The Constitution explicitly says that the federal government shall provide for the common defense. And while most reasonable people assume that our national budget needs trimming in every area, and the military is no exception, the fact that we’re still engaged in a slew of wars and a kinetic military operation should slow the defense cutters down a bit. Add in that entitlement spending is the real long-term threat to our fiscal health, and you have that much more incentive to look elsewhere before cutting defense.
But that’s not how the liberals who form the opinions that inform the left see it. The Soros-funded Center for American Progress is eying defense before touching other parts of the budget, to the tune of $1 trillion.
The proposals, including one from the Center for America Progress, go well beyond President Obama’s call in April for $400 billion in defense cuts over 12 years. The center — run by John Podesta, who served as chief of staff to President Clinton — wants that much in reductions over the next three years and $1 trillion from what had been projected increases over the next decade.
Some House Democrats, led by Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, also have called for $1 trillion in cuts.
It would be one thing to hear ideas from Frank if he wasn’t part of the reason the economy collapsed, but he is. The man who wants to chop defense now defended Fannie and Freddie from scrutiny when problems with them became evident, and his intransigence contributed to the problems festering into the housing market crash. That he hasn’t been hounded out of office by now remains a sort of injustice.
As for liberals in general, rain or shine, DoD is the first and usually last place they look to for federal budget cuts. They may occasionally put entitlement cuts on the table to make a good show of being reasonable, but in the end they always do what President Obama keeps doing and take those cuts off the table when it counts.
Beyond liberals’ generations-long tendency to slice the Pentagon first in peacetime and war while they grow every other government bureaucracy, I suspect that CAP, Frank et al may be providing useful cover for the president when the debt ceiling debate gets down to the details. The $1 trillion cut to defense alone is unlikely to happen, but by calling for it, the president can come back at the GOP with a cut under that number and position himself as the moderate. By that gambit, we’ll still end up cutting the Pentagon too much and entitlement spending too little, but the president gets to burnish some false moderate credibility.