Coburn’s lies about the defense budget


Tom Coburn, a libertarian senator from Oklahoma, seems to hate the US military and the DOD, which is probably why he frequently rants against them and defense budgets.

A few days ago, he made these false claims about the DOD and its budgets:

“The federal government and the Department of Defense, in particular, are rife with waste that could be eliminated to pay for legitimate priorities.”

http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=d4612d2a-9046-f605-fe8c-885f50b7007b&Region_id=&Issue_id=1bd7f3a7-a52b-4ad0-a338-646c6a780d65

This is utter gibberish. There is some waste at the DOD (and every other federal agency), but the claim that the DOD in particular is “rife with waste” is a blatant lie. It’s a huge exaggeration. Not to mention that a large proportion of that waste is imposed every year on the DOD by the Congress, regardless of the DOD’s protests. For example, this year, the Congress ordered the DOD to buy several Gulfstream VIP jets that the DOD doesn’t need nor desire, and for several years, the Congress has been allocating funding for the unneeded Alternative Engine Program, even though the DOD doesn’t want funding for that program and has stopped requesting money for the AEP several fiscal years ago.

Most of the DOD’s annual budgets is actually well-spent, not wasted, every year. Like I said, there is some waste at the DOD – and every other federal agency (but Coburn never lambastes them) – but the claim that “the Defense Department in particular is rife with waste” is a blood libel that is supposed to serve as a pretext for defense cuts.

As for the money that the DOD really does waste every year, I’m proud that I’m the only person on Earth who has devised a comprehensive reform blueprint of the DOD – unlike Tom Coburn, who is able only to whine, complain and lie.

That blueprint, which I dubbed the Defense Reform Proposals Package, identifies every known waste program/agency/purpose of the DOD and calls for its abolition. It would also cause the DOD to work better than it does. The quantifiable savings would amount to $62 bn per year.

So I have developed a DOD reform blueprint, but Tom Coburn hasn’t.

The worst federal money-waster is the Congress itself, which annually wastes several billion dollars on itself, $550 bn on subsidies for fossil fuels, and hundreds of billions of dollars on unconstitutional departments, agencies and programs (e.g. the Education Department, the EPA and the FDA), not to mention entitlement programs. The defense budget is a tiny part of the federal budget (14.44%). The majority of it ($3.1 trillion out of $3.6 trillion) is civilian spending.

Legitimate priorities? According to the US Constitution, the #1 priority of the federal government should be national defense, NOT domestic programs. Yet, Coburn is not willing to cut domestic programs (they are his “legitimate priorities”) by more than a smidgen – he wants to protect them. That’s why he advocates deep defense spending reductions – to pay for his beloved domestic programs and domestic agencies. Nor does he deem domestic programs “waste” – even though the majority of the domestic programs operated by the federal government are unneeded.

So hands off the DOD and the defense budget, Tom. And before you preach any more sermons about them, work with your Congressional colleagues to abolish unneeded domestic programs and agencies.

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