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  • Chart of the Week: Defense Budget Cuts Gamble with National Security

    The third and final presidential debate between President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney will feature several different questions on the role of America abroad and other aspects of foreign policy. Obama and Romney will likely address the nation’s impending spending crisis and automatic defense budget cuts, known as sequestration.

    Heritage senior research fellow Steven Bucci and research associate Emily Goff illustrate the disproportionate effect that sequestration will have on defense spending compared to entitlement programs. The $492 billion in automatic defense cuts from 2013-2021 would represent 42.6 percent of the overall cuts, more than three times the impact on entitlements:

    The effect of the cuts would be drastic, according to Bucci and Goff:

    The gaping hole in defense funding would deteriorate our military’s readiness. Indeed, the threat of sequestration is already adversely affecting America’s ability to respond to growing threats. These cuts would leave the U.S. with its smallest Army since World War II, its smallest Navy since World War I, and its smallest Air Force ever—and this at a time when the world is not growing safer but more dangerous every day. (Russia, China, Iran, and resurgent Islamist terrorists are just a few of the threats.)

    Prioritizing within the budget, say the authors, will assist in “directing the government’s fiscal resources where they are needed and spending within our means.”

    “Sequestration,” they said, “accomplishes neither.”

    As Bucci and Goff point out, cutting defense spending will not provide for the desired effects of reining in the budget:

    Gutting the nation’s defense capabilities, however, is not the responsible way to budget or achieve budget savings. Even eliminating defense completely wouldn’t balance the budget, because entitlement program spending would continue to soar.

    The entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — are projected to double as a percentage of the nation’s economy by 2050.

    Bucci, along with Alison Acosta Fraser, director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, argue that fixing defense sequestration is possible without tax increases, and to do otherwise would be “gambling with national security.”

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    2 Responses to Chart of the Week: Defense Budget Cuts Gamble with National Security

    1. Pius Thepure says:

      This reminds me of pre-WWII, the aircorp was rated at something like 22nd out of the world air forces. It wasn't until 1937 that the USAAF started to get modern aircraft. Thanks Germany and Japan with that. The army didn't have a medium tank until 1938. So the defense budget will be cut. Remember Korea, we had to recall troops that fought in WWII, we brought out moth balled ships and aircraft to fight the Korea war and even then the air war was almost lost, because of the Mig-15.

    2. Phil Davis says:

      First and foremost, I believe we can all agree there has been and always will be someone or a group or country that is ready and willing to create havoc around the globe. The world has been shrinking in leaps and bounds over the last 50 years; it’s a small neighborhood. America cannot afford a weak and small military. Time and time again when peace rang out and lasted for any length of time, our military gets a haircut, only to quickly scramble to meet a new threat. The time to stop a war from happening on most levels is to never cut the military strength. Technology has to stay abreast and ahead of our adversaries as much as possible. Strategic Air Command had a slogan “Peace is our Profession”. The only way a bully will back down or leave you alone is to have a bigger stick; it’s not rocket science”. We won the Cold War! It is costly to have a strong military, but how much is a life worth or a nation of millions?

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