Yesterday, March 4, 2014, the Libertarian Party (LP) came out with a statement advocating the U.S. government slash its military spending by at least 60% while also staying out of Syria and Ukraine. In the same statement, the LP says that President Obama's plan recently announced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel actually expands the military.
Both Democratic and Republican politicians routinely deceive taxpayers by portraying slight reductions in the growth of government as "cuts." The confusion stems from the proposed creation of a new $26 billion initiative called the "Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative" while the 2015 U.S. defense budget remains the same from 2014 through 2015. This would be an increase of $26 billion of military spending, not a cut as being touted by President Obama and Defense Secretary Hagel. Libertarian National Committee Chairman Geoffrey J. Neale said yesterday, "Elementary school arithmetic instructs us that if you grow spending at a slower rate — it still gets higher. It's not a reduction; it's an increase."
The LP's official platform on defense reads, "We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service."
It is common for governments to offer doublespeak when it comes to taxes and spending, often calling a reduction in spending and taxes which ultimately ends up being more income for the government and more spending. The sequester cuts were a way for the federal government to begin to reign in out of control spending, however the cuts have been neutered by political self interests by both Democrats and Republicans as they shelter for cover in an election year.
As noted in the above video, Hagel suggested "shrinking the Army to its smallest size in 74 years" however the real numbers show it would cut troops by only 3.9% from the Marine Corp, the National Guard, the Reserves and the Army with zero cuts in spending. In the proposal there is also the suggestion, as we often hear however is hardly ever realized, the closure of some domestic military bases. Again, the closures would not result in any reduction in spending, the closures would simply offset the additional spending in other areas. The savings, if the closure actually happen, would be around $3 billion and with the Pentagon's budget would be less than a drop in a bucket.
Neale added to his remarks yesterday, "Reducing and eliminating military bases in foreign countries will remove a major source of hostility towards the United States, reduce the threat of a terrorist attack, and reduce federal government debt by $300 billion. Cutting military spending by $600 billion every year will go a long way toward balancing the federal budget and ending the federal income tax. This will give back $5,000 every year to each taxpaying family in the United States; stimulate investment in small businesses; and create millions of sustainable, private-sector jobs. Plenty of jobs for veterans and millions of others now out of work."
The Libertarian Party and its candidates aim to substantially downsize the U.S. military. Libertarians are lining up to run for federal office in 2014 on a platform to cut military spending immediately by at least 60 percent, close a substantial number of overseas military bases, and bring troops home.
Specifically the LP is proposing the following:
- Immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and bring them home to their families.
- Stay out of Syria, Ukraine, and every other foreign conflict.
- Close unneeded U.S. military bases and outposts in more than 130 countries around the world, and bring our troops home. First on the list are the massive deployments in Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Japan — countries that can fund their own military defense.
- Close at least half of the nation's 4,402 domestic Department of Defense sites.
- Use 100 percent of operating cost savings to reduce the federal income tax, balance the federal budget, or both.
- Sell off all foreign and domestic real estate holdings of closed military bases and DoD sites while requiring that all proceeds be used to pay down existing government debt. None of it should pay for more government spending.