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Free police nationwide
June 8, 2010 - Jim Anderson
As municipal governments struggle with their budgets, in some cases laying off police officers, U.S. military spending continues to rise.
Let’s see how the dollars might connect.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the number of sworn law enforcement officers across the United States in 2008 averaged 2.5 per 1,000 inhabitants.
The Uniform Crime Report report puts the total number of officers at 708,569.
Let’s estimate a salary/benefit cost of $70,000 per officer. That amounts to a cost of $50 billion.
The proposed Defense Department baseline budget for fiscal 2011 is $708 billion. Cutting that budget by 7 percent would be enough to raise $50 billion.
There is room to quibble about those figures, but the basic argument is clear.
Reducing the baseline U.S. military budget (which excludes veterans benefits, that’s another category) by, say, 7 percent, could pay the salaries and benefits of nearly every sworn law enforcement officer in the nation.
Imagine if every city and county in the nation no longer had to pay its law enforcement officers ... they all worked for free. In New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Iron Mountain ... everywhere.
That’s how a 7 percent cut in the defense budget roughly equates.
According to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, from 2000 to 2009 the U.S. increased its military spending by 76 percent, reaching $661 billion.
We are now nearly $50 billion above that. And that $50 billion would be about enough to have free police nationwide.
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