Last Tuesday, Heritage experts Rachel Zissimos and Thomas Spoehr released a monumental report on defense spending that soundly debunks the liberal argument that we spend too much on defense compared with other nations.

The report explains:

Statements such as “the U.S. spends more on defense than the next eight countries combined” evoke an appearance of excess, but give no consideration to the decisions driving defense spending or the factors contributing to costs across national economies. Claims that the U.S. spends too much, as measured against the defense expenditures of other countries, are disingenuous. The security environment in which the U.S. military is expected to operate has grown increasingly complex, and national defense resourcing warrants more than a solitary sentence of discussion.

The experts present a sound case to defeat the leftist rhetoric that downplays the necessity of spending for a strong defense. They argue that we should base funding decisions on national security requirements – not arbitrary comparisons. These comparisons fail to take into account many fundamental differences such as the value of the dollar and what it can buy in different economies. This fact alone delegitimizes dollar-for-dollar comparisons. Additionally, the United States has many unique security needs that are not applicable to other countries. With this perspective, the experts assert that we should not focus on how much we currently spend but how much we need to spend to meet our national security needs.

The report concludes:

The U.S. should not strive to achieve military defense parity with other countries, in either cost or capability. Rather, the goal of the U.S. should be military superiority, so that when the nation must fight, it will win—and win decisively.

Read the full report here>>

When Heritage weighs in on an important debate like national security, people listen. Thanks to you, our experts continue to counter the liberals myths and misperceptions about our military and national defense propagated. And they continue to deliver excellent research and sound, conservative policy to those in positions of influence.

What do you think about the Left’s characterization of defense spending?

Comments (45)

Harley Hunter - July 15, 2017

Always has been bogus but then again, the Left is a pro at twisting most anything to suit their fancy. The biggest problem w/ this is that they have taken over all of education & gov’t at every level in the US such that the right is always facing an uphill battle to win back the minds that have been completely brainwashed

Tom Lanners - July 15, 2017

The Left keeps the anti defense spending arguement simple for the following reasons:
1. They are appealing to what Rush calls the low information voter. What I call the Kardashian generation.
2. They hate the U.S. and want us to be weak.
3. Lastly if we spend less on defense, the Left would want to use that money to buy more votes.

Jan Kreider - July 15, 2017

Thanks to groups like The Heritage Foundation their lies and fake news is being uncovered every day and hopefully the people across this nation will not listen or believe them anymore. We need a strong defense and it is already evident since the election. Not as many illegals are coming in and no attack of great magnitude in this country. Except for the congressman and thankfully the Capitol police were there to take stop him and protect the other congressmen,

Jim Krause - July 15, 2017

It is the same as the Dimms use for all their trash talk: it has no basis in fact just a basis to obfuscate the issue.

Chan Bailey - July 15, 2017

Two synonyms that start with the letter L. Left and Liar.

Timothy R Eby - July 15, 2017

Excellent analysis. Thank you for bringing to the public’s attention, as short as it is in this 20 second sound bite generation. But tell me it ain’t so re. doing away with cluster munitions! That is exactly the wrong policy, for the reasons stated. I was a FAC (Forward Air Controller) in the SEA war, and cluster munitions were a valuable resource in certain situations, and are even more effective with their higher technology today. I suspect this is a State Dept. decision, and not the military’s. Keep the State Dept. limited to talking, and leave the military to do their specialty when the talking fails and things get ugly. State has no idea how to blow things up, or even plan for it, if and when that is what’s needed. I left the military in disgust that our hands were continually tied behind our backs. I see that not much has changed, except for the worse, since 1970.

June Wilson - July 15, 2017

I think the Left is so obsessed in trying to remove President Trump from the White House that they truly aren’t showing a lot of intelligence these days! Sadly,I believe they all think like former President Obama and don’t like America as she is and want to be a part of Europe. Heaven forbid!

Bill Coates - July 15, 2017

The problem is that too many Congressional Republicans listen to the Democrat whining, and would like to use some of that money to buy votes for themselves. Without defense spending, nothing will be left to defend, but our domestic leftists are doing a pretty good job of pulling down the economy anyway.

Paul Wolf - July 15, 2017

This has always been the left’s (refuse to capitalize the “L”.) mantra. It’s now gone way beyond that. It’s about obstruction and being contrary. If the GOP proposed budget cuts to defense, they would object. As is often said recently, all the left has is resistance. They have nothing else to offer real Americans.

Mrs. Phyllis Eix - July 15, 2017

We know they’d rather spend it on entitlements and social engineering, but the true need is to rebuild our military capabilities.

Mrs. Robyn Schmalz - July 15, 2017

Does anyone, besides me, remember a few decades ago, when Democrats cared enough about their own country to actually want to work some things out across the aisle, and a time when Republicans had BACKBONE?
Even JFK signed off on defense spending bills. No wonder the alt Left is so dizzy– with all the spinning they do.

Glennie R Lawson - July 15, 2017

The Disingenous Left-Democrat Politicians & Bureaucrats- (ALWAYS pretending ‘To The General Public’ that what IS Wrong is Right and What IS Right is Wrong) ARE Always Lying, Changing Facts and Trying To Con The General Public Into Believiing Their Lies, VIA News & News Media.
That being Said, The Corupt Politicians (Democrats, Corrupt Republicans and Most Bureaucrats) ALL Want Full Control of ALL 💰 Money and to get that Control They Must Get Control of ALL People. So They Lie About Almost Everything To Hide Their Diabolical Behavior and Wickedness And Are Constantly Attempting To Fool The IGNORANT People Among The General Public.
Therefore The “Left” Democrats’ Remarks About Defense Spending IS Rediculous Pretenses That Has Nothing To Do With The Truth About Military and Defense Spending. Their Remarks Cannot Be Farther From The Truth!
They Simply Want To Fool and Blindfold And Con and/or Fool The General Public!
My Statements ARE 100% True!
President Trump and The Heritage Foundation Make Wise and Prudent Decisions, Statemennts and Suggestions!

James C. Scott - July 15, 2017

The left objects to defense spending increases just because they want more money available for their own pork barrel projects!

Neil Greiling - July 15, 2017

They are bound and determined to have a one world government and when they do if they do they will be very much in trouble with each other and God will not bless as they will be on their own.

Dave Hardy - July 15, 2017

The left thinkers need to spend time in middle east countries, or some south American countries without credit cards and life lines other than their on ingenuity. They might comprehend what the rule of law really means, and what it takes to maintain it. What does it take to live in peace, prosper, protect my family, friends, and those who differ with me(freedom)? The most intelligent, most powerful, most controlled force on earth, the United States Military.

Ruben Moreno - July 15, 2017

If it were upto our democrat leftist we would allow the Blue hats of the UN to run
our military. Peace though strength not lead from behind.

Paul D’Aigle - July 15, 2017

Asinine and ill-advised.

alaina andersen - July 15, 2017

the left wing are idiots we mormons dont like them at all

Homer S. Spradling - July 15, 2017

I am in full agreement that we need a strong military, one that is up to the task of defending this nation against aggression.
How ever I am not in agreement in the way military spending is used. Consider the proposal of spending up to 3.5 billion dollars to comply with transgender people serving in the military, and a procurement system that no one understands. A military that has become a global police force, not a fighting force. A policy that is not to engage to win, but to adhere to a plan of engagement written by people who have no military experience. We need to develop defense strategy that protects this nation and encourage others to do the same. We must have a strong military but one that is focused on why it exeats, the readiness required to do its job not used as a social/political experiment.

BOBBY E. RICHARDSON - July 15, 2017

WE NEED THE STRONGEST MILITARY IN THE WORLD. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY WE HAVE OUR FREE WAY OF LIFE IN THE U.S.A. PLUS, WE HAVE A COMMANDER IN CHIEF THAT KNOWS THIS AND HE HAS MILITARY INDIVIDUALS IN POSITIONS THAT CAN KEEP HIM INFORMED AS TO WHAT IS NEEDED TO MAINTAIN OUR FREEDOM. MAY THE LORD BLESS PRESIDENT TRUMP AND V.P. PENCE AND THEIR TEAM. THE HOUSE AND SENATE NEED TO GET THRIR ACTS TOGETHER AND SUPPORT THIS ADMINISTRATION ON THESE IMPORTANT ISSUES. THIS IS WHY THEY ARE IN OFFICE, WE SENT THEM THERE TO GET ISSUES ACCOMPLISHED.

Harry and Anne S - July 15, 2017

Sadly, they are so divided from reality that, without divine intervention, we can expect much, much more of the same from that side. I do remember well the screaming delegates at their 2012 convention, don’t dare use the name of God in a positive way. Pray!!

Michael Loots - July 15, 2017

To reduce defense spending move all cost associated with bases on foreign soil to foreign aid. We’re there aiding in their defense.

Murf Appling - July 15, 2017

Is it not specifically mentioned in the Preamble: “Provide for the Common Defense”? Is it not the most discussed topic within “The Document”? Did not President Washington warn to “prepare for war in time of peace?” Does not the entire world, especially the “Free World”, look toward the United States concerning questions of military intervention? In all of world history since July 4, 1976, there has been only ONE army where people have run toward & not from. The only regret, as far as America is concerned, is the “military industrial complex” that concerned President Eisenhower & it is very hard to disagree with his conclusions.

William Carter Jr - July 15, 2017

they do ignore the commitments to other nations around the world that few other nations have. They also ignore that we have to maintain and service our equipment and personnel. there are not enough military members to share the taskings we give them resulting in burnout for members and their families. there ought to be a requirement that at least one senator and 1/3 of each states representatives have some military background. I recall in the 70’s a debate about Israel and the middle east and not one member of the congressional group could even find the west bank on a map!

Var - July 15, 2017

We need to be able to fight on 4 fronts. One of which is continental US (against a foreign military.) We need to have a specially trained military force, trained to fight in North America. I believe that will be needed.

ROBERT MCWAIN - July 15, 2017

All the left can think of is getting more money to waste.

PHILBROOK K COLLINS - July 15, 2017

Doesn’t anyone understand that we have so much more to lose than all of those countries combined?? More at risk, more need for DEFENSE! Anyone who doesn’t understand are the ones Johnathan Gruber talks about. Dumb and easily manipulated by deception!

Robert Hammons - July 15, 2017

The liberals attitude on defense is very much like their views on gun control, they’re against guns but when there’s a problem the first thing they do is call someone with a gun.
If our military is not strong and well equipped when a problem arises who are they going to call? Calling ghost busters is not an option, but would be better than expecting one of our poorly equipped allies, who usually depends on the good old United States Of America to take care of the situation!
Thank God we have a strong military and thanks to those serving!!

Gene Stark - July 15, 2017

Let’s go back to WW II- “We” decided
To scrap our Navy,etc. and send it to
Japan. Then, decided Hitler was just
Bringing Germany out of a depression .
Point! A WELL ARMED military is a
Very good way to be PREPARED for
The Future to come!

G. ALLAN BARNES - July 15, 2017

I’ve posted two comments on “what do you think of the left’s characterization of military spending?” Neither was posted. It’s apparent what you can say, is being overseen by what appears to be a big brother approach to freedom of speech.

L Genevieve Petite-Kirby - July 15, 2017

I totally agree with Harley Hunter’s reply of July 15, 2017.

The right is facing an uphill battle to win back “brainwashed” minds.

Freeman Shell - July 16, 2017

We will never have the time as in WWI or the Industrial capability as in WWII to survive without a defense that is ready at all times. If we are to survive we cannot falter in having the best military on the planet.

KN - July 16, 2017

The United States need to maintain military superior at all times which Obama had weaken and betrayed our country by strenghtening Iran, North Korea and the terrorists. Our military now have to make up the lost eight years of military technology.

Duane - July 16, 2017

Like all gov’t spending, it needs
oversight to get the lowest cost for the
most effect.The previous administration
pulled back money for military spending
and see the result of that. But the
pendulum swings so lets guard against
going too far the other way.

AUGUST KIPERTS - July 16, 2017

America should NOT be the world policeman, the countries of the area in question should be responsible for the area peace and welfare.

Donald Black - July 16, 2017

While it’s true that we spend a lot of money on defense, we still refuse to defend ourselves. We allow the Nation Of Islam to come and go as it pleases in our country, even though they claim that we are their enemy in their book. If we had imported Nazis into our land during WWII we would have been hung for treason, yet here we are bringing in these colonists who want to destroy everything we stand for. The only difference between us and Islam is ideology. During WWII the only difference between us and Nazis was ideology.

We’ve spent $3 trillion fighting a few platoons over in the Middle East while a whole army of enemy troops is moving into our country without a shot being fired!

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?!?!?!

John McDonough - July 16, 2017

The left will stoop to any depths to undermine the President and his policies. They need to be exposed at
every turn for what they are, and the swamp still needs to emptied!

Philip Lyon - July 16, 2017

Since people costs are over 80% of the US budget compared to 20% or less for most other countries, simple comparisons are deliberately misleading as they were in the cold war when the same claims were made, when the soviets could buy more weapons, today with stupidities like the F-35, USS Ford etc, the margin is even greater.

Nancy Norberg - July 17, 2017

I believe the #1 priority of the Federal Government ‘s responsibility to “we, the people” is national defense. The left’s desire is to control all aspects of our lives, make us dependent on “the elite few”, thus any argument they can present to the discredit the USA is used.

Sonie Thompson - July 17, 2017

The left blows all the Republicans do out of proportion! We spend more on education than anything else, and yes, we need a strong defense….a superior defense!
Knowing that education takes center stage on spending, we can see why most teachers follow the leftists.

Caroline Woodis - July 18, 2017

I believe the Left will argue against anything President Trump will say or do regardless and the Left does not care if they are making up statements in their arguments. Their main goal is to discredit President Trump as much as possible and as often as possible–by any means, whether ethical or not, legal or not, true or not. They have one mission only. To destroy President Trump. President Trump needs the nation to be praying for him and the Republican party to support him; but that is not happening. His own party is working against him. If they think that is going to win them votes, they will be very disappointed when they are up for reelection. Term limits can’t come soon enough! Drain the Swamp! End the corruption! But that is a gargantuan task–maybe too big for anyone. Unless we can get all the career politicians out and support the new conservative Representatives, Senators, judges, governors.

Larry Farnell - July 18, 2017

Reagan’s motto was Peace Thru Strength. This enabled the USA to win the Cold War after more than 40 years. Our mission in this dangerous world is to lead and defend all free people to democracy and the fruits of our way of life. We will not achieve our destiny by skimping on our military power. On the contrary, a weak military will get Americans killed around the world & at home. Our allies around the world respect us because of our diplomacy backed by our strength. Our enemies around the world must fear us; fear our military strength & our willingness/resolve to use our power when needed.

Dennis Crouch - July 18, 2017

To use spending as the criteria with which we develop and maintain our National Defense capability is very obviously a non-starter. The purpose of our military is well layed out in our constitution. It is to protect our nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We have a military to win wars!! There is no other purpose. “Money spent” is hardly a thoughtful criteria.

G. ALLAN BARNES - July 19, 2017

Anything that threatens the nanny-state dogma, the leftists will complain about. The mainstream, establishment (rinos) are the biggest impediment, because you know the Democrats are in lockstep with the progressive left and are committed to the resist Trump movement, they should ALL get a backbone transplant and start working WITH the President and NOT against him. Also, T.R. EBY commented on the elimination of CBU’S (cluster bomb units), likely because of some human rights group. If the gov’t keeps eliminating effective tools for the military, all that will be left will be slap fighting and saying bad things about their opponents mothers.

james best - August 6, 2017

:Four Services” budget requests s/b as follows:1) Military purpose: If it doesn’t fight, don’t fund it. 2) Capability: “If the proposed force package cannot rapidly deploy and fight, reconsider funding it.”3) Modernization: “When modernizing, spend to innovate, not invent.” 4) Unity of Effort: Fund joint solutions. Not single service solutions. 5)Overhead: Cut overhead, increase fighting power. From congress.gov.

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