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Ortiz-Legg replies 

San Luis Obispo

As our country struggles to stay afloat today, we are forced to review every priority. A hard look at the facts reveals an excessive military budget is simply economic waste. Therefore, when 42 cents of every tax dollar gets dumped into military spending, should we not question the soundness of this investment?
 
The suggestion is made that defense spending is a good instrument for job creation. First, no one knows how much we actually spend. The baseline DoD budget is only one part of a trillion-dollar venture. While pilots and technicians have been well trained, Pentagon data shows that today significant elements of Air Force and Navy combat pilots get one-half to one-third of the in-air training time their predecessors received, for ex-ample, in the early ’70s.
 
GDP can be an important metric for determining how much the United States could afford to spend on defense, but it doesn’t reflect what we should spend, what the cost of opportunities are, or what burden is placed on Americans in the future. After eight years of elevated defense spending and extensive tax cuts, the U.S. added $3 trillion to the gross national debt. Historically, war spending was just not done without budgetary restraints. I did not even mention such private profiteers as Blackwater Worldwide, which posted 400 percent profits during those same years. 
 
Yes, we have immeasurable technological advantages over our current enemies, but they have meant little for winning today’s conflicts. Notably, 59 percent of the entire research and development budget of the United States is defense related while the majority of other countries (our competitors) are focused on non-defense R&D. It is a concern that International diplomacy efforts receive one penny from every tax dollar. Words are the weapons of diplomacy; they cost less and cause less collateral damage than military hardware.  But they would mean less profit for the merchants of military hardware

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