Ok, US DoD budget is 4.5X greater than China's using the US DoD estimate.Keep in mind that the DOD regards China's actual defense expenditures to be about double the published figures,
Then the Chinese will suffer, relative to the US, in operational and maintenance quality. Yes the US is spending substantially on ongoing wars, but one of the inevitable consequences is that the US now has by far the most combat experience in the world. Also, the US has a volunteer, highly professional military while the Chinese conscript troops. A volunteer military is more expensive per pair of boots to run, but much, much more motivated and effective.and that China (unlike the United States) has relatively tiny operational and maintenance costs.
A large chunk of American payments go to personnel costs, followed by procurement and maintenance costs on existing equipment.
Why? Why can't the US cut one or two air craft carriers?The leftover goes to development and procurement of new weapons systems, and isn't all that much. From Wikipedia:
Components Funding Change, 2009 to 2010
Operations and maintenance $283.3 billion +4.2%
Military Personnel $154.2 billion +5.0%
Procurement $140.1 billion −1.8%
Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation $79.1 billion +1.3%
Military Construction $23.9 billion +19.0%
Family Housing $3.1 billion −20.2%
Total Spending $685.1 billion +3.0%
Put that into perspective vis a vis China's true budgetary outlays of approximately $160B, a significantly larger chunk of which goes to developing and procuring new weapons systems relative to the United States, and you're suddenly looking at a better relative picture. Again according to the DOD, China is spending about 50% of its budget on procurement, and 15% on R&D - much higher ratios than in the United States.
Cut some of those operational and personnel costs, I agree, but these are much harder to go after politically than, say, a new fighter plane.
I'm familiar with earlier periods in US history where the US military was gutted of resources and ignored - after WWI, again after WWII - lessons to be learned from that history. But the current situation is not comparable in the slightest to those eras. So if and when the Chinese start spending twice what the US spends, call me in thirty years.We are in real danger of losing our generational lead on the Chinese.
Yes! US: 12 nuclear aircraft carriers, with half a century of experience refining the sophisticated ballet of naval aviation. China: 0. Then there's the military spending (and ongoing cooperation) of US allies in the Pacific - Australia, Japan, S. Korea, etc. Chinese allies: 1 (NK). BTW, if anyone needs to be especially worried about China militarily it is those same Pacific countries, not the US.We may outnumber them in number of units and quality of operators,
Well here you've left the realm of quantifiable military advantage and moved into political hand waving. In what sense does the US restrain China politically now? What prestige is granted by a $14 trillion debt?but as a matter of international prestige, the damage is in Chinese technical parity regardless of practical parity. The loss in clout to the Chinese will damage our ability to get what we want on the international stage (Iran, N. Korea, and Taiwan, for starters); this is the nature of real politik.
On to entitlement spending cuts:
Agreed, exactly so.[...]
The point being, the Act itself doesn't cut much of anything. Congress just instructed CBO to consider separate government cutting action when scoring the budgetary impacts of ACA.
Agreed, that was my point above [highlights mine]. Even if ACA didn't make the cuts, by writing down intentions it provides political cover to carry them out. And above I was specifically drawing attention to the means testing of Medicare beneficiarys in ACA, not the doc fix.Repeal the Act, and implement the cuts anyway (where reasonable and prudent), and we've got the savings minus the cost of this massive new entitlement.