Debt Ceiling And Deficit Reduction Talks Avoid Military Spending Cuts

The Knowledge You Crave

July 29, 2011
By Raymond Gellner

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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.

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