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  • Cutting Defense Can't Balance the Budget

    The roaring debate over the budget has flooded Congress with proposals and counter-proposals aimed at lessening the gaping hole between federal revenues and expenses. Almost every part of the federal budget, including defense, has been targeted under various plans. But cutting defense spending doesn’t fix the problem. It doesn’t even come close.

    According to Heritage Foundation Vice President Kim Holmes, Congress could eliminate the entire Department of Defense budget and still have crushing debt in the future. The greatest slice of the federal budget goes to cover Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and that slice will only get bigger as baby boomers retire. We spend twice as much on those programs than we do on defense. Effective efforts at restoring fiscal health should begin by reforming social entitlements.

    Of course, defense spending is a sizeable part of the remaining budget. In a recent publication, Heritage expert Mackenzie Eaglen identifies specific programs that demand scrutiny and if warranted, the judicious use of the budget scalpel. Any superfluous, wasteful, or inefficient program should be cut. But these “savings” should immediately be reinvested into programs that increase the security of our troops, keep the United States military at the top of its game, and safeguard our country.

    It comes down to this: Although cuts to the federal budget are desperately needed to tackle out-of-control spending, slashing defense won’t solve the problem. Nor is it appropriate, given the enormous responsibilities the United States asks of its military and intelligence agencies.

    Providing for the “common defense” is no luxury. It is the first obligation of the federal government, according to the Constitution. Shortchanging defense is sacrificing security.

    Scott Nason is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Cutting Defense Can't Balance the Budget

    1. Andrew, VA says:

      True. But it doesn't mean that Defense is completely untouchable when it comes to budget cuts.

      Take the Selective Service System. We haven't had a draft since 1973, and yet we still have an agency that is in charge of running one — and punishing young men (which shows the agency's age right there) for not signing up. It's a complete waste of money and no longer reflects the realities of modern 21st century warfare. Might as well maintain an entire fleet of wooden sailing ships or boxes of whetstones to sharpen sabres.

    2. Calandra says:

      Well said! Our soldiers are in lack as we speak…an increase in defense spending is the only increase I could support. Of all of Obama's "policy priority" rhetoric, you would think that the one area that precedes and secures the rest, namely national security, would be a true priority.

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "Of course, defense spending is a sizeable part of the remaining budget. In a recent publication, Heritage expert Mackenzie Eaglen identifies specific programs that demand scrutiny and if warranted, the judicious use of the budget scalpel. Any superfluous, wasteful, or inefficient program should be cut."

      I agree with the above statement, but I do believe that funding needs to be cut from the budget all together. It is simple bad logic to say we saved it, now let us spend it. Look at it this way, Eaglen identified about a $100 billion cuts from defense – about 1/7th the budget, if we use Heritage's numbers. In 2008, the defense budget was $554 billion for DoD and war on terror. In 2011, the defense budget is $739 billion for the same. This is an increase of $185 billion increase in just three years! In 2001, defense spending was $336 billion. Right now, we have 2.2 times the defense budget we had 10 years ago. That is massive growth. 1/7 of the 2008 budget was $79 billion. If this is called waste then in 2008 we could have had cut that and had a budget of $475 billion. The budget for 2011 would be $642 billion if we cut the $100 billion identified by Eaglen – an increase of $167 billion.

      The fact is we are still increasing defense spending by nearly the same amount – we are not taking anything away. If 1/7th of the budget is wasted and that amount is not otherwise allocated, then the DoD would have to come up with $100 billion in new spending in an instant – very ripe for more waste, fraud and abuse. The defined cuts from Heritage did not include moving redundant programs like issuing parking permits, open government programs, fleet vehicles, issuing ID badges, payroll and other human resources outside of the DoD. This would save billions more. If we can get the DoD budget down by eliminating all overlapping, redundant, superfluous, wasteful, fraudulent, needless or inefficient programs and equipment, and consolidate our intelligence community from 16 agencies down to one we can save a lot. In addition, it would not hurt to get the federal workforce under a pay/benefits structure similar to the private sector. This would save the DoD billions more – as well as the rest of the federal government!

      If it was waste before and we get rid of it, why open that cash up for new and different waste? Let us just get rid of it. Use these savings to achieve a balanced budget – one that can start paying off the national debt. Sure entitlements will need its own cleaver. However, in those areas I completely agree with 100% of your assessments. You just need to apply the same kind of thinking to defense. Defense and entitlements are the two big weights on the budget. Both should see some significant cuts if we are to get out of the mess the federal workforce made for us.

    4. Frank H. says:

      This blog is an outright lie. Over 50% of the budget, 40% of the deficit and 35% increase to the national debt comes from the department of defense, and has for the last 8 years. Entitlements come second. I'm not even getting into tax cuts for high income earners, that's a different story. Do people actually follow this website for credibility?

    5. Frank H. says:

      How can entitlements be higher then the Department of Defense when the Department of Defense takes up around 740 Billion dollars and Entitlements take up around 720 Billion. You guys have got to try a little harder with these blogs. A lie is a lie.

    6. Bobbie says:

      For the one thing every American is entitled to in this country is the defense of this country. Now, have the able bodied take care of themselves so we can move on.

      Get rid of the special interests!!! and the illusion people are entitled based on their race, creed and/or culture. It only shows government favoritism, racism and discrimination and promotes acknowledgment of race, creed or cultural weakness. FREEDOM IS WHAT IT IS! CARRY ON WITH YOUR OWN!


    7. Gabriel says:

      lies, lies, lies, lies, lies

    8. Pingback: World Spinner

    9. George Colgrove, VA says:


      Defense Dept. commissions 'Cheetah' robot and Terminator-like droid; hummingbird drone also in works

      "A Massachusetts engineering firm known for creating futuristic military robots has received multimillion dollar contracts to develop two more battlefield bots for the Department of Defense.

      Boston Dynamics, which in 2008 unveiled a four-legged robot called BigDog, has been tapped by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the DOD, to create a human-like robot and an agile, robotic Cheetah…"

      "They're not so focused on what the ultimate use will be," Marc Raibert, lead investigator of the Cheetah program and Boston Dynamics' president, told the Boston Herald.

      THIS IS WASTE – It must go.

      We do not have money for this. We have far more important priorities to put scarse public dollars to. The DoD is looking likeit has a lot of extra cash to mess around with! TIme to dosome serious cutting.

    10. j. m. cameron says:

      Cutting our Defense budget is WRONG. The liberals that have poisoned our society and way of life are trying to get us to do just that. Once we start cutting and once the Financial crisis around the corner arrives, we will be in grave danger. The liberal agenda is just the seeds of betrayal yet to come. We need to STAND UP AGAINST them, the Russians, China and all the Thug dictators of this world. We need to Arm ourselves and Take out the Evil that undermines so much of this beautiful planet of ours. The Lord is waiting for us to adhere to his Divine words, trust in them and His return. We need to become the Police and Army of God. Then we can take care of mankind. We have lost our virtues, judea-christian ways, and most of all the call of GOD for us to stand up against evil. Not all should have same rights. Those that are evil curse GOD of the BiBle- should be put down once and for all-completely. We should take their arms, weapons, and destroy them completely. We need to rule the Ski immediately, take out all satillites but ours and Nato's and Get busy with the Lords work ahead. How else you think we live peacefully on this earth?? Wake Up America. US Military-Wake Up Please

    11. Pingback: Taking His Name in Vain: What Would Jesus Cut? | Acton Institute PowerBlog

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