The real test of the Republicans in Congress, who are hell bent on cutting government spending, is what they do about the defense budget. Since the administration of George W. Bush and now Barack Obama, the Pentagon has seen its budget increase 119%.
What we spend on defense and security in this country is about $ 700 billion. But just to provide some means of comparison, the United States now spends more money on defense and security than all the countries in the world combined.
If the mmilitary continues to get its way with budget appropriations, the $700 billion figure will jump to over $ 1 trillion by 2030, that’s even with a modest 2-3% cut as Secretary of Defense Gates has suggested.
Few Americans are opposed to national defense and security spending, but as this country winds down the war in Iraq and is headed out of Afghanistan probably by next year, the questions remains, why all this spending on defense, expecially when we have accumulated a huge national debt and the Democrats were thrown out of power in the House because they could not and would not address the spending side of the federal ledger?
Already the Republicans in the new House of Representatives are wavering on cutting defense appropriations, in large part because building weapons systems always means jobs back home and of course the GOP remains convinced that military power is somehow much better than economic power. Tell that to the Chinese.
If the federal budget is going to be cut, there is no way to make real savings without slashing and I means slashing the defense budget. Hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in the Pentagon will have to be made if our members of Congress are really serious about bringing some fiscal sanity to government spending.
We will see in the coming months just how serious the Republicans are about trimming the budget, especially when they get to those line items related to new weapons programs, better known as the GOP stimulus plan.