame for everything this government has done wrong with our money over the past 44 years. I will not vote for anyone who does not have this country's best interests in mind and I suggest all others do the same. Here is a novel idea: quit giving the money to people who won't work, illegals,and countries that hate us. We could bail ourselves out of this mess we are in by cutting off all the wasted money we give away.

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