2024 Election

RFK Campaign Proposes ‘Massive Cuts’ To Military: ‘Everything Hinges On Demilitarization’

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. would cut military spending nearly in half to pay for a spate of new and expanded social programs if he wins the White House, according to his campaign.

Charles Eisenstein, a senior adviser to the Kennedy campaign, said that the candidate would aim to cut military spending to a level not seen since President Dwight Eisenhower’s last year in office. The savings from the cost cutting would be redirected to cover childcare subsidies and other welfare programs.

“Everything hinges on demilitarization,” Eisenstein told NOTUS. “OK, like massive cuts in the military budget.”

Kennedy is running a long-shot, independent bid for the presidency. Kennedy is in a distant third, trailing President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. A recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll found Biden and Trump tied at 42 points each with Kennedy far behind with 11 points. Still, Kennedy’s third-party bid has attracted more support than any independent run since Ross Perot in 1992.

Under Eisenhower in 1960, the United States spent about $47 billion on its military. In 2022, that number had ballooned to roughly $880 billion. But over the course of the decades, military spending as a percentage of GDP actually fell by more than half. In 1960, the U.S. military budget was equivalent to about 9% of GDP. In 2022, that fraction had fallen to just 3.5%.

“We’ll be coming out with policies that are more specific,” Eisenstein said, “but I’m just painting a general picture of an obsolete, massive military machine that has spent a trillion dollars in regime-change wars over the last 20 years. A trillion dollars. What have we achieved with that? Can you say that we were successful even in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, or Libya? I mean, these countries have descended into chaos.”

Asked where the cuts would come from, Eisenstein proposed closing overseas military bases and decommissioning aircraft carriers as examples. Military bases within the United States may also be closed as well.

U.S. service members who lose their jobs to the cuts could be retrained and rehired to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, Eisenstein suggested.

Brent Sadler, a senior research fellow for naval warfare at The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for National Security, pushed back on the proposed Kennedy cuts, and said his campaign has mistakenly conflated the failures of U.S. political leadership with its military.

“All of those were politically-decided actions,” Sadler told The Daily Wire of Eisenstein’s assessment of U.S. involvement in the Middle East. “The military was just simply supporting the decisions of the political leadership. And that’s both Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal that own those decisions.”

Eisenstein is also wrong about obsolete technology in the military, according to Sadler. The naval warfare expert pointed out that aircraft carriers have been in use in the Red Sea in recent months protecting international shipping lanes from Houthi rockets.

“You don’t get rid of what you know works before you get into a fight,” Sadler said before noting increasing Chinese investment in its navy, including in aircraft carriers. “It would be reckless in my mind to basically start discarding aircraft carriers or stop building them. Once you stop building them, you basically are putting a death sentence on the industrial base that gives you those, and it’s very rapid deterioration when you do that.”

Sadler said that his position may not be “cost-effective, but it certainly will make sure you live to see another day.”

The Kennedy campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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