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  • NPR’s Orwellian World

    George Orwell, it’s time to turn over in your grave.

    In Orwell’s world of double talk and upside down reality, few stories can rival one that took place this morning on National Public Radio (NPR).  The show started out with a quote from Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, to the effect that the “biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt.”

    True enough. Out of control spending threatens to squeeze the discretionary part of the federal budget, of which defense is a part.  The growing debt will become so large that it will, in the words of Admiral Mullen, undermine “the economy and rob resources needed to protect the population.” By “resources,” he means the armed forces.

    Imagine our surprise, then, when the story took a strange twist.  The reporter stated, “At $700 billion a year, defense is the biggest part of the federal budget.” Then he asked what he thought was an “interesting” question:  “If overspending now endangers U.S. security, is it because the country is spending too much on security”?

    This question is palpably absurd.  How can acquiring tanks, airplanes and land armies for America endanger our defense and security?  By that twisted logic, the best way to get stronger is to do away with the armed forces altogether.

    There is only one way to draw such a conclusion: Misconstrue the facts.  Since the NPR reporter believes that defense is the biggest part of the federal budget, he leaps to the conclusion —time to turn over, George—that we must cut defense in order to save it.

    Here’s the problem: Defense spending is not the largest share of the budget, nor the cause of our rising debt.  Out of control spending on social entitlements and other domestic programs is.

    The latest budget report (Excel) from the White House Office of Management and Budget shows spending on Social Security this year alone at $721.5 billion, more than what Obama will spend on defense ($719.2 billion).  All told, entitlement spending in 2010 will consume 13.4 percent of GDP, while defense only consumes 4.8 percent.  By the year 2020, those chunks will be 14.1 percent on Entitlements and only 3.8 percent on defense. And while defense spending declines as a share of our nation’s productivity, what we pay on the debt will more than triple, from 1.4 percent this year to 4.6 percent in 2020.

    Defense is not the budget beast the NPR host claimed. In fact, it claims just 19 percent of all federal spending this year, while entitlements (excluding net interest) account for 56 percent.  But pointing that out during the NPR program would likely have caused the academic “brains” being interviewed to choke. And silence does not make for good radio.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to NPR’s Orwellian World

    1. Pingback: Defense Spending not a problem for Heritage » Geodex.org - Things you should perhaps be casually aware of.

    2. Tenn Slim, Western T says:

      Opine

      NPR neglected to note, the DOD budget that actually goes to the DOD Grunts is the least amount of the DOD budget. What the DOD spends on Beans, Bullets, and OIL goes to the National Economy. Those material items are paid for directly to the GNP, in the form of actual, paying, contracts for that material, to SBO across the nation.

      LM, aerospace, projects, pay salaries across the USA, directly to the machinists, clerks, engineers, logisticicans, and designers. Boeing, Northrup, Grumman, Douglas, McDonnell, and a host of other aerospace companies do the same.

      NPR would have DOD cut but in the doing so, emasculates 52 states worth of economy. Again, a pure OBNA Leftist agenda item.

      Semper FI

      We WILL Prevail.

      end

    3. MrShorty - Arizona says:

      Good comment, Tenn Slim. Given the intelligence level of most of the Socialist pundits, maybe it's time we re-wrote Aesop's Fables in modern terminology. Maybe they can relate to things like, ants, grasshoppers, hares and tortoise.

    4. Johann Wolfgang von says:

      Having taught/tutored logic on an undergrad level, I can assure you that failing entry level (logic 101) and all ensuing logic courses is a prerequisite for employment at NPR. I have had to ration my listening to NPR and BBC because I found myself mentally saying, Flawed Premise, Objection to Predicate, Gratuitous Assertion, Double Effect, Unintended Consequences, etc until I withdrew in frustration at the poor handling of many issues of substance. Orwell may roll over in his grave but Goebbels would be proud of NPR: their government biases, misrepresentation of facts, and absurd conclusions in stories such as this one!

    5. Trea Graham says:

      What I detest the most about this article is that the Obama machine just doesn't tell the truth. The administration and the media (NPR) twists questions so clear thinking chumps who agree to be interviewed can find it impossible to respond with the truth. Shame on those interviewees who did not rebut the % of money spent by the military out of the entire budget. With 3 Navy men in the family, and being a patriot, I find it hard to listen to this kind of interview. There really is no forum that would reach the people broadly so that one could rebut the untruths being floated out there – like this interview. Rrrrr!

    6. Garyld, Texas says:

      I do not consent to our tax $$s being spent on NPR. Their budget and PBS's sound more discretionary to me than any part of the defense budget and should be at the top of the budget cut list.

    7. Bill MN says:

      How much could we save by defunding NPR and PBS? Does anyone but socialists and marxists even listen to this crap. I won't even let my grandkids watch Big Bird anymore.

    8. NANCY GREEN, BAKERSF says:

      this is the same "logic" announced by Speaker Pelosi a few days ago, when she informed us all that the best way to improve our economy was for more people to be unemployed and receive unemployment benefits.

    9. Nicholas, Ohio says:

      I apologize for writing a rather long winded response, but I was surprised by some of the things written in this article (which a friend's dad sent to me), and I wanted to respond. Since the section at the bottom states to be terse, I will not be surprised if this is not posted, but I wanted to give it a shot, since I feel my response is worth reading, if others want to:

      "NPR's Orwellian World" by Kim Holmes is an interesting article written with a not-so-subtle conservative bias, and with no attempt to even hide this bias. Right away, this detracts from its credibility, since it virtually guarantees that it will not be an unbiased source; how can something labeled as promoting "conservative policies and principles" be unbiased? This bias shines through in a few instances, including when the article states that it is "palpably absurd" that acquiring more tanks, airplanes, etc. could endanger us; yes, the typical conservative position (dare I say the typical "patriotic" position) is to push for more and more military and defense spending. However, as Admiral Mullen, a career military man, pointed out, our extreme expenditure can and will definitely have an impact on our defense. Let me draw an analogy here to health care, and even use an argument many Republicans used against the health care bill: sustainability. Many people (though not necessarily a majority; I don't know what the general public consensus on the health care bill is) have worried that the health care bill would draw more money than it generates through tax revenue and, over time, it would become so expensive that it would collapse — much like France has worried about, since their health care is rather expensive. Arguably, this collapse would endanger the health of all individuals on the plan, since it would require a reduction of health benefits in order to fix. Likewise, our current amount of defense spending can plunge us further into debt and endanger the continuation of our defense spending, since it would be unsustainable; alternatively, the increasing of defense and military spending could, indeed, increase physical security, but only at the cost of either economic or social security (I am not referring to Social Security, but the security of social programs in general). Is this a desirable outcome? Probably not. The article does not take into account the sustainability of the defense and military spending. The argument that cutting defense in order to save defense is absurd, is absurd.

      It is true that, according to that budget report, Social Security is slightly higher than defense spending; however, the NPR reporter is technically correct. The defense spending is the highest part of the budget, but of actual spending, Social Security comes in slightly higher since it went about 5.5% over budget; however, the budget report does not detail how much over budget defense and military spending goes, and I doubt that defense and military spending stays on budget. If there is a source which shows definitively that, including over budget expenditure, defense still comes in lower than social security, I will resign that point. Technically, however, the NPR reporter is correct in saying that it is the largest share of the budget, and I doubt that the reporter was attempting to be at all deceitful, unlike what the article claims when Holmes writes that "the academic 'brains' being interviewed [would have choked]" from a rebuttal. (As a side note, how upset would conservatives be if I put quotes around "brains" and implied they were idiots who did not know how to respond to rebuttals which aren't even technically true?)

      Now, onto one crux of Holmes' argument, and not something which is factual: is it good or bad that defense spending takes up 19% of federal spending each year? In my opinion, it is shameful that we currently spend more than ten times on our defense spending than what we are predicted to be spending in 2015 on our health care coverage — do we really care ten times as much about killing other people as we do about keeping our own citizens alive? (Note: I do realize that Medicare and Medicaid take up more money than the health care bill is slated to; it is still less than defense spending — it's about ) Here is a good breakdown of our budget, in a visual form: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1305 Note that the Department of Health and Human Services also takes up quite a large chunk of the budget (but since it's not normally treated as one block, even in the government budget report, this does not make the NPR reporter incorrect, either — and it wasn't the cited reason, anyway). You know what else is shameful? How little research spending we have! Is it really important to spend over 700 billion dollars on the military when we only spend 33 billion dollars on health research and only 21 billion dollars on science research? Most of that defense spending isn't going into defense research, either, since that's only 12 billion dollars of our budget. So why is it that our culture is so focused on killing other people and not so much focused on keeping people alive?

      We like holding onto what is our own. This is why we have a large defense spending, this is why people in Texas like carrying big guns. As Americans, we like defending ourselves, we don't like others being better than us, and we don't like other countries doing what we perceive as being "bad." This is a problem. We have no right to interfere in the matters of other countries, nor do we have any need. We have no need for our large military, either, since there is not a large threat that we will be attacked; if we do get attacked, we can get help from Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, etc. We do not need as large of a military as we have. Further, we ought to reduce this spending, because it might increase our globalization, which is extremely important. Our arbitrary political borders are fine and dandy, but the economy is a lot more global than it used to be, and we are going to have to deal with that. If we seek to retain our title as "the superpower," however, that simply cannot happen, since we will always be seeking to exert control over other countries. By globalizing, we could strengthen our own economy, our own security (what's better security than having lots of allies, especially allies financially dependent upon you?), and so on.

      As a final parting note, conservativism often comes off as being anti-intellectual, and this article achieves that splendidly by mocking academic people and claiming they do not have brains. This attitude is probably best exemplified by the glorification of the Joe the Plumber, along with the derision of people like Obama for being "too professorial" and having too much education. What? When did it become a problem to have a lot of education? I find it shameful that our society has turned anti-intellectual. This isn't a problem only with conservatives, since many people exhibit this behavior when they admire sports players over scientists, but I have certainly noticed it more in conservative individuals.

    10. Stakeholder, OH says:

      (1) It is true that there should probably be reform in social entitlement programs — government spending in general is grossly over-extended. However, shouldn't those who lament about how much the poor are draining from their golf-course endeavors acknowledge that social security goes to the retired, who have been working? I'd hardly call that spending on leeches.

      (2) The military spending is very high, no matter which way you split the apple. For some reason, military spending is beyond reproach in this country (the answer is always "Cut Welfare!"). Fewer tanks and airplanes may actually be better for our security, since if we overspend and extend ourselves (especially if our resources are already overkill — which they are) we will hurt the system. Additionally, the days of large-scale conventional warfare are over–but our military is larger than it has ever been. I don't think it would hurt for well-informed military personnel to take a thoughtful scalpel to the military budget and decide which programs and resources are really truly necessary. After all, we are encouraged to apply triage to science, social spending, and public services. Why not the military?

    11. Jenny, Chicago, IL says:

      Unfortunately this would become even more common if government passes the 'drudge tax' for the internet in which successful media companies profits are redistributed by the government to unprofitable media outlets.

      The conflict of interest couldn't be more obvious; just as it is when you listen to the state funded National Public Radio.

      That bill is a threat to free speech, a threat to individual liberty, and it is shameful that it is even being considered by democrats in congress.

    12. Micki-Tamarac, FL says:

      I say we cut what we spend on the corrupt members that we have sitting in the Congress and Senate. Everyone in this country has been attacked for spending and not saving and they continue to give themselves raise after raise.
      When is it time for them to tighten their belts? When are we going to say enough is enough? 9.5% unemployment and they get raises? What is wrong with that picture? It seems that there is a lot of money going down the drain in those houses, let them cut wages for a change and quit giving Medicare and Medicade to people that have never paid into the system!

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