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  • What Obama Doesn't Know about Defense Spending

    In yesterday’s “Twitter Town Hall,” President Barack Obama demonstrated yet again his failure to understand the size of the defense budget—as well as his desire to slash it in order to fund domestic spending. Here’s how the President described it:

    [T]he nice thing about the defense budget is it’s so big, it’s so huge, that a 1 percent reduction is the equivalent of the education budget. Not—I’m exaggerating, but it’s so big that you can make relatively modest changes to defense that end up giving you a lot of head room to fund things like basic research or student loans or things like that.

    Think again, Mr. President. Contrary to his wildly exaggerated statement, a 1 percent reduction to the Pentagon’s proposed fiscal year 2012 base budget would be $5.5 billion—or 7 percent of the Department of Education’s proposed FY 2012 budget.

    The President’s accounting failures aside, there’s an even bigger problem at work. Obama is of the belief that, for starters, $400 billion can be cut from the defense budget over the next 10 years without putting the military at risk. That’s in addition to the approximately $400 billion already cut by the Administration during the previous two years. In turn, he would take those dollars and apply them to pay for his pet projects at home.

    The President is proposing those cuts irrespective of the military’s needs.

    Outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that ill-conceived cuts to defense spending could increase America’s vulnerability in a “complex and unpredictable security environment” and that “the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators, and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is hard power—the size, strength, and global reach of the United States military.”

    But with the President’s proposed cuts, America’s base defense budget would be at its lowest point in more than 60 years (as a percentage of America’s GDP). Meanwhile, the threats Gates spoke of continue to materialize, while challenges remain in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and throughout the Middle East.

    And then there’s the state of U.S. forces. Secretary Gates and the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel have agreed that the U.S. went on a “procurement holiday” in the 1990s. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz has stated that the present fleet of 187 F–22 fighters creates a high risk for the U.S. military in meeting its operational demands. The U.S. Navy has the fewest number of ships since America’s entrance into World War I. And yet the President sees fit to slash defense?

    Contrary to Obama’s belief, the defense budget is not an ATM from which he can pull cash to pay for other projects. And he certainly can’t do it without causing further damage to U.S. military readiness. The Constitution demands that the U.S. government provide for the common defense. That’s a fact the President should keep in mind as he looks for ways to increase domestic spending amid a debt crisis.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to What Obama Doesn't Know about Defense Spending

    1. Bobbie says:

      I'd much rather spend on the defense of America's, our individual freedoms and liberties and Obama protecting them!

      But his efforts show his desire to control our individual freedoms and liberties using compromise at the expense of America's defense…

    2. West Texan says:

      Domestic spending? That's not in the constitution. Spending on defense, however, is specifically stated. Hum? Do you think Madison meant what he said about domestic affairs belonging to the respective states?

    3. martin d says:

      Yes, domestic spending is in the Constitution. It's also in the same sentence that grants power to spend on defense.

      • George Colgrove, VA says:

        No it is not martin. There is NO "general welfare clause." If you would read the federalist papers you would understand what "general welfare" means. The idea that the founders had was that all expenditures would apply to the general welfare of everyone – not just targeted people. Funding for a LEAGALLY run treasury benefits the general welfare as they manage the dollar and keep it strong for us all. Payouts to people who do not work does not benefit us all therefore does not fall under "general welfare." That is "targeted" welfare. But that being said, the word "welfare" meant something entirely different back then. It did not mean handouts or "benefits". It meant general happiness, prosperity, well-being, fortunes, etc. The founders meant by saying "general welfare" that we ALL can prosper equally IF WE CHOOSE TO! Those of us who set on our hands will therefore NOT PROSPER due to our own inaction, not by any action of any government. The way the current federal workforce implements "general welfare" goes directly opposite to what the founders wanted.

    4. Dairenn Lombard says:

      Obama would have to be pretty damn stupid to believe what he says about education vs. defense spending. But, I don't believe a lawyer and a Harvard grad that also managed to become President of the United States is a moron. The only thing left is that accuracy is not the objective, it's hyperbolic rhetoric with specious reasoning engineered to synthesize emotional support for a Big Government agenda. In other words, it doesn't even have to be true. It just needs to sound logical, and feel good to believe.

    5. This irks me. He talks about cuts and them turns around and wants to spend the saved money. Is it me or is this twisted thinking? Shouldn't the cuts we make be used to pay down our debt?

    6. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Though I agree that defense spending is necessary and one of the primary constitutional duties of the federal government, we should not be going into debt doing so. The military should use PUBLIC FUNDS as efficiently as can be done – no more of the ideology that cost is no factor. Also those dollars should be used with full transparency and the military budget should be fully funded. We should be cautious in using MILITARY (war related) dollars for general federal workforce "make-work" or general governmental programs or things that look like "job programs" or funding pet projects for congress people or greasing the pockets of defense contractors.

    7. Upstate New Yorker says:

      If there was any reason to raise my taxes this would be one of them. I would gladly pay more to make sure the men and women have everything and anything they would need to get their job done. Obama and the liberals just doesn't get it.

    8. HelenP says:

      I can't believe I am seeing Obama, hand on chest, facing an American flag. OH, THAT'S RIGHT, HE'S RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION!

    9. Laura says:

      Cut defense, treat the Military like crap…..make it easier for the Chinese master's to come in and take over. Bottom line right there, And I agree, seeing him hand on heart facing the flag pisses me off to no end….wonder what his Chinese masters think of that

    10. LeeS says:

      It appears that once again the Heritage Foundation takes a point of which the President says he exaggerating in comparing the defense budget to the education budget. The article fails to point out that the President asked for $708 billion for defense spending while the House only approved $649 billion. This includes $119 billion for the wars and almost $6 billion for aircraft and other equipment the Pentago did'nt even ask for in the first place. These were put back in the budget because Gates cancelled them based on Pentagon data and pork to go on down to Darrell Issa's district in SoCal. The Pentagon budget needs to be managed like a businees, (you order new tractors from John Deere, but they keep coming back with cost overruns, delays in delivery and the demand for more money to complete the order) a business would cancel the order and seek restitution. Not the fed, just keep on paying the defense contractors whatever they want and out the door walks billions of tax dollars for OOOOOOO. Perhaps the Heritage Foundation should spend some time reporting about how the Pentagon can not explain how they get billions and yet the Military is shrinking and it all has'nt happened on this guys watch.

    11. Darby Crash says:

      I mean – really?! Do you all really think your taxes are being well-spent on fake wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

      Look up "military industrial complex" and look up "lobbyists", "greed", Halliburton, "corporate control"…The military isn't going to protect anybody except mega-millionaires who are making a killing (literally and figuratively) off your tax dollars. Saying you want the military budget to remain "as is" is basically like saying you want to keep socialism/welfare for the rich in place.

      It's a bit too late in the game to defend these so-called wars (which are really just occupations). All they do jeopardize our country a whole more than if we had just stayed out of other people's business.

      For a good example of a country/economy gutted by occupying Afghanistan, read up on Russia. They were just as greedy as the Cheney (puppet Bush) coterie, and now, unfortunately Obama. And just look at their wrecked economy.

      Follow the numbers $$$. Cut the military budget. Keep our money at home!

    12. Pingback: Our Military’s Grim State: Armed Forces Under StressThe Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation

    13. Nanofuture says:

      We spend more (as of 2010) on defense than the following countries combined: China, France, UK, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Italy, India, Brazil, South Korea, Canada, Australia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Israel, and Netherlands. We spend roughly six times the amount that China does and roughly half of the total global amount.

      Seriously… do we really need to be spending that much on our military when we have some pretty massive debt problems?

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