Bush bumps up defense budget

(What have you done to get your head around these numbers?) there's two ways to analyze these numbers. The first is if you adjust for inflation. The number Bush is dropping is really colossal. This would be the highest amount of spending in real terms since World War II, higher than Korea and Vietnam, a very big number adjusted for inflation. At the same time, the second way is a bit more moderate which is to compare defense spending as a percentage of the national economy, what we call the Gross Domestic Product. In that light, it's a smaller percentage of the national economy. With all that together, the President is asking for $4.4 of GDP. That compares to about 14% during the Korean War and 9% during the Vietnam War. (So is that reduced amount of impact accurate or not?) Well it's still a large part of the federal budget, just smaller amount of the GDP, making it a political as well as financial consideration. (How do military experts assess whether or not the US needs this amount of money to keep the country safe?) The supplemental money you talked about for Iraq and Afghanistan is beyond the base budget of $515 we're talking about, those supplemental budgets are simply going to go away under the next president. It's not the best way to do business. These supplemental budgets began after 9/11 when the cost for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could not be sustained by the baseline Pentagon budget. (Will this budget do the job?) The money they're asking for wants to expand the ground forces, the army, marine corps, special forces, because they've been carrying the heaviest burden of these wars. Everybody agrees there's a great strain on the force, so you have to either grow the army and marines as well as improve the benefits to people in uniform or they're going to walk. A lot of money to re-outfit equipment that's been worn out. Then there's money for readiness, training and preparation. (Make sense of this figure: $20 billion set aside for an increase in the size of army and marines by 12,000. that adds up to $1.7 million per soldier. A private soldier's base pay is about $16,000 so that seems like a lot to spend). It's not like a check is cut for $1.7 million when you walk through the door, that's for training, housing, equipment. That all is in those figures. (How about in terms of taking care of veterans?) there's a lot of money for veterans' benefits. It's also trying to reassess some issues. This is also just the opening proposal. It will be shaped and cut and changed in Congress as well.

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