As time winds down on the debt ceiling debate, Washington Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate have been frantically scrambling in their attempts to pass a bill starting the nation on its way towards mild deficit reduction. Yet through all of these talks, where “nothing is off the table” as Republicans say, one major segment of the budget most definitely and purposely has been off the table: military spending.
But that simply is not true, many will argue. One of the numbers floating around with a realistic chance of passing is a $165 billion cut in military spending, that’s a huge number! Well it would be an impressive cut if it were not for the fact that the reduction mentioned is over ten years, not one year, thus such a cut would average $16.5 billion per year. In addition, even with this reduction this year’s military budget saw an increase in $17 billion, resulting in a net increase in military spending of $500 million.
According to Donna Cassata of the Associated Press, there are other more impressive numbers being tossed around the debate, though in the end these will most likely not be adopted by Congress. These plans include a Presidential call on the DOD to develop a plan for $400 billion in spending cuts over a 12 year period ($33.3 billion a year), a plan by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to cut defense spending by $1.2 trillion (over ten years this amounts to an average of $120 billion per year), and a plan from GOP Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to cut spending by $1 trillion (over ten years this amounts to an average of $100 billion per year).
There is even plan proposed by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” in the U.S. Senate to cut as much as $866 billion over ten years, resulting in an average savings of $86.6 billion a year.
Why, if there seems to be bipartisan consensus will we not have these deeper yet necessary cuts in the military budget? It all comes back to corporations with their corporate lobbyists who are completely entrenched in Washington DC. Until the present overwhelming corporate control over Washington is neutralized, their cash cow, the Department of Defense, will only see cosmetic budget decreases, enough to appease the majority of the less informed electorate but not enough to cut their governmental handouts and cash flows.
Not including the approximate $150 billion in yearly spending for Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which should wind down over the next three years, if the United States was to cut its remaining FY 2012 $553 billion military budget in half, it would still be spending roughly two and a half times as much as the country with the world’s second largest military budget, China. Of course this would need to be done gradually over the next ten years, as to cut the budget so dramatically would indeed hurt the economy through lost jobs by industry contractors, but it could be done in a responsible manner.
In today’s country where the corporations and many members of the GOP have mentally conditioned a false mutual correspondence the reduction of “defense” spending with a lack of patriotism, actively pursuing defense cuts is almost an act of political suicide. Still, if our nation is to reduce its deficit problem, and if politicians are serious in their commitment to deficit reduction, a substantial decrease in military spending must be actively pursued.
–Raymond Gellner, National Liberal Examiner, joltleft.com | Twitter