As everyone knows, the NYT is an extremely liberal, irredeemably biased newspaper, so it’s not a surprise that the slimy journalists of the NYT continue to lie about defense spending to mislead the American people. Too bad that Freedomworks.org does so as well.
In an article published on January 26th, the NYT falsely claimed that the DOD budget was “once-sacred” and only this year was it put on the table by Speaker Boehner and Republican Majority Leader Eric “Double Loyalty” Cantor, even though, the NYT claims, the Republican Party has been protecting the Pentagon’s budget for generations; but, says the NYT, the GOP is still divided on whether, and how deeply, to reduce the DOD’s budget, because, claims the NYT, some Republicans beholden to the defense industry are still opposed to defense cuts.
“To hear the Republican leadership tell it, the once-sacred Pentagon budget, protected by the party for generations, is suddenly on the table. But a closer look shows that even as Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, insist on the need for military cuts, divisions have opened among Republicans about whether, and how much, to chop Pentagon spending that comes to more than a half trillion dollars a year.”
Firstly, the Pentagon budget has NEVER been sacred (although it should’ve been), and has NEVER been protected by the Republican Party, let alone for generations. Let’s review the post-WW2 history of defense spending:
1970s: politicians of both political parties cut defense spending from its then-record-high level of $466.49 billion in FY1968 to $406.07 billion (in FY2010 dollars) in FY1981 (according to the DOL’s inflation calculator). As a share of GDP, defense investments declined from 9.4% in FY1968 to 4.6% in FY1979 (the nadir of the Carter era). The force structure was severely reduced, as were weapons purchases. The B-1 program was cancelled and the shipbuilding program was cut. As a result, by 1980, the US military had fighterplanes which couldn’t fly and warships that couldn’t even leave their homeports.
1987: The Congress passed the Gramm-Rudman Act, which ordered a 10% reduction of the DOD’s budget. The force structure and weapon programs were significantly reduced.
FYs 1989-1999: Defense spending was reduced year after year, from 5.6% of GDP in FY1989 to 3.0% of GDP in FYs 1999-2001. As a share of GDP, it was almost halved and by FY1999 represented the lowest level of defense spending since FY1940. In absolute terms, the record-low defense budget was that for FY1998 ($339 bn in 2010 dollars), the smallest since FY1961. Compared to the FY1985 DOD budget, it was 36.47% smaller. During the Clinton era, only three attack submarines were ordered.
The Bush years: Although defense spending did grow in real terms, dozens of crucial weapon programs were closed (e.g. the Comanche helicopter, the Crusader artillery system, and the E-10MCA) or reduced (e.g. orders for F-22 and F-35 fighterplanes).
The Obama era: Dozens of crucial procurement programs were terminated, including the MKV, KEI, F-22, CSAR-X helicopter, Zumwalt class, AC-X and next generation bomber study program. The plan to add 14 ground-based interceptors in Alaska was cancelled. In FY2010, the MDA’s budget was cut by $1.4 bn, i.e. 15%, from its FY2009 level. In FY2011, the core defense budget was reduced by $17 bn in real terms, from the FY2010 level ($542.76 bn), by the FY2011 ConRes.
Like all other claims in this NYT article, the claim that the Pentagon budget was “once-sacred” and “has been protected by the party for generations” is a blatant lie.
What about “the need for military cuts” on which Boehner and Eric “Double Loyalty” Cantor insist? Well, they do, but the NYT apparently agrees with them, and it’s a blatant lie anyway. There is no need for military cuts. Defense spending is NOT the cause of America’s fiscal woes. America needs to reduce domestic spending (discretionary and nondiscretionary alike), not defense spending. But defense spending cuts provide politicians (Republicans and Democrats alike) with a convenient (albeit false) excuse not to reduce domestic spending seriously, although defense spending cuts would not eliminate or even significantly reduce the annual budget deficit. But Republicans and Democrats DEPEND on wasteful domestic programs (e.g. entitlements, farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies, transit subsidies, Amtrak subsidies, unneeded highways and bridges to nowhere) for reelection, so defense spending cuts enable them to avoid tough choices on domestic spending.
Then NYT lied that:
“But Representative Chris Gibson, a Tea Party-endorsed freshman Republican and a retired Army colonel from New York’s Hudson River Valley, made it clear that no part of the Pentagon’s $550 billion budget — some $700 billion including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — was immune.”
The lie is the claim that the Pentagon’s budget is $550 bn, or $700 bn if you include the GWOT supplemental. It’s a blatant lie. The DOD has NEVER had a $700 bn budget. Not this fiscal year. Not ever. The DOD’s FY2010 budget was ca. $674.89 bn ($542.76 bn as a core defense budget plus less than $130 bn as a GWOT supplemental). The DOD’s FY2011 budget consists of a $525 bn core defense budget plus a ca. $150-160 bn GWOT supplemental, a total sum of $675-685 bn. And no, the DOD’s core budget is not $550 bn. In FY2010 it was $542.76 bn and this FY, it’s $525 bn. The last time the DOD had a $550 bn was the Reagan era.
The NYT also lied that ” It also shows why taking on the military budget will be so hard, even though a widening deficit has led the president and the leaders of both parties to say this time they are serious.” “Taking on the military budget” will not be hard. It’s a blatant lie. Successive Congresses and Presidents have done so (for example, during the 1800s, the 1920s, the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1970s, the late 1980s and the 1990s). I do not doubt that “the president and the leaders of both parties are serious this time – their predecessors were serious during the 1800s, the 1920s, the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1970s, the late 1980s, and the 1990s. Each time, they significantly reduced defense spending.
The NYT falsely narrated the story to make people think that the only people who defend the defense budget are congressmen beholden to the defense industry and those who have large military bases in their constituencies. The NYT thus tried to indoctrinate people to make them think that the defense budget benefits only them and is defended only by them and by lobbyists of the defense industry. It’s gibberish.
In short, the NYT article is a litany of lies.
Dick Armey falsely claimed that cutting defense spending does not mean that a person who proposes to do so is “not fully committed to national security”. He called such a proposition “baloney”. Says the NYT:
“Dick Armey, a former Republican House majority leader and now a leader of the Tea Party movement, said in an interview that Tea Party-backed members of Congress would rigorously look for places to prune the Pentagon budget. “A lot of people say if you cut defense, you’re demonstrating less than a full commitment to our nation’s security, and that’s baloney,” he said.”
It’s not baloney, it’s a fact. An army marches on its stomach, as Napoleon said. A strong defense requires an adequate defense budget, and the current defense budget ($525 bn) is not adequate. A 3.59% of GDP appropriation, it represents the lowest level of defense spending since FY1948, if you exclude the Clinton era and FY2002.
But hey, what would I expect from a slimy former Congressman who has never even served with the US military? For Armey, protecting America is NOT a priority, as he admitted himself. He said that “in foreign policy, my #1 priority is to protect Israel.” One would’ve thought that for any congressman or former congressman, the #1 foreign policy priority would be to protect America.
During the late 1990s, when Armey was the GOP House Majority Leader, defense spending was dramatically reduced, down to the lowest levels since FY1940. As a result, the US military became impotent.