Beef jerky and the nation’s defense

 

So, Senator Coburn, if only the Pentagon stopped funding beef jerky, we’d have enough to pay for the deficit or something? We could save $67 billion? And what about those who say we ought to cut a trillion? Because that’s the plan.

There are plenty who believe our military is profligate, bloated, and inefficient. Sure, they’re the best fighting force the world has ever seen, but a little fat, no? Volunteers, sure, but a tad sloppy with the taxpayers’ hard earned cash. And fighting wars that, really, we don’t need to fight. We have drones, don’t we? Special forces, right? The CIA, don’t we? What are we, the world’s policeman, needing to be everywhere at once? Can’t the Chinese and Japanese fight their own fights? The Europeans deal with their own petty troubles? And those Arabs. They’re rich. Let them fuss over Yemen and Syria. Let the Israelis worry about Iran. The world’s problems aren’t America’s problems.

And the answer is, sure. We can cut a few things from the Defense Department. Even more than beef jerky. Some stupid stuff that isn’t DoD’s business anyway. But that won’t yield the rivers of cash we need to fill the Chinese debt repayment maw. For that, we’re going to have to gut the Pentagon. But… does it really matter that Hezbollah now has precision guided munitions that were the wonder of the world when America started using them late last century? Do we need to have a force strong enough to deter nations and terrorists from challenging the global order? So what if the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and South Korea are worried about China? Let them manage. We can hop in maybe if we’re needed, but we won’t be. I could go on here. And still, those cuts won’t be a drop in the bucket of our deficit.

When you count up the four pennies on the dollar that we now spend out of our GDP for the finest defense any nation can buy and the global preeminence that has guaranteed a world in which we no longer need to fight in global conflicts, remember that we won’t be saving that money in order to do something better, like cut your taxes or pave your roads or improve your schools. We’ll be moving toward ending a way of life the world has known since 1945 in order to fund the largest deficit in American history – and an explosion of entitlements that is already costing the average family $29,000 a year. When we go over the fiscal cliff in January, 43% of the cash will come from the defense budget despite the fact that it represents only 11% of all budget authority. Yeah, the Pentagon doesn’t need grocery stores. But if we’re basing soldiers where there are none, what do you want to do? Base them closer to Safeway? Talk about strategery.

There are people who want America to stop being a global power. I respect their honesty, if not their views. But there are others who hide behind fiscal responsibility in order to further their isolationist ideals. Plenty on the left. Plenty on the Ron Paul right. We’re not going to right our economic ship by cutting defense. Period.

Here are the facts. Here are the numbers. Think about the implications of what we’re planning to do to our fighting forces and the people who support them. Then act.

 

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

What's new on AEI

Retirement crisis is hyped
image Why the Foley beheading will force Obama to continue US airstrikes
image How the New York Times misguides their readers on Internet regulation
image US still has time to stake out a position of strength on Ukraine
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 25
    MON
  • 26
    TUE
  • 27
    WED
  • 28
    THU
  • 29
    FRI
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Teacher quality 2.0: Toward a new era in education reform

Please join AEI for a conversation among several contributors to the new volume “Teacher Quality 2.0: Toward a New Era in Education Reform” (Harvard Education Press, 2014), edited by Frederick M. Hess and Michael Q. McShane. Panelists will discuss the intersection of teacher-quality policy and innovation, exploring roadblocks and possibilities.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.