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  • Devastating Defense Cuts Loom, Panetta Warns

    What happens if the “super committee” fails to meet its target of $1.5 trillion in budget savings by Thanksgiving and sequestration is triggered? It would spell doomsday for the military, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns.

    In letters sent to Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Panetta said that under the worst-case scenario, “the total cut will  rise to about $1  trillion compared with the FY 2012 plan,” and he says “The impacts of these  cuts would be devastating for the Department.” Panetta went on to detail what those cuts would mean in practical terms, including “the smallest ground force since  1940, the smallest number of  ships since  1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history”:

    Such a large cut, applied in this indiscriminate manner, would  render most of  our ship and construction projects unexecutable – you cannot buy three quarters of a ship or  a building ­and seriously damage other modernization efforts.  We would also be  forced to  separate many of  our civilian personnel involuntarily and, because the reduction would be imposed so quickly, we would almost certainly have to  furlough civilians in order to meet the target.  These changes would break faith with those who maintain our military and seriously damage readiness.

    Politico reports that Panetta also warned that the super committee’s failure “could also force cancellation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Army’s new ground combat vehicle and helicopter modernization programs, along with a planned missile defense shield in Europe.” Heritage’s Mackenzie Eaglen also notes that, should the supercommittee fail to reach an agreement that spares defense, other consequences include “job losses for highly skilled workers in the shipbuilding, defense, and aerospace production workforces.”

    As the military sits on the chopping block, spending on the three major entitlements—Social SecurityMedicare, and Medicaid—has more than tripled (as the chart below shows). And that’s despite wars in Iraq and Afghanistan–and the fact that defense is a a core constitutional function of the federal government.

    With exploding entitlement spending, a growing debt, and defense at risk, what’s the solution for the super committee? Heritage vice president David Addington explains:

    The Heritage Foundation has consistently urged, and continues to urge, that the congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the Supercommittee, “go big” with its recommendations, to “drive federal spending down — including by fixing ever-expanding entitlement programs — toward a balanced budget, while preserving our capability to protect America, and without raising taxes.”  Heritage provided a detailed plan by which the Supercommittee could accomplish that goal.  Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner made clear that “[t]his battle is about both getting spending under control and limiting the size and scope of government.” As he said, “[m]ore taxes means more government.”

    Conservatives, please remember and achieve the objective: drive federal spending down — including by fixing ever-expanding entitlement programs — toward a balanced budget, while preserving our capability to protect America, and without raising taxes.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Devastating Defense Cuts Loom, Panetta Warns

    1. West Texan says:

      Entitlements are a domestic concern that belong solely at the state and local levels of government. Federal reforms should focus on the gradual phasing out of SS, Medicare and matching programs like Medicaid. At the same time, states must gear-up with retirement and/or healthcare offerings of their own design. Current recipients could be given the option of retaining their federal entitlements or requesting to have their FICA tax contributions transferred to a government or private account as per their state's law. If the different states wish to form entitlement compacts, that's their sovereign call. Given formal approval by the U.S. Congress. But the national government should never be part of such an arrangement.

      • H Berald says:

        Does West Texan really believe the states can improve on what the federal government is doing? The states, too, are under subscribing to their own pension funds and medical programs. His proposal will not help the system.

        • West Texan says:

          You miss the point. It's not about who can do a better job but instead about federalism. Far better when 50 states choose how to run their own domestic social affairs than one big out-of-control behemoth bureaucracy. Makes for a poor fit within a free society. Our country's founders knew exactly what they had designed. Theirs was a workable gift that big government social progressives mucked-up into a costly and wasteful mess.

    2. Joe Gause says:

      West Texan: I agree, but we've gone so far down the socialist utopian dream path, that expecting our elected leader class to restore these "entitlements" as state and local responsibilities is a dream too much to hope for.

      • Bobbie says:

        why? why can't the people working in America's government be expected to correct their own mistakes? that makes them incapable of their positions. their faults deliberately ignore America's constitution which makes them traitors! they show the opposite standards expected of them while paid exorbitantly with peoples money THAT'S EARNED! necessary reprimand must be served for their dereliction and insubordination to correct people in government promoting government over we the people! why do we have to suffer and sacrifice because of matters taken from and out of our control, put needlessly under the cost of unconstitutional government authority? they're COUNTER productive! PERIOD! with proper leadership in favor of America(ns) or in favor of doing the job expected, it will be corrected. That's what we love about Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul and Herman Cain! they work CLEAN!

        America's never lived in such a house of filth!

    3. America is tracking the trend line to End Of Empire laid by
      Over extension worldwide on Debt.
      Small group own most of the wealth
      10% own 70% net wealth  80% own 15%
      10% own 70% financial wealth  80% own 7%
      10% take 50% individual Income  50% take 13%
      70/15  70/7  50/13  = 190/35

      Simplistic– clear picture—can you see it? Congress cannot! White House cannot!

      Each of 10% own $7 of net wealth and each of 80% own $0.18
      Each of 10% own $7 of financial wealth and each of 80% own $0.09
      Each of 10% take $5 of individual income and each of 50% take $0.16
      $7  to  18 cents ratio: 700:18
      $7 to 7 cents 700:7
      $5 to 16 cents 500:16

      Is that not a picture of Third World Country?
      Is that not a picture of England in End of Empire?
      Is that not a picture of a Dictatorship

    4. Rod says:

      I wonder why we have to cut the UNITED STATES defence and medicare instead of cutting foreign aid. Just does not make sense to me.

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