• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Bad Brew Alert: Tea Party Being Hijacked by Progressives

    Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) recently asserted that there is a “potential alliance” forming between Progressive and Tea Party lawmakers on the issue of defense spending cuts. Others have also noted this opportunity:  “Arguably, the new Tea Party push on defense spending merely echoes long-standing progressive attacks on the Pentagon budget as the nation’s number one ‘entitlement’ program.”

    But defense is no entitlement program. It is one of the core responsibilities of the federal government, and a necessity for sustained security and an independent American foreign policy. The issue of defense spending is exacerbated by a gross misunderstanding among average Americans about the share of military spending in the budget. According to a recent poll, 63% of those asked believe that the United States spends more on the military than on Social Security and Medicare. This is far from reality: roughly 58% of the 2010 U.S. budget was spent on domestic entitlements and welfare spending, whereas 20% was spent on defense.

    The US need not police the world, but since the beginning, military preparedness for threats both manifest and unknown has been a priority. In George Washington’s first annual address to Congress in 1790, he cautioned future Americans to safeguard defense:

    Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.

    America’s traditional spending priorities deserve to be voiced in the current budget debate.

    While Progressives and some Libertarians are attempting to form political alliances to cut American military spending, China plans to increase its military spending by 12.6% (to $91.5 billion) in 2011, prompting concern from countries in the region. China may not constitute a direct military threat at this time, but according to George Washington’s understanding of Congress’ role, the imminence of a threat is secondary to ensuring “effectual means” to provide for U.S. security.

    Progressives such as Barney Frank do not “merit particular regard” for American security and independence abroad. Indeed, they would rather sacrifice military preparedness on the altar of domestic entitlement spending, in an effort to survive the current spending cuts with their bloated welfare programs intact. What could be further from the goals and values of the Tea Party movement?

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Bad Brew Alert: Tea Party Being Hijacked by Progressives

    1. robert watkins , Sli says:

      well, as to this article , I have seen sixty and six summers come and go.

      And I have noticed that we were un- prepared for either of the two , World Wars

      that we became engaged in after the enemy attacked us we had to play catch-up….

      and I hate to see us all, over the Globe fighting all these -Brush-fires instead of going ahead and congress Declaring War .And going on and getting the Job done .

    2. Dan, Detroit says:

      "The Obama Misery Index and the Rise of Obamavilles" is the best blog post I've read in a long time. This is why President Obama will be a one-term president! http://mittromneycentral.com/2011/03/07/the-obama

      I can't recommend this piece highly enough. This will be all the ammo we'll need when talking to other voters during the 2012 general election.

    3. Nathan, Arizona says:

      I work with active experienced and former military personnel, and they agree that military funding can be cut. Specifically, there are military bases throughout the United States that are no longer strategically important. Though the military wants to close them down, they cannot because they represent an a large impact on the local community, and the representatives of these communities fight to keep them funded in spite of their irrelevance, and in spite of military recommendations.

    4. West Texan says:

      The vast majority of federal spending should be directed toward defense as this is the federal government's delegated role. Entitlements, or whatever far left social progressives wish to call it, is rightfully states' internal domestic business and doesn't belong at the national level at all. Libertarians tend to be a too short sighted on defense matters as it relates to real world threats.

    5. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Current Budget – not yet adjusted due to the GOP impotence.

      Interest $ 205B ( 5%)

      All Entitlements $2,170B (57%)

      All Defense $ 965B (25%)

      All Other $ 490B (13%)

      Total Budget $3,830

      Taxes Collected $2,175 (57%)

      Debt $1,655 (43%)

      Taxes Summary:

      Income Tax $1,155B

      Social Ins $ 805B

      business $ 80B

      Value Tax $ 135B

      Total Tax $2,175B

      Social Insurance (SS and MC/MC) are dedicated funds.

      Take out social insurance collections ($805B)from both sides of budget

      Interest $ 205 ( 7%)

      All Entitlements $1,365* (45%)

      All Defense $ 965 (32%)

      All Other $ 490 (16%)

      Total $3,025

      Taxes $1,370* (45%)

      Debt $1,655 (55%)

      This changes the picture greatly. Where it is generally accepted that ALL federal spending has loads of waste, we should cut all areas by a significant portion. Even if we wiped out the entire non-funded entitlements (sorry Granny!) we are still short on eliminating the debt.

      It can also be seen once all dedicated funds are applied that we are actually spending more of the generally funded portion of government by 55% debt! I just do not get it! Are we alarmed yet. Is it time to rein in the recklessness yet? Is anyone in DC listening? Corporate heads have committed suicide in JAIL for corruption that is miniscule in comparison.

    6. George Colgrove, VA says:

      George Washington had a defense budget that does not show up on the charts today. Due to rounding at $0.01 billion, Washington’s defense budgets show up as zero; due to rounding his deense budget would have to be less than $5 million. The GDP of the states at the time went about $200 million up to $410 million while Washington was president meaning that Washington’s defense budget was no more than 2.5% GDP at the beginning of his presidency and 1.2% GDP at the end – but it was likely a lot less. Washington was a frugal man and kept precise personal financial records. During his presidency, he showed the the nation the ideal public servant traits and showed excessive amounts of restraint. Washington did not have a standing Army, he had a coalition of militias that were mostly private. Defense spending in the day was essentially supporting the troops during war then once the war was over the soldiers all went back home to a normal life with funding going back down to the basics. I think Washington would be appalled by what is going on in the DoD today.

      Though I do contend that Washington favored preparedness in the field of war, I do not believe he meant that we spend our children’s and grand children’s future doing so developing a secretive military machine. I think he meant that we the people must have armaments and have the knowledge and skill on using them so that when called upon we would be ready for battle. The founders fed upon the knowledge handed down by Greece and Rome. Greece’s success was primarily due to a well-prepared citizenry.

      Granted things are different today and the scale of warfare is much grander. But we are edging on spending over a $ trillion in total defense spending – 10 times China! For what?

      Some Washington Quotes:

      Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.

      George Washington

      Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

      George Washington

      Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved.

      George Washington

      Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

      George Washington

      Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth.

      George Washington

      Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.

      George Washington

      Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

      George Washington

      Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.

      George Washington

      I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honors not founded in the approbation of my Country.

      George Washington

      If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

      George Washington

      My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.

      George Washington

      Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.

      George Washington

      Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.

      George Washington

      Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.

      George Washington

      The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.

      George Washington

      The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.

      George Washington

      The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.

      George Washington

      The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.

      George Washington

      The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.

      George Washington

      When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.

      George Washington

      Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.

      George Washington

    7. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Another Washington Quote:

      "The last official act of any government is to loot the treasury.” ~ George Washington

      Today the early numbers are showing the reckless out of control fedeal government has posted the largest single month deficit charge of $223 billion! Any interest in shooting that spending some more??

    8. Arthur, IN says:

      Far be it from me to argee with Barney Frank but defense spending needs to be cut dramatically. To pluck a quote from President Washington to defend the enormous standing military we have supported for deacdes is ridiculous. Any rational person would have a hard time claiming that Washington was suggesting that we have some three-quarters of a million troops in uniform at any given time. There is an enormous difference between having a military ready and able to defend the United States vs. a political tool used to project power around the world (subsequently removing the need for our allies to invest in their own defense).


    9. Jim Egan, Hendersonv says:

      The "Tea Party Movement" has no problem with providing for an adequate national defense. After all, it is one of the few constitutionally enumerated powers of the Federal Government. However, there is a perception out there that the "Military Establishment" is as wasteful with our tax dollars as any other government bureaucracy. It is this perception which hurts the argument for additional military spending, whether that perception is fair or not. The U.S. Military Establishment needs to be pro-active in countering that perception. Continuing scandals in major military acquisition programs, a la the future Air Force Tanker acquisition program are not helpful.

      I am not surprised that the political left would want to exploit this perception in an attempt to downsize our military.

      We do need to modernize our military and build an adequate missile defense system, but the Pentagon should not expect a blank check from the taxpayer.

    10. Public Citizen - Tra says:

      To George Colgrove

      Interesting figures.

      A question for you [and all others to consider]:

      How many of your senior citizen relations are you willing to obligate yourself to for their care and sustenance?

      There was a time in this country [before the socialist agenda of FDR] when the senior citizens [in their dotage] of a family were cared for by the younger generations.

      If you abandon the system that has been imposed upon us for decades through the systematic looting called FICA then you must be willing to accept the financial burden for your antecedents. To do otherwise is to demonstrate hippocracy and a disrespect for those who have enabled your position in society today.

    11. Donald says:

      With technology, you most certainly can cut the defense budget and be just as safe. Take Pakistan for instance. We have killed dozens of terrorists there with, not soldiers, but predator drones. We also don't need to station 60,000 soldiers in Germany. I thought WWII was over.

    12. Pingback: » Financial and World News Update – 03/07/11 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    13. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Public Citizen – Trapped in California,

      Cuts have to happen everywhere. My point is that neo-cons (emphasis on con) are saying defense should be left alone when its budget is at all time high but we need to drastically cut entitlements. Now do not get me wrong, I would like to see a chainsaw go after the budget of entitlements, but unfortunately, it has to be done with a surgical approach – only because we are dealing with REAL PEOPLE. There is a lot of fraud and waste in SS, and MC/MC and Heritage has done an amazing job researching the problems and defining some solutions. All I support.

      But even their solutions are not enough.

      We need to find more places to cut and that includes ALL departments – even the DoD.

    14. Toby Mon says:

      You have come too far to accede to the demands of the republican fringe!

    15. Deriv, NY says:

      So, if we don't agree with every Neo-Con talking point, we must be Progressives. This is nothing more than the "Dialectic" being pushed upon us. I am far too intelligent to fall for this silly trick, and I hope other Conservatives see right through it too.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.