(Note: I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition to Reduce Spending)
In the October 2012 issue of Reason Magazine, pollster Scott Rasmussen has a comprehensive article that discusses the feelings of Americans on the issue of military spending. Based on the findings, he concludes that on a bipartisan basis, the political class is squarely against the people on this matter.
As Rasmussen says:
Republicans who demand cuts in every program except the military open themselves up to justifiable Democratic charges of hypocrisy. Exempting major budget categories from spending discipline is a key reason government almost never gets cut. The American people are ready to take a more mature approach. A 2011 poll conducted by my firm, Rasmussen Reports, found that 67 percent favor finding spending cuts in all government programs. Every budget item, Americans emphatically believe, needs to be on the table.
That 67% of Americans believe the entire federal budget should be open to cuts, yet the political class refuses to make commitments reflecting that, speaks to a growing disconnect between the government and the governed. Often in Washington, numerous special interest groups approach politicians looking for favors, yet the majority of actual taxpaying citizens either don’t realize it, or don’t speak up in high enough numbers to drown out the lobbyist noise. In the face of our $16 trillion dollar debt, however, it’s imperative that we work on a paradigm shift in that area, and finally force politicians to compromise in the right direction: they must put their sacred cows aside, and actually reduce spending.
As Rasmussen touches upon, it’s hard for Democrats and Republicans to come to a rational compromise on spending reduction when one party refuses to consider entitlement spending, and the other won’t touch military spending. Of course, there are exceptions on both sides of the fence, but by and large, this is the situation our nation faces as our elected officials push harder on the gas in our drive toward a major fiscal cliff.
That being said, it’s not as if military spending has in any way decreased, or even leveled out under a Democratic administration; even during the time when Democrats also controlled Congress. Sadly, this is similar to how entitlement spending was not meaningfully reformed or decreased when Republicans last possessed all three branches of government.
As Rasmussen explains:
In 2010 the federal government spent more than $875 billion on national defense and veterans’ affairs, around one-fourth of the federal budget …….
….. In 2001, the year of the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks, the federal government spent about $350 billion on defense and veterans’ affairs. If that spending had kept pace with the growth in population and inflation, it would total about $481 billion today. Current spending is 82 percent higher than that. It is no surprise that defense budgets increased after 9/11, but it is legitimate to ask if an 82 percent hike was the right amount.
Certainly, you should review and share the entire article. Scott Rasmussen supplies the reader with many practical insights into what can be cut responsibly, and explains exactly how much could be saved from doing so.
After all, as Rasmussen notes:
Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in 2010 that “the most significant threat to our national security is our debt.” The American people agree: 82 percent believe the economy is now a bigger concern than military challenges. Sooner rather than later, defense spending will have to come back in line with voter desires.