Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teachers in CA Receive More in Retirement Than Active Teachers in More Than Half of U.S. States

According to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System 2010 Summary Report to Members, the average retired California public school teacher receives an annual pension of $51,072 (see chart above).  According to Department of Education data, that's more in retirement pay than the average current salary for active elementary and secondary public school teachers in 28 states, and almost as much as the national average for active public school teachers of $55,350.  

If you take out the top three highest states for public school salaries (New York at $71,470, California at $70,458 and Massachusetts at $68,000), the average retired California teacher receives an annual pension that is the same as the average salary for teachers in 47 states.  And compared to teachers in the lowest paid state of South Dakota (average salary of $35,136), California teachers make 45% more in retirement than South Dakota teachers earn on average while teaching. 

Thanks to Steve Bartin for the links to Intercepts.

164 Comments:

At 3/30/2011 9:41 AM, Blogger Ironman said...

Speaking of teacher compensation - I picked up the national-level pay data from your public vs private school teacher post earlier this month and visualized it. As a bonus, I worked out the comparison between total pay + benefits for both....

 
At 3/30/2011 10:03 AM, Blogger Robby said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/30/2011 10:14 AM, Blogger Eric said...

What's a pension? And why am I paying for someone else to have one?

 
At 3/30/2011 11:07 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I am beginning to think we need to sunset all public pensions. They are time-bombs for future taxpayers.

BTW, this is from military.com, a website devoted to military employees.

"Military Retired Pay Overview

The military (active duty) retirement system is arguably the best retirement deal around. Unlike most retirement plans, the Armed Forces offer a pension (technically a "reduced compensation for reduced services.") with benefits, that start the day you retire, no matter how old you are. That means you could start collecting a regular retirement pension as early as 37 years old. What's more, that pension check can grow with a cost of living adjustment each year."

So, the military says it offers the "best retirement deal around."

I wonder when Dr. Perry will begin to explore the fantastic expense embedded into our military retirement and VA programs--all financed by taxing dollars out of the wealth- and jobs-creating private sector.

Side note to Eric: My pension is a building I bought, and I am paying down the mortagage on. No taxpayers involved.

 
At 3/30/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey pseudo benny, you ought to quit attacking the military...

You know if it wasn't for the military you might not have the chance to say all the silly and totally inane things you spout off...

 
At 3/30/2011 11:17 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

What's a pension? And why am I paying for someone else to have one?

You are paying because they bribe voters to elect politicians to give them what they want. The only way to stop the scam is to take away from politicians that power.

 
At 3/30/2011 11:19 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

So, the military says it offers the "best retirement deal around."

It lies. You can't live off a military pension.

 
At 3/30/2011 11:20 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Juandos-

Explain. I only quoted from a pro-military website. They say they have the best retirement system in the USA, you can draw an excellent pension at age 37, and it is at taxpayer expense. BTW, military retirees also get VA--also free, at taxpayer expense.

I stand by my sentiment that all public pension programs need to be sunsetted.

What part of this sentiment do you disagree with, and why?

 
At 3/30/2011 11:28 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Vange-

You are badly mistaken. Military pensions are fat city.

This is from the website "The Military Wallet". This website also expresses the view that veterans get excellent pensions.

"It is reasonable to assume that the average enlisted member will be able to retire at 20 years having achieved the rank of E-7, and the average officer should be able to retire at 20 years at the rank of O-5. Of course there will be outliers based on when you served, your career field and other factors, but these ranks and service times should apply to the majority of careers (if anything I am aiming on the conservative side because many people choose to serve longer than the 20 year mark, earning an extra 2.5%-3.5% on their retirement pay per additional service year, depending on whether they take the high 3 retirement plan or the Redux retirement plan).

Example Monthly and Annual Military Retirement Pay
As we mentioned, we will look at a military retiree with 20 years service at the ranks of E-7 for enlisted and O-5 for officers. The base pay for these ranks in 2009 is:

■E-7 Monthly: $3,995.40
■E-7 Annually: $47,944.80
■O-5 Monthly: $7,697.40
■O-5 Annually: $92,368.80


Who cannot live off of $3,995.40 a month? Or $7697 a month?

You seem completely out of touch with the facts of the case.

Military pensions and VA benefits now cost federal taxpayers (that's me) $100 billion a year, and are skyrocketing.

 
At 3/30/2011 11:34 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

And remember, these veteran pensions start as early as age 37...they do not have to wait until 55, let along age 65, to collect.

Oh, this is a sweet, sweet deal, at taxpayer expense. But since when do taxpayers ever get the sweet end of a deal?

 
At 3/30/2011 11:49 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Who cannot live off of $3,995.40 a month? Or $7697 a month?

I couldn't. Ever try to raise a family on $3995.40 a month and still maintain a middle class existence? And after 20 years you are only eligible for 50% of base pay, which goes up by 2.5% for each subsequent year.

 
At 3/30/2011 11:57 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Vange-

$4,000 a month is very close to national median family income of $48k a year or so. And that was the low end fo military retirees. Plus they get free VA.

So a guy at age 37 gets $4k a month for doing nothing--and you say he cannot support his family, even though his income is close to the national median family income?

You are woefully out of touch with most Americans Vange.

I am happy that you have higher monthly income--but that does not mean we should endow public-sector retirees with higher incomes also.

By your lights, the CA public school teachers on $50k a year in retirement income are also suffering.

Forget it--let's wipe out all public pensions. Tell young people to go into public service, but plan to get out into the private sector after about 10 years max of service. End of story.

 
At 3/30/2011 11:58 AM, Blogger Wajohn said...

The cost of living is more expensive in CA than in other states. Is there a chart that takes this into consideration? We'd be able to do better comparisons.

 
At 3/30/2011 12:06 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Benji": "... the Armed Forces offer a pension (technically a "reduced compensation for reduced services.") with benefits, that start the day you retire, no matter how old you are."

Yes, and that pension may literally have cost them an arm and a leg. Of course, parasites like "Benji" are perfectly happy to enjoy the rights and privileges that other, better men and women have sacrificed and died to provide for him without so much as a thank-you, but the majority of us recognize and appreciate that all we have has been won at a sometimes bloody cost to others.

So, "Benji", when you get all of your welfare sucking friends off the public tit, get back to me and we will discuss military pensions.

 
At 3/30/2011 12:12 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The cost of living is more expensive in CA than in other states. Is there a chart that takes this into consideration?"

Retirees are not required to live in the state that they have worked in, so it doesn't matter.

 
At 3/30/2011 12:19 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

She is Dead-

As stated, I oppose all public-sector employee pensions, period. That includes the military pensions, which appear to be among the fattest around.

Why should we tax the jobs- and wealth-creating private sector to support public-sector retirees?

Why are not public employees satisfied with having leeched money out of productive tax-paying citizens for decades, but then want to be lifetime parasites?

You support public employees becoming lifetime tax-eating parasites in retirement?

 
At 3/30/2011 12:33 PM, Blogger The Teacher said...

This post is missleading. Since there was a limit to how much I could write, I will post my response on my Blog at

http://crazynormaltheclassroomexpose.com/

 
At 3/30/2011 12:42 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Explain. I only quoted from a pro-military website"...

Still flinging the B.S., eh pseudo benny?

So do you think these pay scales are worth taking a chance of getting maimed or killed for?

 
At 3/30/2011 12:52 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Juandos-

Military employees have lifetime access to VA, regardless of whether they sustained any injuries while employed. They are covered.

Indeed, a good pal of mine served two years at Ft. Dix, NJ, clerk-typist during the Vietnam War. He recently had cataract surgery free from the VA. He was 64 at time of surgery.

I have been paying federal income taxes for 34 straight years. Sheesh, that must run into several hundred thousand dollars by now.

I am a parasite? I am ungrateful? Along the way, I have created jobs, employment for others. (At one point, I had six employees, now down to one).

The parasites are the ones who take my taxes. I am not the parasite.

You guys have it all backwards.

 
At 3/30/2011 12:54 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"I wonder when Dr. Perry will begin to explore the fantastic expense embedded into our military retirement and VA programs--all financed by taxing dollars out of the wealth- and jobs-creating private sector. "

I agree 100% with you. Military compensation needs to be addressed, but of course it has different structure because of a different job requirement. But I agree with you.

"It lies. You can't live off a military pension."

Totally ridiculous.

"I couldn't. Ever try to raise a family on $3995.40 a month and still maintain a middle class existence? "

Just when I thought you couldn't say something more silly, you go and outdo yourself. Thats 48k a year, for one individual, at the ripe old age of...37

"Yes, and that pension may literally have cost them an arm and a leg."

So pay them hazard pay instead.

"are perfectly happy to enjoy the rights and privileges that other, better men and women have sacrificed and died to provide for him without so much as a thank-you,"

We pay them for a service. Thats our "thank you", and they agree to perform those duties in exchange for their pay. This is hardly a moral issue. If we "elevate" military service to "hero status", we're doing no different than the Left who elevates "teachers" to hero status, and use it as a justification for more and more pay. They're not heroes...they'r workers like the rest of us.

"Military pensions and VA benefits now cost federal taxpayers (that's me) $100 billion a year, and are skyrocketing."

142 billion to be exact.

 
At 3/30/2011 12:56 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

Benji,

Unless things have changed significantly since I got out of the Army in 1997, 20 years will only get you 1/2 your base pay. So cut those figures in 1/2.

 
At 3/30/2011 12:59 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"You guys have it all backwards."

Agreed. For example, even the Coast Guard (of all places) offers about 15% greater pay compensation than a comparable private market job for a college grad with a masters degree. Thats plainly ridiculous. Throw in all the other perks, and the benefits exceed 25-30% the private market. This is for a desk job.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:02 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:03 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"20 years will only get you 1/2 your base pay. So cut those figures in 1/2."

Ok. Even so, at age 37 he/she's getting 24k in guaranteed income + VA benefits, with the free time for another job. Thats not a bad deal.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:04 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

In reference to my earlier post, for example. 20 Years as an enlisted man you could reasonably retire as an E7. With 20 years service, retiring in 2010 as an E7 your retirement pay would be $1,846per month or roughly $22,152 per year. A far cry from the $50K that Benji would have you believe there "wealthy" military veterans are raking in.

You can find a military pay calculator at http://militarypay.defense.gov/retirement/calc/01_finalpay.html if you prefer to check it for yourself.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:07 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Free2Choose:

The figures I have used are from military websites. That is what they say veterans with 20 years of service get--that is the pension level, not the pay level.

And they get VA on top of that.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:12 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

"The figures I have used are from military websites."
Oh. Ok. I guess as an 8 year Army veteran citing figures obtained from a Military Pay Calculator offered online from the Dept. of Defense, my point is far less credible than yours. Thanks for correcting me.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:13 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

AIG-

$147 billion a year for VA and military pensions? What is the source of that figure?

That would work out $489 annually for every resident of the USA, or $1,958 a year for an average family of four. Every frigging year.

Yeah, I guess Vange is right. After paying your federal taxes, including supporting veterans, it is hard to raise a family in America.

We are being bled dry by federal parasites.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:16 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Free2Choose:

Go to the website "The Military Wallet." I only did a cut-and-paste from that site.

You were not employed by the military for the full 20 years--but I assume you get lifetime free VA care? That I pay for?

But I am the parasite?

 
At 3/30/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

Benji,

First, in reference to military retirement pay, you post:

"$4,000 a month is very close to national median family income of $48k a year or so."

Once I cite you the actual figures for military retirement, your rebuttal is:

"that is the pension level, not the pay level."

I am not sure if you're lazy or just too fucking stupid to do the legwork for yourself, but the Retirement Pay calculator (translation - the monthly INCOME one receives as a military retiree) is freely available from the DOD. I know it's a lot easier and more rewarding to spout off anything you feel supports your position (regardless of the accuracy of your statements), but some of us are more concerned with things like facts. Maybe you should truck it on over to the Puffington Host...I hear they aren't real sticklers for facts over there.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Free2choose you're right. But 22k in guaranteed and increasing pension, plus other benefits (the 22k isn't all there is) at age 37, is a huge privilege. Because this is on top of any job the person would have, at age 37. 22k in many parts of the country is an average family income.

Nothing wrong with compensating military personnel on the level of danger they face, and on the level of recruitment we want to maintain, but the form of compensation is the issue.

Benji, 142 billion "guesstimated" for 2011 according to usgovernmentspending . com

 
At 3/30/2011 1:36 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Frankly, I don't care what benefit levels are for federal retirees, military or civilian. There shouldn't be any retirement or VA benefits, period.

Such programs are time-bombs for taxpayers.

$147 billion for veterans? Are we out of our minds? Where is all the tax money going to come from to pay for all of this?

I am 56 now, and I no longer can afford serious health insurance. I keep Kaiser for the kids.

But I have to pay for pensions and VA for guys who retire in the 30s and 40s. Oh, that makes sense.

We cannot tax our way to military strength.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:40 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"We pay them for a service. Thats our "thank you", and they agree to perform those duties in exchange for their pay."

Defending the country is not a "job", it's a legal responsibility associated with citizenship. It is your PERSONAL responsibility, which you are able to avoid because enough men and women have volunteered to assume it for YOU. As far as I am aware, military compensation is set at a level deemed necessary by the U.S. government to encourage enlistment so that you and "Benji" can remain safely at home, and is not based on demands made by active duty personnel. If you and "Benji" think that you can get someone else to fulfill your PERSONAL responsibility for less, then by all means do it. Otherwise, you can either pay-up or show-up, I don't really give a damned which you choose.

"This is hardly a moral issue."

This is absolutely a moral issue. The rights and privileges that you enjoy as an American citizen have been handed down to you from the bloodied, callused hands of those that came before you. They come with a PERSONAL responsibility to give everything, even your life, to preserve and protect them for future generations. The fact that you are allowed to remain safely at home while others honor your responsibilities is a PRIVILEGE, not a right. Did Pat Tillman need your money? If you think that your "13 pieces of silver" pays the bill and expresses your gratitude then you are a fool.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:48 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

She is Dead-

Military employees are not volunteers or draftees. They are employees.

We cannot tax our way to military strength.

We simply have to cut military and veterans outlays. We are strangling the free enteprise system that pays for all this federal spending.


I also advocate sunsetting the USDA, Education, Labor, Commerce, and HUD. The VA should go to a voucher system, and wiped out.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:52 PM, Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Part of the cost of living in California is paying the cost of living for people who don't to work very much.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:54 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Military employees have lifetime access to VA, regardless of whether they sustained any injuries while employed"...

Wow!

LMAO! So you think a lifetime access is really a good thing, eh?

"I have been paying federal income taxes for 34 straight year"...

And this alleged 'good pal' wasn't paying income taxes?

What's your point?

"The parasites are the ones who take my taxes. I am not the parasite"...

Imagine that! What will your boy friend Obama say about your words (that you are parroting from others) of angst?

 
At 3/30/2011 1:54 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Sorry to get you back on topic but, setting patriotism/pacifism aside, why should public school teachers (or other federal/state/local government employees) enjoy such pensions? They don't even exist in the private sector any longer....for a good reason.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:57 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Defending the country is not a "job", it's a legal responsibility associated with citizenship."

Of course its not. We have a professional volunteer army.

"It is your PERSONAL responsibility, which you are able to avoid because enough men and women have volunteered to assume it for YOU."

My responsibility is to pay the tax to provide collective defense, and which is used to hire specialists (ie soldiers). And we hire specialists, so that I and you don't have to go do it.

"As far as I am aware, military compensation is set at a level deemed necessary by the U.S. government to encourage enlistment"

Perfectly ok with that. The issue is the form these compensations take. If they are paid for services rendered, I have no problem. If they are paid over a lifetime at increasing rates, then a lot of problems arise.

"If you and "Benji" think that you can get someone else to fulfill your PERSONAL responsibility for less, then by all means do it. Otherwise, you can either pay-up or show-up, I don't really give a damned which you choose."

We can certainly fulfill the service for less expenditures. When the armed forces pay 20-30% over market prices for desk jockeys, I'm sure we can do it cheaper. Don't try to infuse emotion and "hero status" into the issue. The issue is about delivering a service at reasonable prices.

 
At 3/30/2011 1:57 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"This is absolutely a moral issue. The rights and privileges that you enjoy as an American citizen have been handed down to you from the bloodied, callused hands of those that came before you."

Agreed. But we paid them to do it. Our job was to provide the collective pool of money to pay them for their service.

"They come with a PERSONAL responsibility to give everything, even your life, to preserve and protect them for future generations. The fact that you are allowed to remain safely at home while others honor your responsibilities is a PRIVILEGE, not a right."

It certainly isn't a privilege. Its the result of the arrangement by which we pay specialists in defense, to provide defense. Just like we pay cops to do the same. Its not a "privilege" not to be a cop, or a "duty" to be one. Its a job, for which people volunteer and sign a contract.

"Did Pat Tillman need your money? If you think that your "13 pieces of silver" pays the bill and expresses your gratitude then you are a fool."

He volunteered, as did everyone else. And most volunteer because of the benefits and compensation we provide. All good, except the issue is how to provide these compensations in the most cost-effective way for us.

 
At 3/30/2011 2:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Free2Choose said...

"I know it's a lot easier and more rewarding to spout off anything you feel supports your position (regardless of the accuracy of your statements), but some of us are more concerned with things like facts. Maybe you should truck it on over to the Puffington Host...I hear they aren't real sticklers for facts over there."

"like"

 
At 3/30/2011 2:35 PM, Blogger Paul said...

I don't think Free2Choose gets lifetime benefits from the butchers at the VA. I was in the reserves for 8 years, including Desert Storm, and I get absolutely no VA benefits.

Benji, just to clarify, do I count as a parasite?

 
At 3/30/2011 2:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Military employees have lifetime access to VA, regardless of whether they sustained any injuries while employed. They are covered."

This VA report, which covers only environmental problems at VA facilities, such as bugs, mold, water leaks, peeling paint, etc., and doesn't even address actual care issues, might temper your outrage at what a good deal having VA benefits is. I, personally, would prefer to get my medical care at the DMV, another fine example of a quality, government run enterprise.

 
At 3/30/2011 2:39 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"from the butchers at the VA."

And yet it still costs $142 billion. Kind of proves Benji's point.

 
At 3/30/2011 2:39 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"My responsibility is to pay the tax to provide collective defense ..."

Why don't you actually read the law and a few history books and get back to me, dimwit. Lets' say we eliminate all forms of military compensation and no one "volunteers", do you think that the government will simply throw up their hands and allow the nation to go undefended? No, they'll drag your ungrateful little ass down to the induction center and make sure that you understand just what your PERSONAL responsibilities are. Of course, with you and "Benji" on the frontline we will be able to cut way back on all that expensive military hardware. After all, you guys wouldn't want to come of as hypocrites, right? But don't worry, no one will ever call you "hero".

"... most volunteer because of the benefits and compensation we provide."

Several of my friends sons have served in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I have never heard them talk about their military pay or utter the words "military pension". They all had college degrees and jobs before they enlisted and decided to serve because the nation was attacked. They didn't need your "job". And, yes, they are heroes.

 
At 3/30/2011 2:43 PM, Blogger Paul said...

AIG,

Yep, I'd like to see VA shut down and
give veterans vouchers instead.

 
At 3/30/2011 2:53 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Veterans' benefits and the VA are among the long roll call of "federal entitlements" that taxpayers have to finance. We are being bankrupted by entitlements, in case you have not noticed.

We cannot tax our way to military strength, nor is throwing money at "defense" and the even more dubious "homeland security" any way to safeguard true security.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:00 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Yep, I'd like to see VA shut down and give veterans vouchers instead."

Great. Then we're all in agreement. That, for example, is one way of reducing expenditures for us taxpayers, while at the same time introducing appropriate incentives into the system.

" Lets' say we eliminate all forms of military compensation and no one "volunteers","

Without having to answer the part of the statement following this, I'm not making an argument for eliminating compensation. I'm making the argument that this is a service which requires compensation like all other services provided by people in society. As such, just as we shouldn't and can't afford to put taxpayer money at the leisure of public employee unions to spend on pensions and benefits, neither should we do the same for the military.

"Of course, with you and "Benji" on the frontline we will be able to cut way back on all that expensive military hardware."

We introduced a system of "mercenary" military specifically so that me and Benji wouldn't have to do a s**t job of providing that service, but professional "mercenaries" could be hired to specialize in it. You're talking to me about "personal responsibility", and I'm talking to you about how to best and most efficiently deliver the service. The two have nothing to do with each other.

"I have never heard them talk about their military pay or utter the words "military pension". They all had college degrees and jobs before they enlisted and decided to serve because the nation was attacked. They didn't need your "job". And, yes, they are heroes"

Good for them. What's your point? For the average Leftist 20 year old, "teachers" are heroes too. But what does that argument have to do with the service provided vs the cost of attaining that service?

 
At 3/30/2011 3:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Benji

While it appears that most readers on this thread dispute your numbers, I don't believe anyone actually favors unsustainable levels of pay or benefits for public employees.

A better argument might be whether all these jobs should even exist. I think most here agree that many of them shouldn't. Hopefully your references to "parasites" means that you don't think anyone should even have those jobs.

If there are legitimate public sector jobs, however, you have to admit that they must provide some acceptable level of pay and/or benefits to attract qualified people away from private sector jobs. a point you seem to have missed, when I made it on another thread.

Your suggestion to eliminate pensions and benefits for public employees would result in many jobs going unfilled. In my view, this would probably be a GOOD thing, you understand, but if there's a need to hire people, they must be offered something that will attract them. And, if you need a public employee, and hire one, you can't call them parasites for accepting taxpayer money.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:09 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Ron,

Yes good points. But this isn't the current system. Public employees get considerably higher compensation than their private service counterparts, for jobs which are not necessarily tied to performance. These same faults exist in the military as well.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:22 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"I'm making the argument that this is a service which requires compensation like all other services provided by people in society ... professional "mercenaries" could be hired to specialize in it."

The U.S. military already employs thousands of civilian contractors for non-combat services. So, let's just see if we can work out what the market based rate of compensation should be for combat personnel.

"Guards for private security firms can typically make between $400 and $600 per day. Guards employed by Blackwater, a high-profile American company ... are paid up to $1000 per day." -- "Private Warriors", PBS Frontline

How do you explain the tremendous difference in compensation between U.S. combat personnel and your "mercenaries"? It seems that you and "Benji" have been getting a free ride. Why doesn't that surprise me?

 
At 3/30/2011 3:29 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I think government employment of any kind should be limited to young people in for 10 years max. A great place to learn something, then get out into the private sector.

No pension benefits. Pension systems are bankrupting us.

BTW, I do not think being in the military is "sh*t" work. I think we should have volunteer military, and small professional officer cadre in for 10 years max, no pensions.

We cannot tax our way to defense, nor spend our way to security.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:33 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Che,

95% of US military personnel do not go into combat situations for any prolonged period of time. Blackwater personnel go into the most dangerous situations 95% of the time. Not to mention that Blackwater personnel are former special forces, ie they come from the top 0.1% of former military personnel. Again, service and performance based. I got no problem with that.

We manage to pay cops, strangely, but somehow the military is different. Why?

 
At 3/30/2011 3:35 PM, Blogger AIG said...

PS: Of course private security and blackwater are paid "up to" that much only on days they deploy in specific missions. They don't get paid that every day of the year.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:37 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"You're talking to me about "personal responsibility", and I'm talking to you about how to best and most efficiently deliver the service."

No, I'm pointing out that "delivering the service" is actually your PERSONAL responsibility. The fact that the government has, for the moment, decided to meet it's defense needs through an all volunteer force does not absolve you of that responsibility. No matter how much you would prefer to ignore it or blather on about national defense being a "service", you are, by virtue of being an able bodied citizen of the U.S., enrolled in the militia. If they need you, they will take you, period.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:39 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"They don't get paid that every day of the year."

They do if they are required to be at your beck and call 24/7.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:46 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"I think we should have volunteer military, and small professional officer cadre in for 10 years max, no pensions."

Which only demonstrates, of course, that you're an idiot.

 
At 3/30/2011 3:49 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Not to mention that Blackwater personnel are former special forces ... service and performance based. I got no problem with that."

Just more gibberish. There are guys serving right this moment, in regular army and marine units, with more actual combat experience than the "former special forces" employed by outfits like Blackwater.

 
At 3/30/2011 4:13 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

If so, then so were our Founding Fathers. That is exactly the type of military they precribed.

BTW, people forget how Congress gave to President Washington no--none--zilcho--military in his first term in office. This shortly after Redcoats had nearly beat us in the Revolutionary War. Our Founding Fathers detested standing militaries.

Until the 1960s, to be right-wing in America was to also detest standing militaries and related expenses. It was leftie FDR who wanted to beef-up the military, and ran into serious R-Party opposition. We again demobilized, nearly completely, after WWII.

A professional, heavily pensioned and expensive military emerged after Richard Nixon. The era of "soak the taxpayer" began.

Switzerland has an all-volunteer military. Russia basically has no military. There are other ways handle bona-fide national defense than our "throw money at it" system.

We cannot tax and spend our way to real national defense.

 
At 3/30/2011 4:23 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Che,

It most certainly is not my personal responsibility to provide anything for anyone else. It just so happened, that defense is one of those goods which provides me with a certain benefit, and which is delivered best when collectively provided (ie a TAX, not a physical provision of the service by me, because it would REDUCE the efficiency of the service if I did so)

It is no different than a police force. I have zero personal responsibility to defend you from a thief. But I realize that the best way to defend myself against thieves, is to have a collective defense force aimed at catching thieves elsewhere as well. And so I pay a professional "mercenary" cop to provide that service, since this is the most efficient way of doing so, for MY benefit.

There is no word in the Constitution about me having any responsibility to the federal government.

 
At 3/30/2011 4:24 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"does not absolve you of that responsibility"

Again, my "responsability" (for lack of a better word), is to pay the tax to provide the service. I have no personal obligation to join any service, and this for a good reason; specialization. I can pay someone to specialize in some defense activity for years and years. I'm not arguing against paying people for the job :)

You seem to however, without accepting the fact that the reason the current system exists, is because it provides a far superior service at far lower costs (ie, including the cost of taking me and you out of the economy for 1-2 years to play in the sand with guns)

"by virtue of being an able bodied citizen of the U.S., enrolled in the militia. If they need you, they will take you, period"

Certainly not by virtue of being an "able bodies citizen", but rather by virtue of a legislative act. This act was wrong when it was introduced, and it is still wrong today.

You have to understand a simple thing about the military; a group of professional specialists who train for years in a particular activity, will kick the b**t out of any conscript army no matter how large. The fact that we have such an army, is the reason we can get 1,000:1 casualty rates against any enemy in the world. WHY would I...want to impose a massive cost on society...by trying to turn it back into a Vietnam era army? I'm just talking about the FORM of compensation.

 
At 3/30/2011 4:35 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Benji,

I disagree with you, because none of this is supported by reality. A professional military does not cost more than a conscript army. A conscription is massively destructive in that it takes out of the economy for 1-2 or more years, the entirety of the young male population and removes any economic productivity they would have made in those 1-2 years. These costs, of course, are not accounted for. Second, a professional military provides a far higher degree of service than any conscription model. Third, Switzerland has a conscript army, not a volunteer one. We have a volunteer army.

Russia, along with just about every military in the developed world, is moving to a professional army and eliminating conscription. The best performing model is now well established.

Lastly, the Constitution provides for a standing army for the federal government. It does not, however, prescribe how such an army should be created. It is plainly obvious that far greater costs of military expenditures (as a % of GDP, and as a % of gov. spending) were incurred when the military was a conscript army, then when it become a volunteer army; while the "service" provided increased many-fold.

 
At 3/30/2011 4:40 PM, Blogger NormanB said...

I've done a back-of-the-envelope calculation to come up with what a Calif teacher would have had to put into a fund during his/her employed years to get the $51,072 payout per year.

Using what a 5% payout type of a 30year annuity would cost at retirement is about $800,000. It also works out that if a teacher works for 30 years, contributing to the potential annuity, s/he would be contributing per year about the same as the retirement payout.

So, a simple rule of thumb here (awaiting a true calculation from someone) is that a teacher in Calif is in effect getting twice their salary (excluding the other benefits like health care)as phantom money is put aside for retirement.

But wait a minute, teachers only work for 75% of the year. Thus, since their current annual pay is $70,458 they are really making $93,944 plus if the above calculation is somewhat near the truth we have to add in their $70,458 salart.

Therefore, our poor underpaid teachers are making the equivalent of $164,000 per year. Way to go citizens.

 
At 3/30/2011 4:44 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Norman, you expect teachers to retire at 53? You monster...

 
At 3/30/2011 4:55 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Of course private security and blackwater are paid "up to" that much only on days they deploy in specific missions."

My brother-in-law's father passed away 2 years ago. He was awarded the Indian Arrowhead for having survived the first wave attack on Omaha Beach during WWII. So few men survived the first wave that their names were printed in the back of the book "The Longest Day". You pretend to be the expert, tell me, what was the appropriate level of compensation for that days "specific mission"? Was the military pay his father received that day thank-you enough? And do you think for one moment that if there were no "volunteers" that the government would have simply declared that the objective did not need to be taken? Or, would they simply grab the nearest self-important asshole, like you or "Benji" and throw his ass on that boat?

"I'm not arguing against paying people for the job ..."

The hell your not. I've offered a specific example of private sector compensation for high-risk combat service which suggests that U.S. combat troops are dramatically undercompensated and you immediately bridled at the idea of paying them more. You want someone else to fulfill your responsibilities on the cheap without your ever having to acknowledge their sacrifice or to take a clear look at what it is you truly owe them.

"This act was wrong when it was introduced, and it is still wrong today."

Of course, and we all know that you have no personal responsibility to follow laws you disagree with. Everything is for YOUR benefit.

Pathetic.

 
At 3/30/2011 4:56 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

AIG-

I don't follow--I called for a volunteer (paid a minimum stiped--not employees, so to speak) military, with a small professional cadre. The Framers of Constitution envisioned a lot of militias (volunteer) and a small professional Army. I am not far from what the Founding Fathers wanted.

Actually, we could defend our shores with a few packs of hunter-killer subs (diesel-electrics are nearly untrackable) and some "ballistic" subs. No one would invade us. No one has invaded us since the Redcoats. It is almost inconceivable that anyone will invade us in future decades.

The federal government today is an abomination, so much vastly larger in all its parts than it needs to be.

We don't need the USDA anymore, the Education department, Labor, or Commerce. HUD.

And the Department of Defense is another dinosaur.

The $146 billion in VA-veterans benefits is an incredibly expensive tribute to ossified lard at taxpayer expense.

I find people rant about cutting the federal government, but when faced with the real choices to be made, they start hurling invective.

 
At 3/30/2011 5:00 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

AIG

"Yes good points. But this isn't the current system. Public employees get considerably higher compensation than their private service counterparts, for jobs which are not necessarily tied to performance. These same faults exist in the military as well."

I agree. This is the problem with the public sector, made worse by public employee's unions, where there is no incentive to keep costs down, as there is in the private sector. Governments don't lose business to competitors if they operate inefficiently.

I was trying to make a point with Benji, - a difficult task at any time - that his drastic suggestions to eliminate public service pensions, may have unintended consequences.

If there ARE public jobs to be done, public employees will be required to do them, and they will have to be paid. To argue that there shouldn't BE public employees is a valid argument, but to suggest that there should be some, but that they don't require good incentives to come to work, isn't.

 
At 3/30/2011 5:03 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"Our Founding Fathers detested standing militaries."

And if this were the 1700's, I might be inclined to agree with them.

Regarding the rest of your tripe, I prefer a better military than the Russians and the Swiss. It takes years to master some of the high tech weaponry we have in our arsenal. Our elite soldiers do not master their skill sets over night.

But I know you think it's all a joke. However, very few people would agree with your "10 years and out" foolishness.

 
At 3/30/2011 5:04 PM, Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

One thing should be clear--the rules ought not to change--I made decisions on where to work based in part on total compensation.

If you can't pay the bills you incurred, you are bankrupt.

Clean up the mess and move on.

 
At 3/30/2011 5:05 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"which suggests that U.S. combat troops are dramatically undercompensated"

If its so, than few people would volunteer for the job. Clearly, it isn't so.

"You want someone else to fulfill your responsibilities on the cheap without your ever having to acknowledge their sacrifice or to take a clear look at what it is you truly owe them."

You're deliberately ignoring the parallels to police officers. I have no more personal responsibility to provide military service, as I do to provide police service.

"Of course, and we all know that you have no personal responsibility to follow laws you disagree with. Everything is for YOUR benefit."

If its not for my benefit, than for whose benefit is it? Are you implying that I am required to provide a benefit for someone else? Are you sure you're on the right blog?

 
At 3/30/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Benji, this is not an argument on whether the government expenditures have ballooned out of proportion or not. This is specifically an argument of how to control them. And finding more efficient ways of paying for the military is an important part of it.

Your suggestions, however, are slightly confused. A "volunteer" doesn't mean someone who accepts to do the job for free. You "volunteer" at your job, in exchange for your wage. So a "volunteer" army is exactly what we do have. And it is very important to have an army based on compensation; because we want specialization.

If your argument is that all we need to be focusing on the physical defense of the US, then this is a different argument, which begs the question; what is the most appropriate form of defense? Squashing an enemy at his home, or waiting till he comes to our home? So just liming ourselves to our shores would make for a cheaper military, but greatly reduce our security.

 
At 3/30/2011 5:17 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"The Framers of Constitution envisioned a lot of militias (volunteer) and a small professional Army."

In 1776, when the average farmer with a musket had better training, better equipment and better endurance than any redocat, this was indeed a good way to provide defense. When few Americans were influenced by the rest of the world, this was also good enough.

Clearly a farmer's shotgun, would not be a credible form of defense against a tank or a MiG. Therefore, a different form of military organization is required.

 
At 3/30/2011 5:22 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

AIG-

Given the stupendous bills we are facing to pay for our military and federal government, we no longer have the option of Cadillac service.

We need a Geo Metro in all departments, including defense.

I see zero threat of a military invasion of the United States. We should spend accordingly. I do not believe we are preventing a military invasion of the USA by maintaining troops in foreign nations.

Can you identify the nation that wishes to invade us, and to what purpose?

The Global War on Terrorism is like the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs--not a war to be won, but financed forever, courtesy of US taxpayers.

You simply are not tuned in to the true nature of federal agencies. It is to get bigger budgets, not solve problems.

 
At 3/30/2011 5:23 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

And what part does $146 billion a year in veterans and VA benefits contribute to our national security?

 
At 3/30/2011 6:10 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"If its so, than few people would volunteer for the job. Clearly, it isn't so."

No, it's simply that those who do volunteer do so for reasons other than financial compensation, like patriotism.

"Are you implying that I am required to provide a benefit for someone else?"

Yes. Your responsibility under the law is no different than those who served during WWII, fighting and dying for your benefit and the benefit of future generations.

"Are you sure you're on the right blog?"

Are you sure you're in the right country?

"You have to understand a simple thing about the military; a group of professional specialists who train for years in a particular activity, will kick the b**t out of any conscript army no matter how large."

Who said that? Cornwallis at Yorktown? Some Russian general in Afghanistan?


For the sake of argument, let's say that the number of military volunteers falls off dramatically. The U.S. government responds by increasing compensation. Still, no one steps forward. The government increases compensation again. Still, no takers. Where does the tax payers financial responsibility to keep you out of harms way end?

 
At 3/30/2011 6:15 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Cornwallis?

Russians in Afghanie?

Americans in Vietnam?

Having a hugely expensive military is a great way to spend money, but no assurance of victory.

You can't spend your way to security, nor tax your way to true national defense.

 
At 3/30/2011 6:25 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"In 1776, when the average farmer with a musket had better training, better equipment and better endurance than any redocat ..."

Your historical illiteracy is astounding. The British Army and Navy of that time period ruled the world. They had achieved victory in the first truly global conflict, the Seven Years' War. Their troops were fit and battle hardened. Their military tactics were tried and proven. While some colonials had gained experience fighting with the British in the French and Indian War, your average colonial farmer was outgunned even by his Indian rivals and had little time for military tactics and drill.

 
At 3/30/2011 6:40 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Benji, everything you said in you 5:22pm post, doesn't actually address or refute anything I said. In fact, I mostly agree with you. So why are you arguing with me on those points?

 
At 3/30/2011 6:44 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

AIG-

I thought you were arguing with me.

 
At 3/30/2011 6:47 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"No, it's simply that those who do volunteer do so for reasons other than financial compensation, like patriotism."

Wonderful. Than they have their compensation right there.

"Yes. Your responsibility under the law"

What...law? You keep repeating this "law" where I have a responsibility to defend the federal government. Care to quote it for me? I am not aware of such a law.

"Are you sure you're in the right country?"

Yes I came from one where they forced people into the communist army. The soldiers would come to poor farmer's houses and drag their 18 year old kids out to the army, even when the farmers begged them not to because they needed the young men to work.

"Who said that? Cornwallis at Yorktown? Some Russian general in Afghanistan?"

Both Cornwallis and the Soviets had conscripted armies, facing volunteer armies. Good try though ;)

"For the sake of argument, let's say that the number of military volunteers falls off dramatically. The U.S. government responds by increasing compensation. Still, no one steps forward. The government increases compensation again. Still, no takers. Where does the tax payers financial responsibility to keep you out of harms way end?"

How familiar are you with a supply and demand curve?

PS: No taxpayer has a financial responsibility, or otherwise, to keep me out of harms way any more than I do for any other taxpayer. Both me and the other taxpayer, do so because of the benefit we each receive in return. Obviously the point where that benefit starts dropping off compared to the amount paid, is the problem.

 
At 3/30/2011 6:49 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"I thought you were arguing with me."

Only on the issue of what constitutes a "volunteer", and on what constitutes a "defense". Those of course are not likely to be resolved anytime soon by me and you. But otherwise, I agree on everything else you said.

 
At 3/30/2011 6:49 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

PS

It is remarkable, however, how small weapons have improved.

Guys on motorcycles and armed with realtively inexpensive RPGs are a mortal threat to even the best modern tanks.

And small subs, or ships that can launch an Exocet-style missile, can easily sink an aircraft carrier. Hey, aircraft carriers only cost $14 billion a pop now, sans the jets.

Smart beats money-eating in most cases.

 
At 3/30/2011 6:51 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"The British Army and Navy of that time period ruled the world."

The British, who had a conscript army, were defeated by a volunteer army augmented by various mercenary corps from around the world.

 
At 3/30/2011 7:43 PM, Blogger marmico said...

Another bogus blog post based on a bogus blog post.

Jack Ehnes, the CEO of CalSTRS

The CalSTRS retirement average is a pension of $37,968 after more than 26 years of service at nearly 61 years of age

So the average annual CalSTRS pension is higher than the average teacher's salary in South Dakota.

 
At 3/30/2011 8:28 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Military retiremnt is great, if you live long enough to get it.

 
At 3/30/2011 8:36 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I think you can do 20 and out in th emilitary, but it is at half your pay. Retire as an E7 and get 20,000 a year. Not bad, but not retirement money either.

Try living in a triple bunk in a sub for 6 or seven actual years to get it.

No thanks.

 
At 3/30/2011 8:44 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

PS: No taxpayer has a financial responsibility, or otherwise, to keep me out of harms way any more than I do for any other taxpayer. Both me and the other taxpayer, do so because of the benefit we each receive in return. Obviously the point where that benefit starts dropping off compared to the amount paid, is the problem.



=================================

Smartest thing I have heard on this blog.

Now all we need is a way to agree on the costs and the benefits.

There are ways to figure that out: lots of ways. What we need to do is agree on the Procedure we use to figure such things out.

As long as the procedure is fair, the results will be fair, even if the results are not 100% correct. At least we know how the answer is derived.

Right now, anyone can pick an answer out of the air and claim the costs always outweigh the benefits.

 
At 3/30/2011 8:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

If its so, than few people would volunteer for the job. Clearly, it isn't so.

That is not entirely true because the military has resorted to tricks and the lowering of standards to get as many people as it needed. The best way to lower the pay and pensions is to cut the number of people that are needed by ending the stupid foreign entitlements and by getting rid of much of the Pentagon's personnel. There are far too many officers in procurement and logistics jobs that cold probably be done cheaper and better by the private sector.

 
At 3/30/2011 8:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

If your argument is that all we need to be focusing on the physical defense of the US, then this is a different argument, which begs the question; what is the most appropriate form of defense? Squashing an enemy at his home, or waiting till he comes to our home? So just liming ourselves to our shores would make for a cheaper military, but greatly reduce our security.

The rest of your argument was fine but you fell apart with this commentary. You fail to understand why it is that the US has so many more enemies than Sweden, Italy, or Switzerland. The answer is simple; you keep picking sides, support dictators that oppress their people, and bomb innocents in the name of some false security. If you stopped killing Muslim civilians you would create fewer extremists who are trying to kill Americans. There is no need to station Americans in Germany, Japan, Korea, Bahrain, or Qatar. Take the troops home and let other countries sort out their own problems. If individual Americans want to donate money or services to any country or group let them do so as long as that money or services are not used against the United States. If you support one side or another in a foreign war you are free to join up and fight with that side as an individual, not as a representative of the United States of America, which has no role to play in foreign entanglements. You have been blessed with two great oceans and two large and peaceful neighbours that present a problem to anyone who would wish to attack you. You would do well to use them all and concentrate on your own defense rather than drive the country bankrupt by creating more and more enemies.

 
At 3/30/2011 9:18 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Clearly a farmer's shotgun, would not be a credible form of defense against a tank or a MiG. Therefore, a different form of military organization is required.

How the hell would the MIGs and tanks cross the oceans? The argument is valid, the US spends far too much on its military and gets far too little good for it. Cut it by 75%, bring the troops home, and have a small capable army if you have to in order to defend the country against the Libyans and Syrians who you seem to be so afraid of.

 
At 3/31/2011 8:11 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"If you stopped killing Muslim civilians you would create fewer extremists who are trying to kill Americans."

Sounds like Vangel believes, much like the Islamic savages who danced in the streets, the US had it coming on 9/11.

"Take the troops home and let other countries sort out their own problems."

Vangel would have watched the Holocaust happen and shrugged his shoulders as the Blitzkrieg marched across Europe. Must be nice to live in a country where one can sit back on the couch in moral judgement of those doing the world's heavy lifting.

 
At 3/31/2011 8:58 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I see zero threat of a military invasion of the United States. We should spend accordingly. I do not believe we are preventing a military invasion of the USA by maintaining troops in foreign nations.

Here I agree with you. You save not by cutting wages and benefits after you have recruited people but by cutting the number of people you use for value destroying activities such as invading foreign countries that were not a threat to the US and by letting the market set wages and benefits for the people who you will need to do the activities that you decide to keep. There is no doubt that American defense spending can be cut by 75% without negatively impacting security. The remaining 25% would still be too high because that would still place US military spending in first place even though it is defended by two huge oceans and has two peaceful neighbours with large land masses that make it difficult for any invasion force to cross.

Can you identify the nation that wishes to invade us, and to what purpose?

There are none. I recall talking to a former Soviet ambassador in the mid 1980s at the University of Toronto. He pointed out that the average man in the State of Texas was better trained and armed than the typical Red Army soldier and wondered where Western military analysts were getting their projections from. The only threat to the US came from the nuclear arsenal and you certainly do not defend for that by building up a huge army. At a dinner that I attended in China someone pointed out just how vulnerable air carrier groups really were to the new attack weapons that were being developed. He pointed out that a well executed attack could sink an entire group in a matter of minutes and that such an attack would make it difficult to project conventional air power very far from one's shores. Add to that the ability of many nations to take out satellites that are needed to coordinate military strikes and the ability to project conventional power is greatly diminished.

Most military spending is just a welfare program for well connected companies, many of which would be much better off if they had to be much more competitive in a less regulated world.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:01 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

And what part does $146 billion a year in veterans and VA benefits contribute to our national security?

The benefits were not negotiated. They were offered by a government desperate to get enough volunteers to meet its objectives. If the government wishes to avoid paying as much it has a clear option. It can declare bankruptcy.

Of course, defense would be much cheaper and more effective if it was privatized but that may not be the route that you are pushing.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:21 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

No, it's simply that those who do volunteer do so for reasons other than financial compensation, like patriotism.

Some volunteer for the thrill of being able to kill a person without being tried for murder. But let us not go there and assume that even with low pay and benefits you will get people who will be willing to sacrifice their well being because they love their government. Where are those people?

I would say that the evidence is in. There are not enough 'patriots' to fill the ranks with low paid volunteers. Even Pearl Harbour did not lead to many volunteers. Of the combat eligible males only 2.4% actually decided to join the military. Now if an attack on the United States could not get many people to join what makes you confident that people will give up their lives to attack Libya or Afghanistan? As someone pointed out, think of what kind of hellholes there places really are for young men. People hate you and are trying to kill you and when you do have some time off you find that both the liquor and the women are locked up and unavailable.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:30 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes. Your responsibility under the law is no different than those who served during WWII, fighting and dying for your benefit and the benefit of future generations.

You mean that he has to die so that Obama can look tough and try to take out Muammar Gaddafi by supporting Islamic extremists who you were fighting in Iraq? Or take out Assad by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood? Yours is the anti-liberty line that dictators and panderers to power have always used to justify serfdom. In a truly free country it is recognized that the individual owns his own body and as such gets to decide what to do with it. That includes avoiding combat.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:47 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Are you sure you're in the right country?

I am beginning to wonder about that. If your sentiment is dominant in your country we might have to conclude that the United States of America, the greatest country the world has ever known, is now dead and has finally been replaced by a tyrannical state that is little different from the typical system that we see around the globe. That would make the US little more than an Argentina with nukes, which would be a shame.

Now I am hardly the guy to get the pom poms out and cheer the United States because I have been a critic of its foreign, fiscal, and monetary policies. But my criticism has always been towards those that would justify the expansion of the state and the reduction of individual liberty. Sadly the Left, with its support of the reduction of economic freedom has no credibility when it comes to opposing the Right, which supports the reduction of social freedom. If you guys are not careful you will be living in a failed (totalitarian) state much sooner than I anticipated.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:49 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

For the sake of argument, let's say that the number of military volunteers falls off dramatically. The U.S. government responds by increasing compensation. Still, no one steps forward. The government increases compensation again. Still, no takers. Where does the tax payers financial responsibility to keep you out of harms way end?

This is a false argument. No matter how we try to muddy the waters the numbers tell us all we have to know. The US spends more on its military adventures than the next twenty countries combined. There is no way to argue any position other than the spending is far too high and that it has little to do with national security.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:50 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"I recall talking to a former Soviet ambassador in the mid 1980s at the University of Toronto." So you spoke to an apparatchik from one one of the most murderous regimes ever to exist and you sucked in his garbage with apparently zero skepticism. Yay for Vangel.

And he wondered where Western military analysts were getting their projections from? Probably from Soviet actions starting in 1917 and onward. But perhaps you would have been content to sit tight while the US protected your country as the lights went out across the rest of the planet.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The British, who had a conscript army, were defeated by a volunteer army augmented by various mercenary corps from around the world.

Which is a good argument against a huge standing army and foreign military adventures.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:57 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Loved this:

"Sadly the Left, with its support of the reduction of economic freedom has no credibility when it comes to opposing the Right, which supports the reduction of social freedom."

Uh, what social freedom are you talking about? And we don't need any lectures from someone who resides in a country where insulting Islam can be considered a
crime. After all, “Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression.”

 
At 3/31/2011 11:46 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Vange-

Oddly enough, I agree with everything you say in all your posts, except for your belief in gold, and the medium- to long-term direction of commodities prices (the latter disagreement merely a technical one, I think we will see gluts again).

The vulnerability of surface ships in warfare is well known. Subs can sink ships nearly at will. Exocet-type missiles, fired air, land or sea, are death on ships.

The USA would be better off with a small Navy of hunter-killer subs, and a few ballistic subs.

In the USA we are wasting hundreds of billions annually on "national security" and "homeland security" (ie, money into Republican districts and campaign backers).

Imagine if we did cut military outlays by 75 percent, and shrank other federal outlays--we could pay off the national debt in 10-15 years--making our nation truly strong.

 
At 3/31/2011 1:16 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Try living in a triple bunk in a sub for 6 or seven actual years to get it."

Sub crews are paid very handsomely, and spend no money at all for the months they are at sea, so they usually go on spending binges when they get back on land. Cry me a river.

Then they "retire" at an early age, and use the electronics or mechanical or nuclear education they got in the Navy to go get jobs in the private market.They get compensated very well for what they do. And they most certainly don't do it just for the "patriotism"

 
At 3/31/2011 1:26 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"That is not entirely true because the military has resorted to tricks and the lowering of standards to get as many people as it needed. "

Thats a myth, that mostly relates to the grunts running around in the mud. It has higher standards for people who run technology. But either way, who cares? ie...the military isn't having a recruitment problem, its having an overcommitment problem.

"The best way to lower the pay and pensions is to cut the number of people that are needed by ending the stupid foreign entitlements and by getting rid of much of the Pentagon's personnel."

Hmm...no. I don't think you are qualified to make such a conclusion.

"You fail to understand why it is that the US has so many more enemies than Sweden, Italy, or Switzerland. The answer is simple; you keep picking sides, support dictators that oppress their people, and bomb innocents in the name of some false security."

With all due respect, you're full of c***, as always. Whoever is the most powerful and influential nation on earth, has always been the target of every envious jealous pr*ck looking for a reason. Just as everyone who is rich in society, has an army of leftist pr*cks targeting them for being rich.

Well frankly, the opinions of pr*cks don't concern me.

PS: You do realize Italy has invaded and occupied far more countries than the US ever has. Pick a better example next time.

 
At 3/31/2011 1:42 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"If you stopped killing Muslim civilians you would create fewer extremists who are trying to kill Americans"

BS. You're no different in your opinions than your run of the mill Marxist. They try to kill us because we send jeans and pop music and miniskirts in the streets of Tehran or Cairo. Its simply 6th century AD civilization clashing with 21st century.

"There is no need to station Americans in Germany, Japan, Korea, Bahrain, or Qatar. Take the troops home and let other countries sort out their own problems."

This is also total BS. They're not there to sort out "their" problems. They're there to provide defense for us. The troops in Germany aren't there to defend Germany, not since the end of the Cold War. They are there because its a major logistics area for transit elsewhere. Likewise for Bahrain and Qatar. Kore and Japan pay us to be there. Try harder next time in your "blame America" game.

"If you support one side or another in a foreign war you are free to join up and fight with that side as an individual, not as a representative of the United States of America, which has no role to play in foreign entanglements."

Yeah yeah...go tell it to your Marxist friends.

"How the hell would the MIGs and tanks cross the oceans? The argument is valid, the US spends far too much on its military and gets far too little good for it. Cut it by 75%, bring the troops home, and have a small capable army if you have to in order to defend the country against the Libyans and Syrians who you seem to be so afraid of."

Oh, someone apparently never heard of a little thing called the Soviet Union. At least try not to make such pathetic arguments in your "blame America" game.

"There are none. I recall talking to a former Soviet ambassador in the mid 1980s at the University of Toronto. He pointed out that the average man in the State of Texas was better trained and armed than the typical Red Army soldier and wondered where Western military analysts were getting their projections from. "

You're so unbelievably full of cr**, its amusing. In the mid 1980s, Soviet tank production averaged about 10,000 per year.

 
At 3/31/2011 1:49 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Which is a good argument against a huge standing army and foreign military adventures."

No. Its an argument for a professional army. What do you think those mercenaries were? They were PROFESSIONAL soldiers.

I know this is a hard concept for a pseudo-libertarian-leftists to understand...but the point of it all is specialization. Specialization requires a professional force. It requires a volunteer force. But a volunteer force doesn't mean a force that gets together whenever its needed...it means simply the opposite of forced conscription.

But first and foremost, its specialization. Those US farmers, or those Afghan goat herders, were "specialists" at sharp shooting, for example, because thats what they did every day to survive. Today we need specialists in tanks and planes and electronics and artillery etc.

Military defense is an economic good like all others. And like all others, specialization allows for better efficiencies, better results, for less cost. Thats exactly what we're getting.

But pseudo-libertarian-leftists (I can't really pinpoint what weird ideology you prescribe to...except for the predictable patter of "blame America"), don't quite understand economic concepts to begin with.

 
At 3/31/2011 1:51 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Uh, what social freedom are you talking about? "

Don't waste you time with that guy. Foaming at the mouth "libertarians" have only an on-off switch; things are either hell or heaven. They are religious. So the mildest transgression prohibiting you to smoke crack while having sex with a goat in public while riding a motorcycle without a helmet...is the equivalent of Adolph Hitler in their books.

They have no concept of proportions or relativity.

 
At 3/31/2011 1:53 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"What...law? You keep repeating this "law" where I have a responsibility to defend the federal government."

The Militia Acts of 1792 were some of the first taken up by Congress. They effectively enlisted every able bodied white male between the ages of 18 and 45 into the several states militias and gave the President the authority to call up those militias for federal service. They have been modified many times since. Currently we are under the Selective Service System which requires every able bodied male between the ages of 18 to 25 to register for the draft. Should the military fail to meet it's manpower requirements, the government has the authority to call up registered civilians to fulfill those needs. It should be noted that the age limits are flexible and can be altered should the need arise.

"I came from one where they forced people into the communist army. The soldiers would come to poor farmer's houses and drag their 18 year old kids out to the army ..."

Wow, how did that happen? Why didn't you simply get together with some of your neighbors and pay others for the "service" of protecting the rights that you assert here? Of course, if I lived in a communist country or, this country should forsake it's Constitution, I would do everything in my power to resist. You, unable to find others to fight for you, apparently surrendered. There were those who did not. Who would not. They found themselves in gulags and graves. Lucky for you, communism eventually fell from the pressure exerted on it from free men in other parts of the world.

"How familiar are you with a supply and demand curve?"

Very. How familiar are you with the risk / reward curve?

 
At 3/31/2011 1:55 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

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At 3/31/2011 1:59 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

AIG-

Paying down the debt now eclipses "national security" and "homeland security" as a priority of what to do with our taxes.

Check out Greece or Portugal.

If we can slice defense spending by 75 percent, and eliminate some other agencies we can pay down debt in a serious way in just 10-15 years, with enormous positive ramifications for our children.

Or, we can keep spending trillions on "defense" and in 10 years our national dent will balloon by a few more trillion.. And at the end of the next 10 year cycle, the Pentagon will say its weapons are aging, recruitment is troubled, we are falling behind in a world ever more dangerous.

The Pentagon will never say, "You know, defense threats have been declining for decades. We can start demobilizing."

That's a fact. A sad fact, but true. They are not run like a private-sector company.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:03 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:06 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:08 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Benji

"Oddly enough, I agree with everything you [VangelV] say in all your posts, except for your belief in gold, and the medium- to long-term direction of commodities prices..."

You forgot to mention the biggest disagreement of all: Your Keynesian notion that the Fed should print counterfeit money.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:08 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"No taxpayer has a financial responsibility, or otherwise, to keep me out of harms way any more than I do for any other taxpayer."

And, yet, you assert in many of your previous posts that your "job" was to "provide the collective pool of money", and that national defense is a service "which is delivered best when collectively provided". So, it seems that you do understand that you are relying on others to help you come up with the money to pay others to fight in your place. You even seem to recognize that there may be limits on this collective responsibility to pay when you say, "... the point where that benefit starts dropping off compared to the amount paid, is the problem ..." Yes, that's the problem, because should the cost of keeping you safe be too high you will have to PERSONALLY meet your responsibility.

Obviously, you believe that your responsibility to pay for the common defense and your responsibility to serve are mutually exclusive. They are not.

So, I'll ask again, where does the tax payers financial responsibility to keep you out of harms way end?

 
At 3/31/2011 2:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Sounds like Vangel believes, much like the Islamic savages who danced in the streets, the US had it coming on 9/11.

No. I am merely pointing out that the savages were armed and trained by the US to fight Russians and motivated by the US military presence on Muslim soil. What happened was not an unforeseen event because even your own intelligence sources were expecting terrorist activity. This is no different than expecting that Chechen extremists will try to kill Russians in Moscow or other countries in retaliation for the acts of the Russian military.

Vangel would have watched the Holocaust happen and shrugged his shoulders as the Blitzkrieg marched across Europe. Must be nice to live in a country where one can sit back on the couch in moral judgement of those doing the world's heavy lifting.

First, things are not as clear as you make them out to be.

Second, the Holocaust was made possible because of the intervention of Wilson in a European war in WW I and his performance at Versailles after the war ended. Without the American entry into the War it would have ended sooner. We may never have seen the fall of the Russian government or the rise of the Nazis in reaction to the punitive treatment of Germany in the Treaty of Versailles.


I also note that it is very easy for Americans to talk big because they have been blessed by two oceans that protected the mainland from attack over the past century. Your country has not seen its cities devastated by an attacking army since the war between the North and South. You only lost 120K soldiers in WW I while France lost around 6 million. In WW II you lost 400 thousand while the Russians lost more than 20 million. Americans can pretend to be braver than other nations because experience has never had them go through the true horrors of war.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:22 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

And he wondered where Western military analysts were getting their projections from? Probably from Soviet actions starting in 1917 and onward. But perhaps you would have been content to sit tight while the US protected your country as the lights went out across the rest of the planet.

But the Western analysts were wrong. They assumed that a communist economy could produce far more than it actually could and kept overestimating how strong the USSR really was. They never really understood the calculation debate and were poisoned by Keynesian mythology. This is why they supported state interventions and central planning even as the communists were proving how bad they were in the real world.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Uh, what social freedom are you talking about?

Name it. You can't even decide how much water can go through your shower head or can be flushed in your toilet without risking fines or going to jail.

And we don't need any lectures from someone who resides in a country where insulting Islam can be considered a crime. After all, “Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression.”

I choose to insult everyone who deserves it. I suggest that you shed your delusions and look around. A good place to start would be to look at the Federal Register and go on to the amount of spending by governments at all levels. If you think that they show that you are free you need to see a doctor.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Oddly enough, I agree with everything you say in all your posts, except for your belief in gold, and the medium- to long-term direction of commodities prices (the latter disagreement merely a technical one, I think we will see gluts again).

First, only deluded idiots think that they can predict the short to medium term. Second, to have faith in the long term viability of a fiat currency is a sign of insanity. That is the point you are missing. Yes, there will be gluts and yes the prices will decline in real terms. But not when measured in current USDs, which will continue to lose purchasing power until they are replaced by a new currency with the same name.

The vulnerability of surface ships in warfare is well known. Subs can sink ships nearly at will. Exocet-type missiles, fired air, land or sea, are death on ships.

The vulnerability has been known for a long time but it did not stop new groups from being funded. I remember how excited a Chinese analyst was when he figured out that a few surface ships that looked just like a typical fishing boat could destroy a carrier group by firing the newly developed Russian missiles. There were thousands of these fishing boats all around the Asia and no US Admiral would fire on them and risk killing the Vietnamese, Thai, Malay, Indonesians, Japanese, Koreans, or even Europeans who operated them. That made the US fleet vulnerable. And if that failed a combination of shore based or sub based missiles and supersonic torpedoes would do the job.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

In the USA we are wasting hundreds of billions annually on "national security" and "homeland security" (ie, money into Republican districts and campaign backers).

This is nonsense. Both parties are equally guilty of playing the military spending game. Democratic senators cut deals and ensure that there is military work in their state. If you look at where the money goes you see states like California and Washington as big winners. I do not believe that they elect that many Republicans.

Imagine if we did cut military outlays by 75 percent, and shrank other federal outlays--we could pay off the national debt in 10-15 years--making our nation truly strong.

After the dollar breaks you will have to cut spending by 75% or more. But a strong nation requires the accumulation of capital and I do not see the left allowing that by rolling back most of the legislation that forces companies to look abroad.

 
At 3/31/2011 2:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

And they most certainly don't do it just for the "patriotism"

I do not think that many do.

A Nation of Cowards: The Case of World War II

 
At 3/31/2011 2:55 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"The Militia Acts of 1792... Currently we are under the Selective Service System..."

a- STATE militia
b- signing up for a registry is not the equivalent of me having a personal responsibility to defend the federal government. The federal government has the responsibility to provide that service to ME
c- the law is still wrong

"Wow, how did that happen?..."

Your rant has no relevance to the issue at hand, in the slightest. And I wasn't speaking for myself, since communism ended before I was 18, and the system which followed allowed for me to pay my way out of serving.

"Very. How familiar are you with the risk / reward curve?"

Hmm...why do I get the feeling you keep throwing MY argument back at me, except that you use it for a justification of doing the exact OPPOSITE. Risk-reward would imply compensation for the service provided, which has a component of wage/benefits, a component of education, and a component of "personal" gratification. If people chose to do it for personal gratification (ie patriotism), good for them. Thats the argument FOR volunteer professional army, not the argument for forced conscription.

 
At 3/31/2011 3:01 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"And, yet, you assert in many of your previous posts that your "job" was to "provide the collective pool of money", and that national defense is a service "which is delivered best when collectively provided". So, it seems that you do understand that you are relying on others to help you come up with the money to pay others to fight in your place. "

No. What I'm saying is that military defense is a good, which I find to MY benefit. Being to MY benefit, I want to find a way of providing it as cheaply and as efficiently as possible. It turns out, that the best way to do this for ME, is to pool my resources with others, and provide it collectively. That way, we can hire a professional to specialize in it.

Thats all.

"Yes, that's the problem, because should the cost of keeping you safe be too high you will have to PERSONALLY meet your responsibility."

I have no responsibility, to anyone. It is in looking after MY benefit, that the current arrangement has arisen. If the costs of the current arrangement get too high, the solution is like all other economic goods...look for ways to reduce the cost, or reduce the benefits.

 
At 3/31/2011 3:06 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"But the Western analysts were wrong. They assumed that a communist economy could produce far more than it actually could and kept overestimating how strong the USSR really was. They never really understood the calculation debate and were poisoned by Keynesian mythology. This is why they supported state interventions and central planning even as the communists were proving how bad they were in the real world.
"

Complete and utter BS. But than again what's new. The reason the USSR collapsed is because it was forced to spend 50-60-70% of its GDP on military spending.

That wasn't accidental...that was the result of what the US did.

"I remember how excited a Chinese analyst was when he figured out that a few surface ships that looked just like a typical fishing boat could destroy a carrier group by firing the newly developed Russian missiles. There were thousands of these fishing boats all around the Asia and no US Admiral would fire on them and risk killing the Vietnamese, Thai, Malay, Indonesians, Japanese, Koreans, or even Europeans who operated them. "

The biggest pile of garbage ever written. You don't have the slightest concept of how anything military works. Go play with your legos.

 
At 3/31/2011 3:18 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Vangel...the point of a professional military is to leave tactical and technology decisions in the hands of SPECIALISTS...not internet lego-players like yourself. So while you may think you said something incredibly profound about anti-ship missiles etc, you're like one of those teenagers commenting on soccer player's skills.

I know this is hard for someone like you to understand.

 
At 3/31/2011 3:49 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Thats a myth, that mostly relates to the grunts running around in the mud. It has higher standards for people who run technology. But either way, who cares? ie...the military isn't having a recruitment problem, its having an overcommitment problem.

While your statement may be true now that things have quieted down it was not true when hundreds were dying in Iraq. At that time the money paid out was increased to attract more people and the standards were not as strict.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7802712/ns/us_news/

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/army_lowers_standards_meets_recruiting_target/

Hmm...no. I don't think you are qualified to make such a conclusion.

Of course I am. Anyone with a grade ten math education is qualified to understand the issue. When your country spends about half of the total amount spent by all countries even though it is protected by two great oceans and has two peaceful neighbours you are spending far too much. When you still have troops in Japan, Korea and Germany more than half a century after hostilities ended you are spending too much and too recklessly.

With all due respect, you're full of c***, as always. Whoever is the most powerful and influential nation on earth, has always been the target of every envious jealous pr*ck looking for a reason. Just as everyone who is rich in society, has an army of leftist pr*cks targeting them for being rich.

Britain was not hated in the 19th century because it was rich. It was hated because it intervened in the affairs of other nations and fought wars against other nations. The same is true with the US. Even foreigners who are hostile do not hate America; they hate what America has been doing to them and their neighbours.

Switzerland and Lichtenstein are rich too. But they are not hated. Spain was not very powerful. But when it meddled in Iraq it was attacked. If you can't see the connection you have a serious problem with logic.

PS: You do realize Italy has invaded and occupied far more countries than the US ever has. Pick a better example next time.

Italy? After Giuseppe Garibaldi created modern Italy it did engage in some colonial adventures, mostly in Northern Africa. At that time Italy was resisted by the people that it was trying to suppress. But Italy has not been much more than a minor player since WW II.

But even if we include the Italian colonial era its adventures pale in comparison to what the US was doing.

First, the US had its Indian Wars, in which it seized territory to grow the country. Second, Madison invaded Canada in 1812. Third, you attacked and took territory from Spain/Mexico. That is how the US got much of the Southwest, Florida, and Texas.

Just of the top of my head I can think of a number of instances where you have sent your forces in the countries of South and Central America. You have landed troops in Mexico, Columbia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Columbia, Cuba, Haiti, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, Grenada, and Bolivia.

In Africa you have done the same in Libya, Tunisia, Algiers, Somalia, Chad, Zaire, Egypt, Liberia. In the Middle East and Central Asia we have seen troops in Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and other countries. Not only did the US acquire Samoa and Hawaii but it also got a number of other islands in the Pacific. It invaded and engaged in slaughter in the Philippines. It invaded Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, and China. It still has troops in South Korea, Germany, and Japan.

So no, I would say that the US has not invaded more countries than Italy unless you are one of those people who confuse Italy with the Roman Empire.

 
At 3/31/2011 3:56 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

BS. You're no different in your opinions than your run of the mill Marxist. They try to kill us because we send jeans and pop music and miniskirts in the streets of Tehran or Cairo. Its simply 6th century AD civilization clashing with 21st century.

No. They attack you because you support tyrants and kill their civilians.

This is also total BS. They're not there to sort out "their" problems. They're there to provide defense for us. The troops in Germany aren't there to defend Germany, not since the end of the Cold War. They are there because its a major logistics area for transit elsewhere. Likewise for Bahrain and Qatar. Kore and Japan pay us to be there. Try harder next time in your "blame America" game.

I hate to break the news for you but Germany is not providing defense for the US. It is your taxpayers that are actually covering part of the bill that Germans should be paying.

Yeah yeah...go tell it to your Marxist friends.

What Marxist friends? They are just as stupid about these things as you are.

Oh, someone apparently never heard of a little thing called the Soviet Union. At least try not to make such pathetic arguments in your "blame America" game.

The Soviet Union was toast more than two decades ago yet the US still spends as if it existed. Like I said, there is no threat of invasion of the US. And anyone who tries to justify the Libyan, Afghan, and Iraqi fiascoes by spinning such a narrative is an idiot.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You're so unbelievably full of cr**, its amusing. In the mid 1980s, Soviet tank production averaged about 10,000 per year.

Yes but those tanks could not make it to the US. There was never a threat from a Soviet invasion no matter which tall tales you want to tell.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:07 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Let me explain to you why your argument is cr**, and the "libertarian" fantasy land where armies of citizen fighters in fishing trawlers is best left for Ayn Rand novels and not the real world.

1- an anti-ship missile that is able to be carried by a "fishing trawler" would have to be relatively small, ie in the Exocet class.
2- missiles of this size and class will have ranges of about 80-150km. Beyond horizon, however, requires an external target acquisition tool. Otherwise you're limited to 20-30 miles.
3- a USN captain would have to be insane to allow even a rowboat to approach within 200 miles of a carrier group in heat.
4- US reconn around a carrier group would be able to detect such targets hundreds of miles before they approach anything, send helicopters to investigate, and if necessary force to turn back.
5- a fishing trawler could carry 2-4 such missiles, but it would have to be a relatively large trawler
6- reconnaissance, target acquisition and guidance are non-existent in a fishing trawler, making it blind beyond the horizon; ie a useless military tool.
7- without target acquisition methods beyond the horizon, the missiles are next to useless.
8- to overwhelm the defenses of a single Aegis type warship requires multiple times more than 2-4 missiles launched at once. A carrier group typically has multiple Aegis escorts for air-defense.
9- jamming, countermeasures etc alone would be sufficient to overwhelm any such type of missile in such an engagement profile. USN did this quite well many times in the Persian Gulf, specifically in Operation Praying Mantis, and later in 1991.
10- Any crew of such a "fishing trawler" would have to be a suicide Kamikaze crew, because their death is assured once they reveal their intentions
11- hiding missiles, even that small, on the deck of a fishing trawler, is not easy; ie any USN helicopter approaching the boat for visual identification, once detected several hundred miles away, is going to see what it is.
12- Such a tactic can only possibly be a last-resort tool employed either within several dozen nm of shore, or in narrow gulfs where response time is limited. No USN carrier group is insane to place itself in such circumstances.

In conclusion, there are REASONS why navies build warships, and specialized systems, and train constantly, and have technology that would boggle your mind.

Trying to dictate TECHNOLOGY...is idiotic...and no different than when government tries to dictate technology and operations of businesses. But of course, far be it for "libertarians" to think they're being as silly as the people they claim to criticize.

We as citizens control the finances of the military, and its in our interest to maximize the performance of the money we provide, so that we don't have to provide as much. Maximizing this performance is the job of specialists, not internet warriors like yourself.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:10 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"Which is a good argument against a huge standing army and foreign military adventures."

No. Its an argument for a professional army. What do you think those mercenaries were? They were PROFESSIONAL soldiers.


What part of, "Which is a good argument against a huge standing army and foreign military adventures," do you have a problem understanding? If you want a professional army you can always get and hire or create one when you need it. You certainly do not need a standing army looking for something to do and wasting billions of dollars. As I said, the US would be just as safe if it got rid of 75% if its military personnel and concentrated on protecting its border rather than meddling abroad.


I know this is a hard concept for a pseudo-libertarian-leftists to understand...but the point of it all is specialization. Specialization requires a professional force. It requires a volunteer force. But a volunteer force doesn't mean a force that gets together whenever its needed...it means simply the opposite of forced conscription.

Lefty? You have me confused with someone else. What you have a problem understanding is that the US is spending 47% of all military funds spent by all countries. Given its two oceans and two big neighbours that spending is not needed.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:16 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Of course I am. Anyone with a grade ten math education is qualified to understand the issue. "

Are we expected to believe that you have a grade 10 education?

"Even foreigners who are hostile do not hate America; they hate what America has been doing to them and their neighbours."

BS. How many Wahabists do you know?

"No. They attack you because you support tyrants and kill their civilians. "

Again, you don't need to show that you are a moron of the highest caliber, all the time. Take a day off.

"I hate to break the news for you but Germany is not providing defense for the US. It is your taxpayers that are actually covering part of the bill that Germans should be paying."

Again, read above. Germany is a logistics base for the US.

"The Soviet Union was toast more than two decades ago yet the US still spends as if it existed."

And you expect us to believe YOU have a 10th grade education? 1990 US defense spending were 5.3% of GDP. In 2001 they were 3.1% of GDP (it has gone up of course since 9/11...but I guess that didn't REALLY happen anyway). 5.3 last time I checked was 71% higher than 3.1

" Like I said, there is no threat of invasion of the US."

Cause no is stupid enough to get such an idea. THATs...the point.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:22 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Yes but those tanks could not make it to the US. There was never a threat from a Soviet invasion no matter which tall tales you want to tell."

Again you expect us to believe you have a 10th grade education? Communism controlled 50% of the world in 1989. WHERE do you think those tanks were going? Parades in Red Square?

"If you want a professional army you can always get and hire "

Thats what we're doing.

"or create one when you need it."

This is why no one believes you have a 10th grade education. How quickly can you build an aircraft carrier, its planes, an train its crews? 2 weeks? 3 days?

" You certainly do not need a standing army "

The POINT of specializing in something, is that that is ALL you do. Way to go for "libertarians" comprehending simple economic concept like "specialization". Guess Lew Rockwell turns on his economics switch "only when needed" as well.

"As I said, the US would be just as safe if it got rid of 75% if its military personnel and concentrated on protecting its border rather than meddling abroad."

Well you can say it all you want. Still, no one is going to take you seriously, because no one believes you even have a 10th grade education.

"What you have a problem understanding is that the US is spending 47% of all military funds spent by all countries."

Which is why the USSR went bankrupt, why communism now controls 2% of the world, instead of 80%.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:40 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"a- STATE militia b- signing up for a registry is not the equivalent of me having a personal responsibility to defend the federal government. The federal government has the responsibility to provide that service to ME c- the law is still wrong"

You are either stupid or delusional. The 1792 Act effective put the several STATE militias under the authority of the FEDERAL government. The federal government has absolutely no way of providing a defense for YOU without YOUR participation. And while you may have no greater responsibility to pay for defense than your neighbor, he has no greater responsibility to put on the uniform and actually provide it than you. Can you really be this dense?

You say the law is wrong, take your idiot show on the road and convince your fellow citizens to change it. Until then it applies to YOU.

"Hmm...why do I get the feeling you keep throwing MY argument back at me ..."

Why do I get the feeling that you keep repeating the same ignorant shit over and over again? "I have rights but, I don't have any corresponding responsibilities". "The government is required to provide it to ME". "Defense is a good".

Under our system YOU are the government. "Of, By and For the People", remember?

"Risk-reward would imply compensation for the service provided ..."

Go back and look at the context of your "supply and demand curve" response, I don't have time to explain your arguments to you.

Every argument that you have made stems from a false assumption. Let's hope that you don't have to find that out the hard way.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:46 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Which is why the USSR went bankrupt, why communism now controls 2% of the world, instead of 80%."

The U.S. spends about 5% of our GDP on the military. That includes the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan, but does not account for the value of military technologies being applied to the private economy. Our military outlays are not going to bankrupt us.

The U.S.S.R. spent about 80% of their GDP on their military. When the Soviet Union fell it had an economy about the size of Portugal's.

Get a clue.

 
At 3/31/2011 4:51 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"There was never a threat from a Soviet invasion no matter which tall tales you want to tell."

Bold words coming from a Canadian. I'm not sure that Western Europeans would have shared your confidence.

 
At 3/31/2011 5:04 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... the US is spending 47% of all military funds spent by all countries. Given its two oceans and two big neighbours that spending is not needed."

And when some asshole like Saddam Hussein or, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad closes the straights of Hormuz cutting of the world's oil supply for the sake of Jihad, threatening a global depression, who will respond? Canada? Who will provide the deterrent necessary to keep China from invading Taiwan and North Korea from invading South Korea? Canada? Who will make sure that trade flows unmolested? Canada? When there's a major natural disaster like the tsunami in Indonesia, who will respond? Canada? The Soviet Union did not fall trying to keep up with the Canadian military. Grow up.

 
At 3/31/2011 5:11 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"They attack you because you support tyrants and kill their civilians."

You truly are an ignorant, cowardly piece of shit. You live in a nation that goes to sleep and rises under the protection of the U.S. military. If we are such vile creatures, why haven't we simply invaded your worthless little country and taken your resources? Scumbag.

 
At 3/31/2011 7:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Military defense is an economic good like all others. And like all others, specialization allows for better efficiencies, better results, for less cost. Thats exactly what we're getting.

You are getting something good and hard. But it isn't what you think it is.

But pseudo-libertarian-leftists (I can't really pinpoint what weird ideology you prescribe to...except for the predictable patter of "blame America"), don't quite understand economic concepts to begin with.

Where do you get a 'blame America' message from me? I merely point out that when you attack people it is not a big surprise when they try to strike back. Or that when you spend as much as the rest of the world combined it may be too much. Or that when you fear the communist economy so much you don't have much faith in free market capitalism as a superior economic system.

 
At 3/31/2011 7:24 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Don't waste you time with that guy. Foaming at the mouth "libertarians" have only an on-off switch; things are either hell or heaven. They are religious. So the mildest transgression prohibiting you to smoke crack while having sex with a goat in public while riding a motorcycle without a helmet...is the equivalent of Adolph Hitler in their books.

They have no concept of proportions or relativity.


As I pointed out, you aren't even free to choose the water flow through your shower head or the size of your toilet tank without fear of breaking the law. If you think that you are free than I would hate to see what you define as serfdom.

 
At 3/31/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Currently we are under the Selective Service System which requires every able bodied male between the ages of 18 to 25 to register for the draft.

Which means that your country believes that it has a greater claim on your body and your life than you do. Think about the implications of that.

Of course, if I lived in a communist country or, this country should forsake it's Constitution, I would do everything in my power to resist.

I have news for you. The US has forsaken the Constitution. It is now, as George Bush put it, just a piece of paper. Obama and most in Congress seem to agree with that sentiment.

 
At 3/31/2011 7:32 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Paying down the debt now eclipses "national security" and "homeland security" as a priority of what to do with our taxes.

Obviously many do not agree. After all, aren't the Iraqi revenues making America money as they were supposed to? Aren't the Germans, Koreans, and Japanese paying for all those bases that you have in those countries? Without all of the expenditures how will you ever be able to keep those Yemeni goat herders from invading the US?

You obviously need to go to a reeducation camp and learn to appreciate your freedoms and your protectors better.

 
At 3/31/2011 7:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Complete and utter BS. But than again what's new. The reason the USSR collapsed is because it was forced to spend 50-60-70% of its GDP on military spending.

That wasn't accidental...that was the result of what the US did.


Once again your faith in the socialist economy shows through. The USSR could not produce enough goods to support its system. End of story.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, even as the Soviet economy was on the rocks and ready to fail, the Western analysts were imagining a Soviet economy that was around 60% that of the US and growing at a much faster rate. They had listed the economy of the USSR as the second largest in the world even when it was obvious that the communist world was in decay and ready to collapse.

It was not military spending but low oil prices, grain harvest failures, low productivity, a crumbling infrastructure, and central planning that brought the economy down. There never was a New Soviet Man as the mythology claimed and communism was doomed as soon as it began.

If you understand the virtues of the free markets and the inefficiencies of central planning you do not take any threat from collectivism as a viable long-term option. But if you don't understand and do not accept the arguments that favour free markets it is easy to see how you can be mislead by the mythology, uncertainty, and fear.

 
At 3/31/2011 8:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The biggest pile of garbage ever written. You don't have the slightest concept of how anything military works. Go play with your legos.

Of course I do. The vulnerability of carrier groups is well known to military analysts. You might try doing some reading. Actually, there are even 'worse' scenarios and weapons systems thought up by your own military. (Even though some of them are just nonsense designed to get more funding for favoured projects.)

The navy knows all about the vulnerability as well. I heard a debate about a strategy that would release hundreds of VA-111 Shkval supersonic torpedoes from various surface vessels and subs towards a group. Even if the countermeasures were 95% effective a few would get through and take out the carrier. Add to this cruise missile attacks and the new Chinese system and the carrier will be at the bottom very quickly.

This is why spending tens of billions makes no sense whatsoever.

 
At 3/31/2011 8:27 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

She Is Dead-

I doubt anyone will shut shipping lanes, as China, Russia and the USA all depend on shipping lanes to survive.

Right now, paying down debt will have to eclipse defense, homeland security spending. You gotta honor your debts. There will be a slight risk after we demobilize, but life has risks.

And the benefits to our nation, and its children, will be huge.

Besides, most defense spending is just patronage and bureaucracy, not really for bona-fide defense needs. And all the the $147 billion in VA and veterans benefits is not for defense at all.

Cuts in federal spending will be tough. But getting people off of federal money on onto private-sector money will boost of GDP wonderfully.

 
At 3/31/2011 9:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vangel...the point of a professional military is to leave tactical and technology decisions in the hands of SPECIALISTS...not internet lego-players like yourself. So while you may think you said something incredibly profound about anti-ship missiles etc, you're like one of those teenagers commenting on soccer player's skills.

Sadly, the 'professional military' is vulnerable to group-think and is always preparing for last year's battles. This is why the navy still has obsolete systems like carrier groups that are only good against very poor countries with primitive systems. As I said, even your own military knows the vulnerability of carrier groups. But the problem is that there is simply too much capital sunk (no pun intended) into these systems to allow rational decisions to be made by the people in charge. And even if they saw the light the military-industrial complex lobby would not allow a change in approach.

That said, I do not believe that there is any real military threat against the US. The trick that is being used by the Chinese is the same one that the US used against the Russians when they pushed a failing economic system further towards the edge by diverting just a bit more of the resources towards useless weapons systems that could never be used effectively.

Of course the best thing that happened to Russia was the failure of the USSR. The failure of Marxism set Russia free to shed itself from a very restrictive ball and chain. Now that Russia is free, it is doing much better than it used to be even as we slide towards socialism and are doing worse.

 
At 4/01/2011 10:11 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

3- a USN captain would have to be insane to allow even a rowboat to approach within 200 miles of a carrier group in heat.

Actually, to get a carrier group to a 'hot zone' you would have to pass within 200 miles of land and plenty of commercial ships. Your carrier group in the Gulf is already within 200 miles of plenty of commercial ships and can actually be hit by truck fired missiles.

As I said, your own navy knows that the carrier groups are extremely vulnerable to new Chinese and Russian made mines, missiles, and torpedoes. I did not even bring up the mine problem that the groups are likely to encounter. Given the paths that they have to take you can bet your behind that they will encounter submarine laid, bottom-rising, rocket-propelled mines that are specifically designed specifically to targeting and destroy aircraft carriers. From what I recall they are supposed to be grouped in medium sized clusters (whatever that means) so that they can hit the carrier in bunches.

6- reconnaissance, target acquisition and guidance are non-existent in a fishing trawler, making it blind beyond the horizon; ie a useless military tool.

This may not be true. Ships and trucks on the ground can fire missiles that get their targeting information from satellite and other information system data. The Chinese are Russians are confident that they can fire these missiles from around 250 to 300 miles away. That means attacks from surface ships, land based trucks, submarines and aircraft. Follow this up with short range ballistic attacks by using DF-21C or DF-15 anti-ship missiles. The warheads mover at Mach 6 or so, which means that your navy has no effective countermeasures to defend the carriers.

And if by some miracle the carrier groups manage to escape the mines, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles they will still have to deal with the submarines and the new Russian made SHKVAL rocket torpedo, which travels at speeds or 250 mph and can kill subs and surface ships with ease.

But as I wrote before, there will be no big battle with Russia or China and the US because both are more than capable of defending themselves and have no interest in attacking the US. The American carrier groups are very useful to the Chinese and Russians because they are a drain on a weakening American economy which has to divert a great deal in the way of resources into systems that have no useful positive purpose.

 
At 4/01/2011 10:35 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"No. They attack you because you support tyrants and kill their civilians. "

Again, you don't need to show that you are a moron of the highest caliber, all the time. Take a day off.


You can ignore the facts but human nature is what it is. You kill someone's sister and he will hate you for the act. End of story.

This, 'they hate us because we are free crap,' is getting old because we see that they want to be free too. Why do you think that Egyptians rebelled against your main Mubarek? Why are the Libyans rebelling against their government? Everyone wants to be free. And nobody cares if Janet Jackson showed her boob at the Superbowl. They hate you because you support their oppression and kill their neighbours.

 
At 4/01/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

UN staff killed in Afghanistan at protest over Qur'an burning
The Guardian - ‎17 minutes ago‎
Smoke rises from the UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan, after demonstrators protesting against the burning of a Qur'an by a Florida pastor killed at least eight UN staff.

The Obama-Bush mission ($1.5 trillion and counting) to Afghanistan looks stupider and stupider and stupider.

 
At 4/01/2011 2:08 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

In conclusion, there are REASONS why navies build warships, and specialized systems, and train constantly, and have technology that would boggle your mind.

There were reasons. But those reasons are no longer valid because carrier groups have vulnerabilities that cannot be dismisses as you would have us do. Right now the reasons are economic and political. In the US you have thousands of jobs depending on the existence of carrier groups and a powerful lobby group for the military-industrial complex. This means that no matter how useless the carrier groups are for offense against competent enemies they will continue to be used until some underestimated country manages to sink a carrier. Sadly, I can see Iranian trucks firing off cruise missiles from some mountain road and sinking one of your carriers. If that were to happen it would mark the end of the carrier group as a viable way to project force.

 
At 4/01/2011 2:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Again, read above. Germany is a logistics base for the US.

Which is another term for a black hole that sucks up money as the military is fighting a variation of the cold war that ended a very long time ago. German bases have no real value to the US. But they certainly do for Germans, who get to spend a lot less on defense because of the American presence. It is a lot like making your poorer cousin pay for your insurance.



"The Soviet Union was toast more than two decades ago yet the US still spends as if it existed."

And you expect us to believe YOU have a 10th grade education? 1990 US defense spending were 5.3% of GDP. In 2001 they were 3.1% of GDP (it has gone up of course since 9/11...but I guess that didn't REALLY happen anyway). 5.3 last time I checked was 71% higher than 3.1


Get a calender. It is now 2011, not 2001. In 1991 the US defense spending worked out to around 5% of GDP. It still does even though there is no more Soviet Union as a threat and much of the spending is off book and not counted properly even as GDP is overstated by BLS inflation and GDP deflator manipulation.

As I said, the Evil Empire is gone but the US is still spending as if it existed. This is happening as the USD is weakening, the economy is on the verge of collapse, deficits are exploding, and unfunded liabilities dwarf the ability of government to raise the funds necessary to make them viable. Instead of arguing that government spending be cut to the bone and that the US taxpayer stop funding dictators and defending Europe, Japan, and Asia we have the right wing fools cheering on a left wing president trying to look tough by keep funding foreign adventures with money borrowed from foreigners. You can't get any more anti-liberty and anti-American than that.

 
At 4/01/2011 2:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Smoke rises from the UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan, after demonstrators protesting against the burning of a Qur'an by a Florida pastor killed at least eight UN staff.

This must be a lefty smoke screen. Don't you know that they don't hate you because you insult their religion or kill their children. They hate you because of your freedom, the jeans that you wear too low, and rap music. Get with the program.

 
At 4/01/2011 3:16 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You are either stupid or delusional. The 1792 Act effective put the several STATE militias under the authority of the FEDERAL government. The federal government has absolutely no way of providing a defense for YOU without YOUR participation. And while you may have no greater responsibility to pay for defense than your neighbor, he has no greater responsibility to put on the uniform and actually provide it than you. Can you really be this dense?

But I do not believe that the law forces anyone to join a militia.

You say the law is wrong, take your idiot show on the road and convince your fellow citizens to change it. Until then it applies to YOU.

Not unless he has joined a militia.

The U.S. spends about 5% of our GDP on the military. That includes the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan, but does not account for the value of military technologies being applied to the private economy. Our military outlays are not going to bankrupt us.

First, you already are bankrupt.

Second, much of the war spending is off book and not counted. Neither is the 'military aid' that goes to Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and other places helped by the US where taxpayer funds are used to buy tanks and aircraft from American arms manufacturers.

Third, the 'value' of military technologies can only be determined by a free market, not by idiots who are pushing for more military spending making claims that they cannot be supported and hoping that the people who listen to those claims have not read their Bastiat.

The U.S.S.R. spent about 80% of their GDP on their military.

That is not true. I have no idea where you guys get these stupid numbers. The USSR spent most of its GDP on domestic programs that could not work because they had no market prices to guide decision makers.

When the Soviet Union fell it had an economy about the size of Portugal's.

Yet, the analysts were pretending that it was the world's second largest economy for years and years.

 
At 4/01/2011 3:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Bold words coming from a Canadian. I'm not sure that Western Europeans would have shared your confidence.

Perhaps because they do not share my confidence in the superiority of free market systems. I had the advantage of actually seeing what life was like behind the Iron Curtain and never fell as hard for the siren song of Socialism as most Western intellectuals on the left and the right. The left was clearly convinced that Socialist planning was superior to free markets. The right, while pretending to favour free markets depended on a powerful state apparatus to control much of the economy because it feared that the lefties were right.

Now if you were some idiot kid who did not know any better you had an excuse for being deceived. But anyone who was deceived for a long period could not claim with any confidence that s/he is qualified to comment knowledgeably on the subject.

And when some asshole like Saddam Hussein or, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad closes the straights of Hormuz cutting of the world's oil supply for the sake of Jihad, threatening a global depression, who will respond?

Iraq and Iran have no interest in cutting off the main products that their countries produce. They were fighting OPEC to increase their quotas, not to reduce them.

And it was not Saddam that was trying to stop Iraqi oil from going to the world markets. That was done by the US/UN embargo. And wasn't it the US who supported the Jihadists against the Russians? And isn't it the US that is taking the side of al Qaeda in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria?

Canada? Who will provide the deterrent necessary to keep China from invading Taiwan and North Korea from invading South Korea? Canada?

How about South Korea and Taiwan? They certainly have the funds to do pay for their own defense. And why would anyone be afraid of a crippled economy like North Korea's as the Americans seem to be?

Who will make sure that trade flows unmolested? Canada?

The people who conduct the trade. As I pointed out, it was not individuals and companies who were stopping trade with Iraq for all those years. It was the US and the UN.

When there's a major natural disaster like the tsunami in Indonesia, who will respond? Canada?

People respond, not governments. I guess you do not have enough faith in human beings and human institutions so you argue for the state to control everything. Why am I not surprised?

The Soviet Union did not fall trying to keep up with the Canadian military. Grow up.

No. It fell because communism and militarism do not work. Grow up.

 
At 4/01/2011 4:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You truly are an ignorant, cowardly piece of shit.

As Brian Cowen pointed out, an argument can be made that it has been the US that is a nation of cowards. In the three months after Japan attacked and declared war on the US only 2.4% of combat aged men had volunteered. During that war Congress did not declare war against Germany until December 1941, which was in response to a German declaration of war against the United States. That was a full two years after Canadian Parliament declared war after the invasion of Poland. Although Canada was not attacked 1.1 million Canadians served in the armed forces out of a population of 11.5 million.

Although it was not Canada that was attacked on 9/11 the government supported the action in Afghanistan and has deployed troops. Canada has lost about a tenth of the number of soldiers that the US has even though the US has more than 70,000 combat troops while Canada only has around 3,000. Of course that is not a good thing. Canadian troops are more active and much less likely to hide out in their bases or shoot civilians because they are afraid of IEDs and suicide bombers. Had they been assigned the same type of activities as the American soldiers Canada would have experienced far fewer fatalities.

In World War I Canada lost 0.92% of its population to the war versus 0.13% for the US. The Canadians' reckless stupidity that passed for bravery has been recognized by the Europeans.

You live in a nation that goes to sleep and rises under the protection of the U.S. military.

That is not what history shows. Canada has been very active in world affairs and has been in too many useless wars. It has lost more of its population to foreign wars than the US and its soldiers have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to bravery.

If we are such vile creatures, why haven't we simply invaded your worthless little country and taken your resources? Scumbag.

Because you can't just invade a country that is not a threat and get away with it. And you don't have the guts for a long occupation that leads to many casualties because your people will not sign up to fight. As I pointed out before, if only 2.4% of the population volunteered AFTER Japan attacked Pearly it is hard to talk about American bravery. And it is easy to talk big when you are hiding in a massive tank or flying a bomber and fighting guys on donkeys and motorcycles.

 
At 4/01/2011 4:58 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Right now, paying down debt will have to eclipse defense, homeland security spending. You gotta honor your debts. There will be a slight risk after we demobilize, but life has risks.

There is no hope of the US honouring its obligations. There is simply too much debt and too many unfunded liabilities that will bring the USD down and the current system to an end. But if the system comes down when the military is as large as it is, the military becomes a much bigger threat than any idiot hiding in a cave in Pakistan.

The only thing that is debatable is when the crash will come, not if it comes. And when it does come neither the Left nor the Right can create a narrative that will absolve their members from the damage that they have done to what used to be the greatest nation in the world.

 
At 4/02/2011 6:56 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

So a guy at age 37 gets $4k a month for doing nothing--and you say he cannot support his family, even though his income is close to the national median family income?

But a guy aged 37 does not get $4K a month. If he enlisted at age 17 and served 20 years he can get half his pay. That goes up by 2.5% each year, which means that you get full pay at age 57. And the last time I looked into it the VA health care benefits were not very good.

You are woefully out of touch with most Americans Vange.

A grade O-6 (Colonel) receives only $3,855 after 20 years of service. Yet you claim that an ordinary enlisted man can retire after 20 years and get $4K. Who is out of touch again?

I am happy that you have higher monthly income--but that does not mean we should endow public-sector retirees with higher incomes also.

We should not endow anyone with anything. Most public-sector workers should be fired and any value-added that they provide should come from a competitive public sector. There is no Department of Groceries because the private sector is more than capable of providing us with all the food that we need. There should not be a Department of Health or Housing because those can also be provided to us privately.

 
At 4/02/2011 6:59 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

By your lights, the CA public school teachers on $50k a year in retirement income are also suffering.

That is not what I said. I only pointed out that you did not do your research correctly and assume that a soldier gets a full pension after 20 years. That is not the case.

Forget it--let's wipe out all public pensions. Tell young people to go into public service, but plan to get out into the private sector after about 10 years max of service. End of story.

I have no problem with states, counties, or cities declaring bankruptcy and going to the courts to determine what they owe to whom. But I certainly have a problem with idiot politicians grabbing power by playing the populist card. Big government is not a solution. It is the problem. And in the case of unions versus state and local governments I keep hoping for a long drawn out war that destroys both sides.

 
At 4/02/2011 7:00 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The cost of living is more expensive in CA than in other states.

That is because voters keep electing idiots that pass laws that make it more expensive to live in California. If people do not like the tax burden and the high costs they should simply leave.

 
At 4/02/2011 7:04 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

?Yes, and that pension may literally have cost them an arm and a leg. Of course, parasites like "Benji" are perfectly happy to enjoy the rights and privileges that other, better men and women have sacrificed...

Better men and women? I thought that American soldiers got paid for their services and had to be enticed with a high enough pay and benefits to enlist. They are mercenaries who take risks for money. That does not make them 'better' than anyone.

 
At 4/02/2011 7:10 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

As stated, I oppose all public-sector employee pensions, period. That includes the military pensions, which appear to be among the fattest around.

The problem comes down to the contracts between individuals and governments.

Why should we tax the jobs- and wealth-creating private sector to support public-sector retirees?

You shouldn't. Public debts can be settled by selling off land, buildings, and other assets held by governments. The proceeds from the sales should settle all obligations according to the agreements made in bankruptcy courts. The little government that will be left after the dust settles can be paid out of duties and fees that amount no more than 3-4% of GDP and individuals can be left to rise or fall based on their ability to provide goods or services that are in demand by others.

Why are not public employees satisfied with having leeched money out of productive tax-paying citizens for decades, but then want to be lifetime parasites?

Greed is a part of human nature. Everyone wants as much as s/he can get so none of the actions should be a surprise to you.

 
At 4/02/2011 7:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Still flinging the B.S., eh pseudo benny?

So do you think these pay scales are worth taking a chance of getting maimed or killed for?


It is worse than that. He overstates the pensions that soldiers are eligible for after 20 years of service by 100%. I guess that Benny does not do much research. That fits his claim of being a financial journalist.

 
At 4/02/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Just when I thought you couldn't say something more silly, you go and outdo yourself. Thats 48k a year, for one individual, at the ripe old age of...37

No, it isn't. That is what you get after 40 years. After 20 you only get 50%. Do some research.

Rank of E-8 gets you $1,996 per month.

Rank of W-1 (Warrant Officer) gets you $2,014 per month.

To get to $48K per year you need to be a Colonel and have around 21 years of service.

It is not easy for someone in the military to have a sound family life. Wives have a hard time holding on to jobs if they are posted with their husbands. Kids tend to hop around schools and have issues with continuity. Most families are stuck with one income, which is not very high and have limited opportunities when compared to people in other spheres. It is because of these problems that many of the best and the brightest leave for better opportunities in the private sector before their 20 years are up.

Unless you are going to retire somewhere like Mexico, Panama, or Belize you will have a hard time making ends meet on a retirement pension that is 50% of your base salary and would have to find some other job to supplement your income. The ability to collect a reduced pension after 20 years is a great incentive for many people to retire and find other jobs that pay more than the military.

 
At 4/02/2011 7:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The figures I have used are from military websites. That is what they say veterans with 20 years of service get--that is the pension level, not the pay level.

Aren't you the guy who claims to have written books on finance? What kind of research do you do? It only took me 20 seconds with a search engine to find out the various military calculators that paint a very different picture that you provided.

 
At 4/02/2011 7:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We are being bled dry by federal parasites.

This is one thing that I do not understand. On one hand you realize that government is far too big and too burdensome for taxpayers to carry. Yet, on most threads you are a big government lefty who cheers on more meddling by the Fed and Treasury and a higher regulatory burden on individuals and businesses. The two views are not compatible.

 
At 4/02/2011 8:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

One thing should be clear--the rules ought not to change--I made decisions on where to work based in part on total compensation.

If you can't pay the bills you incurred, you are bankrupt.

Clean up the mess and move on.


I agree. The only way to make any changes is to declare bankruptcy. While that is an option for states, counties, and cities it is not a viable option for the federal government.

 
At 4/02/2011 8:56 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

And do you think for one moment that if there were no "volunteers" that the government would have simply declared that the objective did not need to be taken?

We do not have to speculate about the issue. There were not enough volunteers (only 2.4% of combat aged men volunteered in the three months after Pearl). The government needed bodies so it instituted a draft.

Or, would they simply grab the nearest self-important asshole, like you or "Benji" and throw his ass on that boat?

Most tyrannies have no problem with a draft because they do not believe that men own their own bodies. For them a draft is not an ethical problem. But why would any free man fight to defend such a tyranny?

 

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