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

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

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