Rudy deLeon and Rand Paul caught lying about defense spending

During a 3/3/2011 hearing before the House Readiness Subcommittee, Rudy deLeon (a strident liberal from the CAP) lied about defense spending.

DeLeon, who is one of the execs of the extremely-liberal, anti-defense CAP, and served as Deputy SECDEF in the anti-defense Clinton Administration, not only failed to mention China, Iran or any other state actor as a threat, he also said that federal spending (read: defense spending) should be reduced to balance the budget and strengthen the economy.

Actually, defense spending reductions would weaken the military AND the economy while failing to eliminate or even significantly reduce the budget deficit. A sizeable defense budget and a strong economy are NOT mutually exclusive. They are complementary. You can spend 4-6% of GDP on defense while still maintaining a strong economy and growing it.

Rudy deLeon has given the American people and the Congress a false choice which they should reject.

To reiterate:

Defense spending cuts would not strengthen the US economy in any way, not even by one iota. They would actually harm the economy, as well as the military. Therefore, they must never be enacted.

A sizeable defense budget is not mutually exclusive with a strong economy, but rather complementary. America doesn’t have to choose between a sizeable defense budget and a strong economy; that’s a false choice.

Also on Capitol Hill, newbie Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky targeted ONLY the DOD for budget reductions in a speech, saying that military spending should be reduced to tackle the deficit. While doing so, he lied about the growth of military spending since FY2001. Specifically, he claimed that:

We have increased military spending by 120% since 2001. We have doubled military spending.

Now, I’m for a strong national defense. I believe that it is a constitutional function of the federal government to provide for our national defense. I think it is the pre-eminent power, the pre-eminent enumerated power, the thing we should be doing here. But even that being said, we cannot every eight years double the Defense Department, double the military spending…”

Actually, no, military spending has NOT increased by 120%, or even doubled, since FY2001.
The FY2001 defense budget, designed and signed into law by Clinton in 2000, was $291.1 bn in 2000 dollars, i.e. $365 bn in today’s money. The FY2011 military budget, under the ConRes, is $685 bn. Thus, the difference is $320 bn, which means that military spending has increased by only 87% since FY2001, in 9+1/2 fiscal years. So it hasn’t even doubled, let alone increased by 120%,  since FY2001. Paul’s claims are blatant lies.
Paul has also used a straw man argument – that “we cannot double military spending every 8 years”. True, but no one has called for such a policy. What defense conservatives, including myself, have argued for is simply for the core defense budget to be spared from reductions and increased steadily, though moderately, step by step, to provide for the common defense, as the Constitution calls on the Federal Government to do. I believe that defense spending shouldn’t be doubled from the current level, merely increased to $553 bn in today’s money and kept at that level for the next decade.
Paul claims he’s for a strong national defense, but his other statements, and his legislation, belie that claim. He’s a weak-defense libertarian who has targeted the DOD for big budget reductions and rails against defense spending on the basis of false claims.

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