Press Conference: Cut Wasteful Military Spending!




Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). held a press conference to call for an open discussion about the efficacy, the extent, and cost of overseas U.S. military commitments.

Date: 05/27/2010



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  1. I believe in transparency and that includes transparency of military spending.

    However, I DO NOT believe in cutting funds from our troops! My daughter was a issued a dead man's Kevlar (the name tape inside was never removed and the owner was listed as killed in action) and my son's bullet proof vest too small and ill fitting. Need I say more???

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  2. Anyone every hear of the Ludlow Massacre??? Probabley not…it ain’t in your traditional American History books. The Ludlow Massacre is a tragic result of the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-1914. However, my point is this…Our times are no different today than they were 100 yrs ago, in that the Governments intrest is not in protecting “people”, the lives of the poor, and the powerless…Its intrest is in, first and formost, the power of the wealth and in doing the bidding of the corporations (esp. the big banks). As it stands today there is no money in helping the poor, housing the homeless, bettering education, decriminalizing drugs (or at least marijuana, which I am all for), or demiliterizing. Sure we spend hundreds of billions every year on our military, and don’t get me wrong I do not support this Government with how it spends my hard earned tax dollars, especially when unemployment is up and our economy is so poor…but, and it’s a BIG BUT, our Government is addicted to the money that having a War On (anything) creates. …and just like how the Ludlow Massacre played out, by how the Government did NOT protect the Constitutional rights of the poor and powerless, taking intrest in protechting only the wealth of corporations…Justifying its murderous means by its progressing ends.
    Yes I know that Ron Paul stands for “brining the Constitution back…” or so he says…And I hope he means it, but we (Americans) are not just trying to fix the social/economical/foreign issues of the last decade or two or three, we have over a century of white hypocritic elitist agenda’s to contend with. Put it another way…The one percent that owns the majority of the wealth ain’t gonna just role over and give in, they’ve got too much to lose and enough power to put up a vicious fight.

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  3. We have already closed 350 bases here in the US as a result of BRAC (sorry, I thought we'd closed 700, but looked the statistics up this morning), do you feel safer? Has you tax burden gone down significantly? Has the federal deficit been reduced? But Ron Paul thinks if we close overseas bases that's going to have some huge effect on the military budget? Neither he, nor Barney Frank are giving you the real story on where your defense dollars are going.

    $210 billion went to weapons research and procurement, only $27 billion went to military construction and family housing. So you tell me, where's the money to be cut? Additionally, we have an extremely inefficient military. 85% of our soldiers are non-combatants. The vast majority of those non-combatants are devoted to military procurement. If we could hack away at the huge military procurment bureaucracy, we could also hack away at a significant portion of the $154 billion the military spends on personnel each year.

    Let's fix the problem where the problem is. Let's fix military procurement. Let's not be side tracked by red herring issues like closing bases. Let's hit the military-industrial complex where it lives, in the pocket book. Let's stop paying companies profit on development work. That is just asking them to drag out development. Pay profit for good, working weapons that do what we need them to do better than all others. That's the capitalist way.

    Sure, we could close another 350 bases and what would we have to show for it? We'd have just as much to show for closing 350 more bases that we have for the last 350 we closed, NOTHING. The big contractors are happy because it meant the government could spend some more money on them, that's all. Do you want that, or do you want the cost of procurement reduced? I've been part of the military-industrial complex for over 20 years now. I'm telling you straight, one taxpayer to another, where the big money is being wasted. Do you want to do something about it or not?

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    • Well said... but in answer to your question, I'd like to do both.

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    • fred the protectionist

      You do realize you are interaducing a new political term people have never heard about "military mercurement"? "Military Procure"? What was that again?

      If it's not a common political cliche, you just confuse peoples.

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      • I remember back when the issue of paying contractors profit on development was being discussed back in the early '90s. First of all, the group of people debating the issue was very limited. This major change in the way the government buys goods and services was implemented with almost no debate at all. Within the small group of procurement professionals who did debate the issue, one of the points made by those in favor of profit on development were fond of saying, "if it doesn't work out, we can always change it back to the way it was."

        This fundamental change in the way the government contracts for goods and sevices was very similar to the creation of the Fed in its secrecy. In fact, you will never see any reference to the issue in any book or magazine. It's almost like it didn't happen, even though the impact of what actually did happen had a huge negative effect on the efficiency and effectiveness of our government.

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    • I agree with you, but we have to deal with one issue at a time.
      Suggesting or demanding a drastic reduction to military personnel and weapon's research/manufacturing is unrealistic until we tackle the issue of our overextended foreign policy. If we support less countries, we have less "demand" for personnel and weaponry.

      In order to reduce our foreign aid spending we have to reduce the amount of military bases overseas - whether this actually represents a significant percent of our budget or not. It's just one gear in a very large machine. Look at the statement for what it does target, not what it doesn't.

      A reduction in bases overseas, if nothing else, will reduce public opinion, or political class opinion that "we are there, so we have to do what we can." Or that, "we do it because we always have and we now have to." If we aren't there, and if we don't do it, it's impossible to rely on that as a policymaker.

      Another thing - the 300 bases we closed down due to BRAC did result in a military budget reduction. Saying it didn't just because you're not paying less taxes doesn't really evaluate the issue. We have a problem in government, and as Ronald Reagan said, "governments don't tax to get the money they need, governments will always find a need for the money they get." We need to build a relation between spending cuts and fund collection, but this is a separate issue altogether.

      By the way, I don't think Ronald Reagan was a "good president" so don't attack me on that... I just think he was very good at explaining certain aspects of our inefficient government. They didn't call him "the great communicator" for nothing.

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      • If you want to fix policy, then debate policy. If you want to close bases, then debate closing bases. If you want to save money, then debate ways to save money.

        The fact of the matter is, our defense spending went up as those 350 bases were being closed. It did not go down at all. It is now at or above Cold War levels of spending BEFORE you take into account the additional spending for Iraq and Afghanistan. When Regan was president we reimbursed military contractors for development. They did not make a profit on development. They got back the money they put in. In those days we had a 700 ship Navy. Now we can't keep 300 ships afloat. In those days it took only 5 years to field a new fighter jet. Today it takes 25 years to do the same thing and most of our pilots fly airplanes older than they are.

        Before Carter was president the defense contractors funded their own weapons development costs and much of their own research and development too. In those days our planes went from 500 mph prop jobs to Mach 3 supersonic jets in less time than it took to develop the F-22. Capitalism works. It can work for you or against you, but it always works.

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        • I still absolutely agree with you, especially in that capitalism is the only viable alternative to this and most of our current problems.

          But so often I see people saying that Paul isn't approaching the appropriate issue - the fact of the matter is, this is only one solitary update, expressing one very limited view. I am 100% certain that if you brought up these points to Paul himself, he would agree with you on every count. But actual progress has to be made in the populace, by changing the appeal of issues to the public. If we don't open people's eyes to the fact that we are overextended, they will never call for cuts or changes. Also, not all four of those politicians espouse the same beliefs, but I do think it's good that they could come together at least on this.

          Maybe it is, like many other things, an attempt to pull the smokescreen in front of us and make us believe that merely closing down bases will help our economy dramatically, but I don't personally think that's the case, at least insofar as Ron Paul is concerned.

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    • I'd assume each base has its own procurement / logistics clerks who sign off on $700 screws and $2,000 toilets, so reducing bases SHOULD reduce procurement costs too.

      But don't forget the 350 bases we closed here are being replaced by a couple dozen bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, which no doubt cost more to run each, since they are in remote areas with more logistical challenges and greater security needs vs US bases.
      http://usliberals.about.com/od/homelandsecurit1/a/IraqNumbers.htm

      Actually wonder how much the military is spending on private military contractors too.. at $200k+ each.

      But yep, agreed with Jim, we need to do both.

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      • If you're assuming that bases themselves contract to develop and build weapons, then you are incorrect. It is done more centrally by each of the service branches. Also, as I said above, the funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are separate from what is budgeted from year to year. The budget line for defense has gone up except for the "peace dividend" we got with Clinton, and now is at or above Cold War levels. That's not a savings in my book. Plus for all that money we spend we can barely sustain a war on 2 fronts in 2 thrid world puke holes. That's a far cry from the 2 front nuclear war scenario we were armed for during the Cold War. That's a military-industrial complex that is providing a very poor return on your money in my opinion, and I see exactly how your money is wasted every day. I'm telling you how we do it and why. It is up to you to pick up that ball. I'm doing what I can now, and it's not much just one guy alone.

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  4. Ron Paul is a great man period.

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    Highly rated. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  5. I'm all in favor of cutting wasteful military spending. I just wonder what they think "wasteful" is.

    There's plenty of fat to be trimmed in the military budget. Lots of people are feeding at the trough, almost entirely civilians and contractors who serve in redundant and overpaid positions. I'd love to smoke them out, but that would require overturning a lot of apple carts. I don't think that anyone in Washington can tolerate the moaning and screaming that will result when we attempt to cut some of the useless positions in the DOD. A simple across-the-board cut will never affect the fatcat DOD civilian. It will affect the private, the seaman, the airman, and the marine.

    Interesting that Ron Paul is sponsoring this bill with Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones and two known socialists, one of whom is arguably the worst legislator in the entire Congress (Bawney Fwank). Is there anyone who still believes that Ron Paul is the last "real conservative" in the party? I'd love to hear the reasoning on that one.

    Ron Paul is such a scumbag. And did I hear that he voted to end DADT? Shame on him.

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    • Smaller government is as "real" as it gets pal. You cannot get anything done in Washington without support from people outside your party. Most of the so called Republicans aka chicken hawks will not support something like this so where else should Dr. Paul turn. I guess he could be like you and say well people will cry and it's to much work to turn over so many apple carts. I don't believe you know what conservative means buddy. I am also very interested lots of Ron Paul is a scum bag posts sounds fishy to me. The establishment is getting nervous.

      Hey any banks out there need money? Don't worry the FED will print it! Are you a country nearing collapse? No problem the FED will get you same day cash! Does your country have massive debt? Are you a country with military bases in 130 countries? Are you building billion dollar embassies in multiple countries? UH OH your lose!

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    • Ben,
      Yes there is waste in EVERY nook and cranny of this government! But the Government's PRIMARY responsibility is the COMMON DEFENSE of our borders!
      Not the common OFFENSE of every tribal dispute in every hell hole in the world. We should leave Islam alone... their doing a great job of destroying themselves! We need to stop punching the proverbial "Tar Baby"
      PULL BACK AND REGROUP, take care of our home front

      CUT ENTITLEMENTS FIRST, entitlements are 65% of the Federal Budget.
      We can no longer afford
      TWW's Federal Reserve System
      FDR's Social Security and Fannie Mae
      LBJ's Medicaid-Medicare,
      GWB's Prescription Drugs, and now
      BHO's Mandatory Medical Coverage and soon to come
      BHO's Cap & Tax

      As for DADT
      Ron Paul is right, we should get rid of DADT!
      That way recruiters don't have to guess if someone's a Flaming Sex-hibitionists, thereby screening them out BEFORE THEY JOIN.
      If a person insist on being a Sex-hibitionist, then join the Paris Folies Bergere and not the Military which has no need for Public Sexual Expression!

      I Don't Ask and I Don't CARE about anyone's twisted sexual interests, Hetero or Homo, DON'T TELL ME, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!!!!

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  6. I strongly support the view point of this interview. The soldiers in our military are fine American citizens, but the "industrial complex" aspect of the military has to be stopped. The military industrial complex is powerful, well entrenched and does not want exposure. It is a for profit business. They do not want to give up the billions they make every year. If you question the military industrial complex their attack is always the same: "You are not supporting our troups. You are not a patriotic citizen. You do not understand what it costs to keep America free. You have no clue of the evils we fight in the world and without us America will fall." Follow the money...follow the money. Does the military industrial complex support our wounded soldiers when they come home? Does the military industrial complex care if chemical products they sold in a war physically destroyed our own soldiers? Are they willing to help pay for these soldiers care or widowed soldiers families? The answer is no. I believe these concerns never cross the minds of the men that control the military industrial complex. The cost in lives and damage to our troups is just part of business for them. Do they allow their own sons and daughters to sacrifice their lives in the "defense" of our country? I am sure the answer is no. Financial gain and power has always been the seeds of war since the beginning of time- it is big business. Thank you Ron Paul for your stand on this issue and being brave enough to tell the truth. I pray you become our next president.

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    • fred the protectionist

      Oh so you'd like to manufacture US weapons in China, ok I see.

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      • Is that what he said? I missed that completely... but I do see where you're comming from, it's been obvious for a long time. I feel so sorry for you... sorry you don't believe in truth, justice and the constitution. You are a neocon and you probably work for the military industrial complex if you're not a wall street banker. You must really enjoy being a minority seeing how much time yo spend here.

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        • fred the protectionist

          You open-border/free-trader Libertarians empower the "military industrial complex" and "wall street bankers." And then the sickest of sicky things happen, you open-border/free-trader Libertarians pretend you are populists, when you don't have a populist atom in your body.

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  7. Anyone notice Dr. Paul standing far away from the other 3 charlatans.

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  8. Anyone every hear of the Ludlow Massacre??? Probabley not...it ain't in your traditional American History books. The Ludlow Massacre is a tragic result of the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-1914. However, my point is this...Our times are no different today than they were 100 yrs ago, in that the Governments intrest is not in protecting "people", the lives of the poor, and the powerless...Its intrest is in, first and formost, the power of the wealth and in doing the bidding of the corporations (esp. the big banks). As it stands today there is no money in helping the poor, housing the homeless, bettering education, decriminalizing drugs (or at least marijuana, which I am all for), or demiliterizing. Sure we spend hundreds of billions every year on our military, and don't get me wrong I do not support this Government with how it spends my hard earned tax dollars, especially when unemployment is up and our economy is so poor...but, and it's a BIG BUT, our Government is addicted to the money that having a War On (anything) creates. ...and just like how the Ludlow Massacre played out, by how the Government did NOT protect the Constitutional rights of the poor and powerless, taking intrest in protechting only the wealth of corporations...Justifying its murderous means by its progressing ends.
    Yes I know that Ron Paul stands for "brining the Constitution back..." or so he says...And I hope he means it, but we (Americans) are not just trying to fix the social/economical/foreign issues of the last decade or two or three, we have over a century of white hypocritic elitist agenda's to contend with. Put it another way...The one percent that owns the majority of the wealth ain't gonna just role over and give in, they've got too much to lose and enough power to put up a vicious fight.

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  9. Barney Frank is just pretending to be concern just to score political points to make himself look good. When he opposes everything that Ron Paul was suggesting. Ron Paul is by far the most honest and ethical politician we have.

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  10. Please, he's just trying to drum up votes for November. THEY ALL ARE...
    Did anyone see that they APPROVED a multi-billion dollar defense package, but no Jobs Bill? WTF is going on? I feel like crying...I don't understand why Halliburton & these other defense contractors keep getting billions (OVERSEAS, BTW)...This plane they want to keep building isn't even needed...they were going to phase it out.

    Oh my god moment. OH MY GOD!!!!! Everyone should be extremely concerned about this..I'm in Chicago & crime is THROUGH THE ROOF. People getting robbed & shot in decent neighborhoods. A friend of mine just fought some guy and ran becasue he tried to steal her purse. She is freaked out. I'm afraid to walk to the train at night...WHY? Because there are NO JOBS and people are geting desperate. I feel like nomatter what we do, our gov't just doesn't listen, And these "blue dogs" paaaaaaaalease...wolf in sheeps clothing. The jobs bill would have funded...JOBS...not just the unemployed. How will we get to interviews? Print resumes? Eat? Pay rent? Pay..ANYTHING? Jesus we are screwed while the defense people line their pockets (cheney) Now whether you are left or right, you cannot leave people out in the cold in your own country while a war that kills our American Soldiers carries on AND crime increases in the states. C'mon people, let's get together and really let dems & repubs know we've had enough. You have to have had a good job that you lost through no fault of your own, and talk about the taxes (FICA) we've paid to secure our unemployment! Now they just go into making 50 million dollar planes to fight a lost cause and pay the big defense contractors. Once again...OH MY GOD!

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    • ST123
      Your friend needs some robbery insurance, I recommend Smith & Wesson's 9mm compact coverage, small and very effective insurance.

      As for Government Spending, Ron Paul and US True Conservatives
      DON'T WANT MORE GOVERNMENT!!!!
      Government spending IS THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.

      Lower Taxes to an EVERYONE PAYS 15% VAT, NO other TAXES, state or local.
      >> END THE FED's FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING money machine!
      Eliminate most if not all of the USELESS "Departments of Spending"
      Finally >>> End the Entitlements, we don't have the money !

      Then and only then will JOBS spring up from the RUINS that our Government has orchestrated our economy into.

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    • fred the protectionist

      Well there are no jobs cause Libertarian/Neocon open-border/free-traders gave them all away to 3rd world oligarchies.

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      • Right Fred, it has nothing to do with uncompetitive levels of taxation and regulation in the US. (sarcasm)

        Places like China have competitive wages, we used to offset that effect by being more productive per capita -- more bang for the buck. Maintaining that means maintaining good levels of education and innovation.That's hard to do when the government is destroying the public education system.

        Don't forget the fact that the Chinese have an artificially undervalued currency that makes their exports cheaper abroad, and our exports more expensive to them. You wouldn't want to acknowledge that fact though, because it would undermine your theory that inflation is good.

        Oh, one last thing. Don't forget the loss of potential jobs in uncompetitive industries that are "protected" by the US government, never allowing them an incentive to mature on the global market. When you remove competition, you become less competitive. 1 + 1 = 2

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        • Libertarian777

          actually, according to the Federal Reserve
          1+1 = 14 through the 'multiplier' effect.

          So if they print unlimited amounts of money the GDP of the USA will reach infinity.

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        • Conversely, it will take at least double digit GDP growth for the next 70 years for the US to pay off the mess of debt it's government has created.

          Unfotunately, printing new money doesn't create any new capital goods or consumer goods, nor does it magically whisk new resources into existence. It simply dilutes the money in your pocket. (As you know)

          As I've read somewhere before, if money creation is going to be our solution to debt, why don't we have congress stamp out a pretty copper penny, call it a hundred trillion and pay off the Fed in one fell swoop. How could they complain? We'd have given them back the same thing they gave us -- nothing of real value.
          As little economic sense as that makes, it still makes more sense than borrowing it from the Fed at interest. They lend us fake money and we pay it back with real goods and services. Not too bright.

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        • fred the protectionist

          "Places like China have competitive wages"

          Yes yes I know you Libertarians think Americans should be earning Chinese wages to be "competitive". That's right America you should be earning 50 cent an hour, vote Libertarian and they'll "make it happen".

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        • Ok Fred, try reading my comment one more time. This time take off your bias-goggles and you may notice I never said a word about what America's wages should be. I simply pointed out that our relatively high wages are dependant on the fact that our workers remain more productive than their competition.

          Now either present a logical argument against my statement, or continue to bend it out of context as usual. I could care less, it's not my credibility you are destroying.

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        • Since you seem incapable of doing any learning on your own, I will spell it out for you:

          "Places like China have competitive wages, we used to offset that effect by being more productive per capita — more bang for the buck. Maintaining that means maintaining good levels of education and innovation.That’s hard to do when the government is destroying the public education system."

          There's the comment, go ahead and point out where I said that Americans should have lesser wages. Try not to ignore the part where I mention "innovation and education" this time.

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        • Moral of the Story:

          High productivity = high wages

          low productivity = low wages

          We can't go changing the rules of economics simply because Americans want to earn high wages with low productivity. The level of productivity combined with the wage rate demanded is what determines competitiveness. I'm sorry that economics doesn't agree with you Fred, but that's reality.

          You would rather end all trade?

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        • fred the protectionist

          "Places like China have competitive wages"

          Translation: "Americans should be earning 50 cents an hour to be competitive."

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        • fred the protectionist

          "Moral of the Story:

          High productivity = high wages

          low productivity = low wages"

          Translation: "Americans earn too much money, need to bring slavery back."

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        • Thanks for making me look more credible than you.

          Let's be clear, I said that America's relatively high wages are a result of their high productivity (more bang for the buck).

          How can we logically expect to maintain high wages that are dependant on education and innovation if we aren't maintaining education and innovation?

          Protectionism?

          Exchange is essential to the development of civilization. How do you explain that away? Ignore it and take something else I said out of context. Not very convincing.

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        • fred the protectionist

          "America’s relatively high wages are a result of their high productivity"

          Wrong, America's relatively...relatively high wages? What? America's wages are thee highest in the world, which means those wages have only one place to go, DOWN!

          Anyways America's high wages is the result of a Constitution, Tariffs, a formerly honorable leadership, a formerly Christian culture, and a lucky geographical position of a large amount of rich land surrounded by a moat for defense. High productivity is a side effect not a cause. You Libertarians oppose all of that while the infrastructure crumbles. You oppose the Constitution, you oppose Tariffs, you oppose honorable leadership, you oppose Christianity, you even oppose international borders, and you even oppose the infrastructure because the Federal Government funds it. Libertarians are open-border/free-trade liberals, and you have quite allot in common with the neocons.

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        • "relatively" adv.
          In a relative manner; in comparison with something else: a relatively minor problem.

          As in:
          -- American wages are high in 'relation' to the wages of China.

          Commonly mis-understood to be a synonym for the word 'moderate', or 'mediocre'.

          Fred said:
          " High productivity is a side effect not a cause"

          Q: A side effect of what?
          A: Relatively high levels of education and innovation (which results in highly efficient use of labour and capital in relation to other countries).

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      • Fred the P...

        That's because American UNIONS have demanded ever more exorbitant wages for "screwing" US here in American. "Protectionism" is nothing more than Government cronyism, i.e. protecting a favored industry from competition at the expense of the American consumer.

        But Fred doesn't really care about the American consumer because Freds a UNION man, and a National Socialist too, aka NAZI!

        Fred likes to PROTECT incompetence, like Teacher's Union, you know the same ones that produce substandard American students that are 27th in the world.
        Did you know that there are now more Chinese that speak and write perfect English then there are American in the US.
        Did you know that India now produces more Cum Laud level scientist than America has K-12, Under and Post Graduate college students combined!

        But don't worry, Fred will protect us from all that, right Fred?
        RIGHT FRED?

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        • fred the protectionist

          "That’s because American UNIONS have demanded ever more exorbitant wages for “screwing” US here in American. "

          You open-border/free-trade Libertarians are also hell bent on destroying all non-union jobs so the average wage in America is 50 cents an hour.

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      • Fred, I'd like to know what label you put on yourself... holier than thou?

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        • fred the protectionist

          "Fred, I’d like to know what label you put on yourself"

          For the reading impaired, I label myself protectionist.

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