Defense Budget ‘Cuts’

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According to Defense News, President Obama wants to “cut” defense spending by $400 billion by 2023. There are two things wrong with this, and neither one has anything to do with actually cutting the bloated defense budget.

1. The only cut is in the rate of growth: “The goal will be to hold growth in the defense base budget below inflation, which would save $400 billion by 2023.”

2. Politicians always talk in terms of other years after the next fiscal year because they want to make their numbers look bigger. It is ludicrous for Obama or anyone else to talk about anything that will happen in the year 2023 or any other year after the next fiscal year. 2023 is twelve years from now. What is actually being proposed is a “cut” in the defense budget of $33.33 billion a year, or less than 5 percent. A politician might as well say that he plans on cutting $10 trillion from the federal budget by 2095.

Naturally, the war-crazed Republicans in Congress are upset about any talk of cutting or limiting the rate of growth of the DOD. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is worried about national security even though we spend as much or more than the rest of the world combined: “I have grave concerns about the White House announcing a $400 billion cut to national security spending while our troops are fighting in three different theaters.” I guess ending these senseless wars never occurred to him. I suppose he has some defense contractors in his district and/or gets campaign contributions from them.

Update: More than one reader directed me to OpenSecrets.org where I note that the top two donors to McKeon are Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman. And his district includes Edwards Air Force Base.

9:00 pm on April 23, 2011