Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle has recently called on the GOP to sabotage America’s defense by drastically underfunding it (but what could one expect a San Francisco liberal to say?). Her preferred method of doing this is the Frank-Paul pamphlet, which calls for defense spending cuts of $1 trillion over the next decade.
Lochhead complained on the SFC’s pages that
“Reps. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Barney Frank, D-Mass., right, have drafted a plan to slash military spending by almost $1 trillion over the next decade, but GOP leaders have ignored it.”
The reason why GOP leaders have ignored it is because it is a treasonous, bad, idiotic plan which would render the US military impotent, just like the tragically-underfunded European militaries. $1 trillion over a decade is $100 bn per year. Such cuts (and with the current, low levels of defense spending, any cuts) of defense spending would weaken the US military, thus endangering America.
But, like other strident liberals and their libertarian cousins, Lochhead believes that a strong defense actually threatens America. Lochhead wrote:
“They have ignored a bipartisan plan to slash military spending by almost $1 trillion over the next decade. Among other things, the proposal by Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, would remove thousands of U.S. troops stationed in Japan and Germany since World War II, arguing that the United States is subsidizing its rich allies.
The Frank-Paul proposal, called “Debt, Deficits & Defense,” argues that the defense budget has grown so large that it is weakening U.S. security by endangering the country’s economy.”
This is a ridiculous claim. Defense budgets never threaten America nor its economy. And America’s current defense budget is small – it equals only 3.65% of America’s GDP and 14.44% of America’s total federal budget. It is ridiculous to claim that such a small defense budget threatens America or its economy, or that it is responsible for America’s budget deficits and public debt. But for Frank, Paul and Lochhead, and their fellow liberals and libertarians, every defense budget, no matter how small, is too big. They believe that militaries and defense budgets are bad per se. They believe, and Ron Paul has repeatedly claimed, that America is an evil empire that occupies other countries. No wonder why the GOP’s leaders ignored the ludicrous Frank-Paul proposal.
3.65% of GDP is a historically-low level, as is 14.44% of the federal budget. During the entire Cold War, except FY1948, America was spending much more on defense than these meagre figures, yet it did not bury itself under a mountain of debt, and didn’t even face the threat of a mountain of debt. It is ridiculous to claim that a 3.65% of GDP item threatens the US economy, whose size is $14.61 trillion dollars. As for America’s deficits and debt, they are due exclusively to civilian spending, most notoriously entitlement programs (which cost over $2 trillion per year) and welfare programs (whose annual cost is $888 bn). But facts don’t matter to ideologues like Frank, Paul and Lochhead.
Lochhead has also falsely claimed that
“Defense spending, which has more than doubled since 2001, dwarfing every other budget category, goes unmentioned.”
Although the GOP’s spending cut proposals indeed don’t mention defense – which should not be cut, as it is the #1 duty of the federal government – Lochhead’s claims are false because:
1) Defense spending has NOT doubled since 2001. The FY2001 defense budget (signed in CY2000) was $291.1 bn dollars ($297 bn dollars according to one source) in 2000’s money. Even if you don’t adjust that figure for inflation, defense spending has NOT doubled since 2001, because to double since 2001, it would have to be (in nominal terms) $582 billion now (as of FY2010). But the FY2001 DOD budget should be adjusted for inflation. Do so, and you get a FY2001 defense budget of $368.82 bn. To double, it would have to grow to $737.64 bn (which would make it bigger than the DOD’s budget and the GWOT supplemental combined!). But the DOD’s budget for FY2010 is much smaller – it’s only $534 bn. It’s a small figure.
2) Defense spending is NOT the biggest spending category in the budget. The biggest is welfare spending, whose FY2010 level is a record-high $888 bn. The second-largest item is the Social Security Program, whose FY2010 cost is $696 bn. The third-largest item is healthcare spending (Medicare Program + the DHHS = $452 bn +90 bn = $542 bn). Defense spending is fourth, at $534 bn.
Carolyn Lochhead has also lied about the plans and claims of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. She wrote that:
“On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who began that job under President George W. Bush
in 2006, called for cutting military spending by $100 billion in the next five years because the nation no longer can afford the military budgets approved since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he said.”
But Gates has NEVER claimed that. He only said that under the current economic circumstances, defense spending will be flat or will grow by no more than 1% in real terms during the next decade or so. Moreover, he NEVER called for a $100 bn defense spending cut or military spending reduction. He has repeatedly said, time after time, that he OPPOSES reductions of the DOD’s total budget. What he did call was to find $100 bn of savings on the DOD’s overhead, bureaucracy, reports, intel costs and healthcare program costs over 5 years to REINVEST those savings in the DOD’s budget. He does not want to cut defense spending – he wants to internally shift some defense spending from one category of defense spending to another, specifically, from overhead and bureaucracies (and other lower-priority stuff) to the most important programs of the DOD – those related to maintaining the force structure, and those related to equipment.
Lochhead only once mentioned the Medicare program, albeit she admitted it is “the jet engine of deficits”, and blamed budget deficits and public debt on the item which is NOT to blame for them – America’s defense budgets. Ignoring the government’s constitutional DUTY, and the Constitution’s preamble (which says why the federal government was established in the first place), Lochhead blamed America’s fiscal problems exclusively on defense, which is totally unrelated to them, rather than the real culprit (civilian spending). To try to smear the DOD and defense spending, she resorted to lies and presented Traitor Barney Frank (an irredeemably biased liberal) and Ron Paul (an irredeemably biased libertarian). But lies are lies, and I’ve disproven them.
Shame on you, Carolyn Lochhead!
ADDENDUM: The DHHS officially admits that the total healthcare program FY2010 spending of the federal government, administered by the DHHS itself, is 859.763 bn, and that it has requested $910.679 bn for that purpose for FY2011. The source: http://dhhs.gov/asfr/ob/docbudget/2011budgetinbrief.pdf
That would make this by far the biggest spending category in the federal budget. However, both of these figures include the Medicaid program (which is a welfare project) and the Medicare program as well as the discretionary budget of the DHHS itself ($90.7 bn for FY2010, $92 bn requested for FY2011) and other healthcare programs. To avoid double accounting, I classified the Medicaid program as a part of welfare spending ($888 bn for FY2010).