In a previous post titled “The Progressive Path to Financial Catastrophe”, I referenced some of the things in common between the list of countries in Europe on the verge of bankruptcy, and the policies the progressive agenda is instituting in America. Absent from that discussion was the one notable budget buster item that makes our future problems even bigger than those of Europe. Defense spending.
While European nations frivolously waste their nations wealth on overblown entitlements, one thing they do not do, that we do, is field a military force equal to our super power status.
Set aside the philosophical arguments of guns and butter, lets just consider the budget item itself. If you include both the base budget and the wars we are fighting, we will spend between $800B-$1T on defense this year. The base budget alone without factoring in Iraq and Afghanistan is $550B. To put it in the context of the sovereign debt crisis, we spend more on defense than Greece spends on everything.
So here we are, in a time of war, with a Defense Secretary originally appointed by a conservative Republican, appointed as a hawk, to manage the surge, and clean up the war. Instead of broad expansion of Defense spending, Robert Gates is challenging his department heads to come up with 2-3% reductions, and asking for Congress’s support. Speaking this weekend in Kansas at the Eisenhower library, Robert Gates had this to say.
“These savings must stem from root-and-branch changes that can be sustained and added to over time,” he told an audience Saturday at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene. “Simply taking a few percent off the top of everything on a onetime basis will not do.”
He goes on to say
“Given America’s difficult economic circumstances and parlous fiscal condition, military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny,” he said. “The gusher has been turned off, and will stay off for a good period of time.
Source CNN.com 5/9/10
In a time of War?!
Bravo Robert Gates.
This is the type of straight talk and responsibility that our government is generally lacking. Robert Gates is smart enough and bold enough to know that he could scale back military spending, spend the money better, and get better results. Maybe he should run our nations schools as well.
If only we could hear the real truth from all politicians. The harsh truth is that we are going to have to raise taxes, pull back tax cuts, and reduce entitlements in order to continue to fund government. If I heard the truth, instead of the spin, then I might start trusting people in Washington again. I would still disagree with them, but at least they would be telling the truth, and I would not have to just assume they were all incompetent.
Please run in 2012 Mr. Gates, Republican or Democrat, I will vote for you!
Guest Blogger – Jeff Hine