If not on the military, then what?

With regard to withholding military taxation such that it is spent on something else, a common challenge is “On what?

On the Beeb news it says “Australia bushfires: Fundraiser reaches A$20m in 48 hours“.  The Australian government spends that much on their military every 8½ hours.

That story also says “Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called up 3,000 reserve troops to help“.  That is 3.7% of their armed forces.  15% of their reserves (i.e. civilians being called away from their day jobs) and 0% of their active personnel.

If 3.7% of the Australian military budget was permanently re-allocated to fire prevention (as opposed to ‘Oh shit, the whole country is on fire, maybe we ought to act now‘), it would provide AUS$765,000,000 annually.  Nearly 40 times what has been raised from charitable giving to help save the country.

Australia spends just over AUS$1,000 per capita on militarisation.  The fundraiser is equivalent to 20,000 people’s military expenditure, about 0.078% of the population.  Military expenditure is 1.9% of GDP and 5.1% of government spending.

Perhaps Australia should spend a bit less on battle tanks and a bit more on the land they drive around on.  The Leopard tanks they had from 1976 to 2007 were never used.  They currently have 59 M1A1 Abrams tanks; these have also never been used.  They would like to increase that to 90.  Each one costs about AUS$13m.  Just ⅔rds of a fund-raiser each.

One thought on “If not on the military, then what?

  1. What does not seem to have been picked up is that the (now) AUS$50 million that has been donated is all extra tax. The money is going to state organisations that had insufficient funded to deal with the totally-predictable problem of Australian bush and forest fires. But it is money from people who have already paid their income tax (or whatever the Australian equivalent is of PAYE and NI) so it is money taxed twice. Also, using third party donation sites and Facebook is a very inefficient way of raising tax that puts money into the pockets of businesses rather being spent on than the environment.

    Spending the tax money in the right place the first time would be far more efficient all round.

    Perhaps the Australian Army could make do with 87 unused tanks instead of 90 unused tanks and invest the AUS$49m saved in fire-fighting training and equipment. Especially since these tank crews have sat around for 43 years with nothing to do except spew out exhaust and lob shells at desert-dwelling wallabies.

    Hmm. I wonder how many of these fires were started by or supplemented by unexploded munitions…

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