On July 20th, The Heritage Foundation launched the Four Percent For Freedom Petition calling on President Obama and Congress to halt defense spending cuts. If Congress passes Obama’s budget, America will spend less on defense than before the September 11th attacks. This puts our men and women in uniform at risk. In total, 112,623 Americans signed the petition to call on Obama and Congress to protect America by maintaining a minimum defense budget of 4% of GDP.
Obama’s budget will put defense spending at historical lows but this type of defense budget slash is nothing new from a Democratic President. At the conclusion of the Vietnam War, President Jimmy Carter began reducing funding for defense, shrinking spending from 5.2% of GDP to 4.9% of GDP in 1980. Under President Bill Clinton, total defense spending reached a low of 3% of GDP in 1999. Obama’s long-term plan will reduce defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2019.
This is a dangerous course of action by the Administration and jeopardizes American security. As The Heritage Foundation President Dr. Edwin J. Feulner writes:
Political leaders are busy throwing hundreds of billions at every conceivable domestic program, hoping to stimulate the economy.
Meanwhile, our leaders are cutting back on defense, even in the midst of a war in Afghanistan and ongoing terrorist threats. That’s a mistake, because protecting our nation is one of the few jobs specifically assigned to the federal government by the Constitution. And yet defense spending is on the chopping block.
The United States is unique in history. Our Navy dominates the seas as no other nation has ever dreamed, yet we use that force to protect international commerce and punish pirates.
Similarly, our Army and Marine Corps boast the best-trained, most disciplined, best-equipped ground force ever deployed, yet instead of capturing and annexing valuable land, we prefer to defeat terrorists and help free people to set up democratic governments. For more than a generation, our Air Force has not flown in a sky that it didn’t dominate completely.
Maintaining these advantages will require financial investments. The Administration’s long-term plans would fall short. It’s time to fix these misplaced priorities.
The Heritage Foundation was not alone in this call to protect America. It was joined by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tx.), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Az.), Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut.), Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), and former Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.).