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Killing Defense Spending

Posted By Matthew Vadum On August 8, 2011 @ 12:10 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 5 Comments

Slashing defense spending while President Obama puts U.S. troops in harm’s way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, is an idea only a leftist could love, but there is a certain logic to it.

That’s because to American liberals and radicals, the purpose of government is forcibly redistribute wealth and dole out “free” goodies, not protect U.S. interests at home and abroad.

So it makes perfect sense to left-wingers to gut the nation’s defenses in order to hand out ever-growing mountains of freebies to a population increasingly dependent on government largess.

Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) openly admitted in 2009 that he wanted to curtail military spending to make room for more social spending. (Quoted from The Nation):

The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

Frank, like nearly all congressional Democrats, won’t be satisfied until all Americans bow down to the federal Leviathan, so it’s not too hard to figure out what he means by “an adequate level of domestic activity.”

Incidentally, Frank and others on the Left are most comfortable when U.S. soldiers serve as globetrotting social workers, preferably under the command of the anti-American United Nations. This is probably why so many leftists enthusiastically support President Obama’s ill-defined humanitarian military adventure in Libya.

President Obama, too, shares Frank’s hostility to the idea of soldiers acting like soldiers, so it’s not much of a surprise that he is making the Department of Defense a scapegoat for the nation’s fiscal problems. Obama has demonstrated this hostility in many ways. He explicitly rejects the tenets of the Global War on Terror, which is why his regime provided the now watered-down military project with the odd moniker “Overseas Contingency Operations.”

Obama hopes to use deficit-reduction legislation to further advance his Big Government objectives. He gave his blessing and his signature to a legislative package last week to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by an astonishing $2 trillion. The measure contains a mechanism for a new congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the “Super Congress.” That gimmicky committee will reportedly be tasked with coming up with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by November 23.

Given the powerful disinclination of the regular Congress to curtail entitlement spending, it seems unlikely a joint congressional committee, even a super one, will make an effort to reduce spending on the real culprits: entitlement programs and welfare programs.

Military spending is a relative pittance compared to social spending. The Department of Defense budget for fiscal 2010 was $689 billion, or about 20% of the entire $3.456 trillion federal budget.

Medicare and Medicaid together account for $793 billion or 23% of the budget. Social Security swallows up $701 billion or 20%. And that’s just in one year. Unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities currently total $46.2 trillion and no one really knows for certain how much money Obamacare will cost.

As I note in my book, Subversion Inc., by 2014 annual spending on the federal government’s bloated 70 welfare programs is expected to hit $1 trillion. Obama’s plans call for spending another $10 trillion on welfare, according to an analysis by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. It’s worth noting that the $10 trillion is over and above the $16 trillion that has already been spent on the doomed War on Poverty since it was launched.

Few serious commentators think the select committee will target social spending. The panel will surely wimp out, and when it does, the Defense Department will suffer a $350 billion hit immediately, followed by another cut of perhaps $500 billion in the not-too-distant future.

Even Obama’s incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is opposed to making the Pentagon a fiscal whipping boy.

“National security didn’t cause the debt crisis nor will it solve it,” Army General Martin Dempsey said at his confirmation hearing last month. He’s right.

Even if the so-called doves are correct in saying the defense budget needs to be cut, such spending reductions should come one day when America is not fighting three wars on two continents.


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