Vets: Looming debt is top threat to nation

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When U.S. military veterans were asked what they consider to be the most challenging issues facing our country, the response was overwhelming: 72 percent cited the economy and the national debt as their top concerns for 2012, in a poll conducted by Concerned Veterans for America.

We dug deeper to find out where veterans think the U.S. economy is headed in the long term. Fifty-four percent believe that, over the course of the next 20 years, the economy will either be weaker (34 percent) or remain stagnant (20 percent).

That’s not a stirringly optimistic assessment about the nation’s future prospects as a global economic power. And much of it can be attributed to the challenge posed by our nation’s towering debt – now at $16 trillion and growing.

AS AN ARMY veteran myself, I know most vets and uniformed military personnel look at our growing debt in disbelief, because they recognize what it portends. Veterans understand instinctively that a weak economy and a large debt are dangerous because they undermine our ability to provide for our nation’s security.

In 2010, Adm. Mike Mullen offered this clear warning: “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.” Mullen’s stature as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made that statement all the more compelling – and alarming.

More than two years later, Mullen’s statement looks less like a warning, but more like a prophecy. And like many prophecies, it’s going unheeded, as leaders in Washington kick the can down the road on dealing with runaway spending.

This crisis will grow more acute in January, when the United States will face a true economic reckoning known as “sequestration” – Washington-speak for “automatic budget cuts.” Sequestration will set off nearly $500 billion in indiscriminate cuts to defense spending throughout the next 10 years.

AND YET, THIS year’s election process did little to clarify what our policymakers plan to do about the debt. It’s as if our leaders don’t want to face the grinding reality of what that $16 trillion number represents: a future weighed down by higher taxes and slower growth.

We can do better than this.

That’s why Concerned Veterans for America – an organization representing veterans and military families – embarked on a 10-day bus tour from New York to Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Ohio. Both military and nonmilitary supporters joined us at state houses, American Legions and public parks along the East Coast, calling on policymakers to get back to work, stop compromising our nation’s security and get spending under control.

The tour is over and the election has passed, but our call still stands. Help us send a clear message that our veterans – and all Americans – expect action and deserve better.

(The writer is the CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, and the former executive director of Vets for Freedom. He is an infantry officer in the Army National Guard, and has served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at Guantanamo Bay.)

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chascushman
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chascushman 11/11/12 - 08:43 am
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The economy with only get
Unpublished

The economy with only get worse because the moochers now outnumber the workers.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 11/11/12 - 10:38 am
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i look forward to

i look forward to sequestration. its a handy way to force politicians to actually do what they've been claiming they'll do for years (reduce the deficit). and its under their own hand. bahahahaha.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 11/11/12 - 11:32 am
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Moral decay is #1
Unpublished

The entire country, probably the world spends more than they can afford. The true one per-centers in America are those with a budget that has accounts receivable and accounts payable and it balanced at the bottom. Once we were taught this practices of "balance finances" in public school. Living within ones means.

Greed, coveting, lying, stealing are all part of the "deficit" mentality. Living in the "red ink". How appropriate for our once dread of RED. Now the RED states are colored BLUE. Brain friggin' on you. LOL

There is good debt and bad debt. If you earn more compound interest on your invested money, say, that you mortgage bill. Mortgage debt is good. Fixed payment, fixed debt. Rare.

Bad debt is when you borrow unsecured money on top of unsecured money and do not even pay the interest. Bad. American Government leadership 101. The blind lead the blind and all fall in the pit.

Don't JUDGE the government policy and excuse you own fifteen maxed out Visa cards and Native American Payday Loans. Someone may come and break your knees or take your scalp.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 11/11/12 - 11:33 am
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Military pensions and other

Military pensions and other veterans benefits contribute mightily to the national debt. Just as it is necessary to end our ongoing wars in order to stop producing wounded war veterans, cuts in military spending are necessary to stem national debt. When all so-called "defense" related spending (including off budget programs) is totaled, it comes to as much as $1.2 trillion annually. Cutting defense spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years is just a drop in the bucket, yet defense contractors are claiming that even that small reduction will cost 1 million jobs. Retired Lt. Col. Andrew Bacevich who is now a professor at Boston University states that 40% of the U.S. economy is tied to military spending. Our political leaders and defense industry lobbyists have been instrumental in creating a war driven economy. It is not sustainable. This country must develop an equitable, green, sustainable economy. Peace is the sine qua non for this paradigm shift. Massive cuts in defense spending are necessary in order to fund the development of a truly efficient economy.

KSL
126121
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KSL 11/11/12 - 01:37 pm
3
1
Then get our enemies not to

Then get our enemies not to attack us.

dichotomy
31990
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dichotomy 11/11/12 - 02:52 pm
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"40% of the U.S. economy is

"40% of the U.S. economy is tied to military spending"

Yeh, and 50% of our spending is for entitlement programs. What's your point?

About half of that goes to people who don't work, won't work, and don't ever intend to work. Not that they can't work, they just won't work.

The other half of that goes to people who DID work, PAID their dues, and DESERVE what they get.

Before we cut defense, I suggest we start with the 25% who contribute nothing but suck 1/4 of our budget to support their sorry butts. At least I feel like I get SOMETHING for the money we spend on defense.

carcraft
25151
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carcraft 11/11/12 - 02:55 pm
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We spent over $1 trillion

We spent over $1 trillion dollars on welfare last year, the entire military budget isn't even that high, yep the moochers have won!

CobaltGeorge
154962
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CobaltGeorge 11/11/12 - 05:23 pm
2
2
Can Anybody

believe that our moochers and the parasites that suck out the hard earned working blood would ever support or join if the case every come that the USofA was to be attacked? Hell NO!

Maybe some would join if they were guaranteed to receive for life a double entitlement, like 2 homes, an unlimited EBT card, their 75" plasma TV replaced every year, a BMW replacement every year, ect. ect. ect.

allhans
23523
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allhans 11/11/12 - 11:20 pm
2
0
Just what we need, reductions

Just what we need, reductions in the military. Put a few thousand more on the unemployment roles...heck our credit is still good (or so China is telling us. Generous people, huh?

KSL
126121
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KSL 11/11/12 - 11:50 pm
2
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I hope some of our so called

I hope some of our so called repeaters in Congress will step forward and call for investigation of the actions of those in charge.

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