The cost of war in perpetuity has been staggering. While the costs in blood are significant, what our war spending binge has done to our annual budgets and our national debt are a disgrace.
Think about it, as I pointed out several years ago, we had budget surpluses in 2000. Our budget picture was so strong that the CBO said that we were looking at around $5.6 trillion in projected surpluses back in 2001. Here's the real fun part. If we had stayed on that pace we would have paid the national debt off around 2012 (or about three years ago).
So, what happened?
We flushed trillions in projected surpluses down the toilet, that's what happened. How did we do that? Below I explain how we went from budget surpluses and a $5.3 trillion national debt in 2001 to well over $16 trillion in debt today.
#1: RECKLESS TAX CUTS = COLLAPSING OUR REVENUE BASE
We were running budget surpluses in 2001. Then we went on a reckless tax cutting binge. This collapsed our national income base, which put revenue and spending on a divergent course that only got worse after the market collapse of 2008.
Simply put, when you don't have the income you can't pay the bills.
#2: OUR MILITARY BUDGET IS OUT OF CONTROL
When it comes to military budgets we spend far more than any nation on earth. Take a look at what the next six (or the top 15) spend on their military budgets ...
#3: WHAT WE REALLY SPEND ON THE MILITARY ...
Then we have this. In 2013 The Atlantic produced a chart that shows what we actually spend on military and "other" military-related items - which includes the VA, military retirements, etc. When we add up all the contingency costs The Atlantic showed that we actually spend well over $994 billion a year on the military ...
At the end of the day, we do have a spending problem. But not for the reasons you might think. What we really have is a revenue and military-spending problem.
If this wasn't enough, think about this. After all that spending, Americans are constantly told that we still need to be scared. Apparently all that fighting and spending we do still hasn't made us safe.
Think it through. Why we fight isn't necessarily because it makes us any safer (we're actually pretty safe). It's to feed a growing military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about more than 50 years ago.
I'll leave it at that for now.