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  • Video: Freshmen Members on Funding Defense

    As Heritage kicks off Protect America Month, we headed to Capitol Hill to speak with several members of the House’s freshmen class about the importance of funding defense. The video features short interviews with three freshmen: Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC).

    Rep. Scott, one of two freshmen Republicans among the House leadership, said that he was confident that his class was well-equipped to make the tough choices needed in Washington in a targeted and responsible way. Speaking of his class, Scott said, “We’ve come out of the real world. We are probably more familiar with what it means to live there than anyone else in Congress.”

    Kinzinger, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was unequivocal that as Congress works to reduce waste throughout government, the Pentagon should not be spared. “Defense spending needs to be on the table when it comes to finding areas of waste and inefficiency.”

    But he was also clear that any cuts must be made strategically. “The problem is,” he explained, “sometimes [cuts are used] as a code for really hamstringing ourselves for future operations. One of the difficult things with defense spending is you’re almost chasing your own tail. So, if we make defense investments today, we are not going to realize those gains for three or four years, just like if we make cuts today, we may not realize for three of four years what that’s actually done to our armed forces.”

    Congresswoman Hartzler, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, agreed. Earlier this year, she sent a letter signed by several colleagues to House leadership making that very point. “While we look for ways to reduce runaway federal spending, we must remember that one of our main directives as representatives of the people is to ‘provide for a common defense,’” she said at that time. “I support efforts to stop any wasteful spending at the Defense Department, but believe any efficiencies should be reinvested in our fighting men and women.”

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Video: Freshmen Members on Funding Defense

    1. George Colgrove VA says:

      Rough budget numbers

      Current expected tax collection: $2.1 trillion

      Interest on the national debt: $0.5 trillion

      Payment on the national debt: $0.3 trillion for a 40 year payoff

      Minimum general government: $0.3 trillion

      What is left: $1 trillion

      No room for tax reductions – nor should we increase taxes.

      A cut in annual federal spending of $1.6 trillion will drop the GDP to $12.9 trillion.

      So we take that $1 trillion left over and spend $800 billion for defense (because it is the only justified expense)

      We have $200 billion to put towards entitlements – a 90% drop.

      If you think this is politically possible – go for it. Personally, I do not see it.

      Venturing with this single-minded argument is a fools errand and does not encapsulate the gravity of the situation the federal workforce and congress put before us.

      Conservative pendants like to say that the private sector is strong enough to carry this debt. Well the $400 billion in defense contracting is mostly out of imaginary money – and that is the field – other than oil that is showing growth. Our GDP which has seen very small growth for years now is being fueled by $1.6 trillion in deficit spending. Wal-Mart reported last week that their middle income class customers are out of money. S&P and other private investment agencies are downgrading our debt. I think these Conservative are not seeing what we on Main Street and Wall Street are seeing.

      The big question is when do we stop? There are ways to cut everything without cutting our defenses. $1.5 was cut for a missile defense system that would have defended us all at the same time the DoD built a luxury office complex in a congested area in Alexandria, VA to protect and defend only 6,400 administration federal workers which after all is said and done will consume that “savings”. This shows a lack of priorities within Congress which is showing no oversight on DoD expendatures and in the DoD who in the end chose to build an office complex at the cost of $160,000 or more per federal worker (4 times what a private sector company would have spent) rather than fight for a defense system that would have cost $5 bucks per CITIZEN. It is not who they are that defines them, it is what they do!

      What concerns me about Heritage is that they will promote balance budgets, lower entitlement spending, lower taxes and cutting useless departments, agencies and programs as well as cutting waste, fraud and redundancy – all of which I support. But when it comes to defense, they seem to be continuing the irrational drive to INCREASE an already increased DoD budget. They have identified just under $100 billion in savings in the DoD budget, yet seem to no longer promote those cuts, but rather they seem to be promoting ignoring cutting waste, fraud and redundancy by brushing it off as insignificant. We cannot have a balanced budget without returning defense spending back to 2001 levels which in today’s dollars is $460 billion. In my budget above this leaves entitlements at $540 billion. Still an uphill battle, but if we just focus on the elderly only, it may be a place to start entitlement reform. I’d like to see Heritage look at the whole picture – not just parts.

    2. George Colgrove VA says:

      There is a reason why congress has a all time low positive rating from the people. Congress in the latest pole rated at 9%. Lower than the previously conservative led congress had before being booted and lower than the one we got rid of last election. Why? Because they do not have the resolve to cut the size/scope/cost of the federal government to a point of having a balanced budget.

      The best the GOP has is continuing deficit spending for another 10 years – then they will start reducing the debt. This is based on projections made by the federal workforce who are direct recipients of their own deceit. This year we were supposed to have a climb of $800 billion in GDP to $15.6 trillion, yet we are barely crawling to reach $15 trillion. Projections that were made for this year’s spending is already running far short. What is the blame?

      The federal workforce says it is lower federal spending! It is crazy to think we are basing tax policy on significant federal deficit spending! You take out state ($1.2 trillion) and federal deficit ($1.6 trillion) spending out of the GDP you get $11.7 trillion. Then you take your historical 18% taxation on the GDP you have a collection that should be $2.1 – which seems to be what the feds are only able to extract regardless of who or what they tax.

      Using the current 3.9% of this GDP for defense spending would be $460 billion – the historical defense spending in 2011 dollars WITH all other military actions! I think it is time we look at the GDP without adding deficit spending into the mix. Years ago federal deficit spending was marginal and had little affect on the GDP. Today it is providing an artificial positive (albeit tiny) image – the private sector – when you take out the significant profits from federal contracts is going down! Which explains why Wal-Mart's customers are out of cash!

      By taking excessive deficit spending out of the GDP, we will start to find out that our taxation expectations and spending is out of control.

    3. Kevin H, college par says:

      I agree – we should look to make major cuts in defense. However, the constitution also specifically provides for Congress to provide for the general welfare as well. If you are going to use the line for not cutting defense, then you should use the very same line to protect against cuts in social services and health and education – all of which would fall under general welfare.

      We simply need to raise revenues. We're at historic lows in revenues – rates have never been so low. Have come down from 70% to 35% for top rate in last 3 decades. No clue why conservatives are so against raising it back up to 39.6 for top earners when they've already had their rates cut 35 points.

    4. George Colgrove VA says:

      Kevin H,

      "No clue why conservatives are so against raising it back up to 39.6 for top earners when they’ve already had their rates cut 35 points."

      Want an answer? Top earners are producers. You take their money by taxing these producers, they increase prices and they fire workers. Cannot be any simpler. Producers are never taxed – that cost is passed along. The net difference is less money to tax in a very short period of time. A few percentage points in taxaton can cost the low guy on the pole a lot.

      Since taxing producers have never and will never work, why not try something new. Lets stop taxing corporations and small business? We can get rid of loads of federal agencies and programs overnight. As for taxes, keep the load off those who are providing for this country and no I am not talking about federal workers!

    5. Larry Welch, Idaho says:

      Getting Defense spending under control requires a long term plan, similar to Paul Ryan's. The 800# gorilla is the systems acquisition method that does not hold contractors feet to the fire on costs and delivery schedules. Norhtrup-Raytheon have gotten "control" of their own contracts by delays that result from following their own priorities.

      Military planning contributes to cost over-runs due to excessive general/admiral numbers that crowd and over burden decision making. Way too many admirals, generals, colonels. Fewer and more junior officers can make better and faster decisions and with less concern for the salvation of their own particular organization. The Pentagon could use a big broom.

      Where would I cut, you ask? Give me the pink slips and watch!

    6. HawkWatcher, Mi. says:

      These freshmen are awesome! Let's keep directly helping many more like this get elected across the country! Once we have the numbers, the disassembly of the bloated, strangling octopus in Washington can begin in earnest! The Constitution Test can be applied to entire departments and programs, and the savings will astound! No cutting of Defense is warranted under this scenario, so let's make it happen! Federalism rocks!

      Kevin, "providing for the general welfare" is not an enumerated power; the clause is part of a description of the functions of the specific and limited powers described by the Constitution. For it to mean otherwise, the feds could legislate every aspect of your life, just by claiming it provided for the general welfare.

    7. Bobbie says:

      It's a disgrace that not all congress people know the priorities of their duties. It's not surprising the freshmen and dedicated seniors do.

    8. Frank, Florida says:

      Listen to people like Ron Paul & Judge Napolitano: Why do we have hundreds of thousands of troops around the world (including still Europe & South Korea)? Do we need some 800 bases in over 100 countries? Shouldn't the USA avoid "foreign entanglements" as warned against by our Founding Fathers? If we are to fight a war, shouldn't we declare war as required by the Constitution? Can't we issue Letters of Marque & Reprisal to take out known terrorists, their bases & other enemies of the USA short of invading other nations?

      I agree that Europe & South Korea can spend the money to defend themselves & most of those troops (as well as most other troops elsewhere) can be recalled. We can also close most oversea bases. We either should declare war in Iraq, Afghanistan & Libya or get out. We simply cannot afford to be the world's policeman or engage in nation building.

      We need to do what is required to defend ourselves at home. With monies saved from cutting the expenditures named above, we can modernize our forces, build a limited missile defense, guard our borders & increase our naval fleets. We can probably achieve those ends using the same amount, or less, of money we are now spending on defense. We would be more secure, not less secure. And we would be spending the money at home, not overseas.

      Our Founding Fathers did not want us to "redistribute the wealth" of its citizens. At least not at the Federal level. These social programs should be phased out or handed over to the States, if the States want to continue them. Many other Federal programs & departments also need to be phased out or done by the States. The Federal Government should be as limited in scope as possible. Let the States experiment with more or less government & higher or lower taxes. May the best State win!! State residents can "vote with their feet" & move to other States more to their liking if they are very unhappy.

    9. Gerold Martin says:

      It seems something is missing — Pay off the national debt in 20 years? At what point do they STOP making more debt? And the 20 years is only if the interest on the debt is NOT included! And what about the Federal reserve buying Treasury notes. Isn't that just printing paper? When do they run out of paper?

      We have truth in lending….we need a Truth in politics. Anytime a professional politician or department head makes a statement, we need a message — "This statement is 40% true.

      The politician's answer to a balanced budget is how long it will take to pay off the debt. It is ludicrous.

      The whole thing about "The rich need to pay their share" (we know politically connected rich aren't threatened) is just a warning for the time the finger is pointed at the middle-class with a "Now its your turn"..

    10. Clegg,Thomas says:

      Thank you for your boldness in bringing this serious issue to the thinking American

      people. Information is still the most powerful weapon we have to stave off the slide.

      The young congressman know that we are here and we are listening for them to

      press the old terks of the Democrat party. Chuck Shummer wants an adult conversation.Then tell him the children…are finished spending Dads money.

      We are the adults!! Do not give in to the sound bit junk food and order up a good

      steak. Now

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