In reply to Daniels’ CPAC’11 speech and other comments about defense

Many liberals, including Mitch Daniels, are misleading the American public to believe that defense cuts are necessary if the federal budget is to be balanced.

Said Daniels during his speech to the attendees of CPAC’11:

“And that means that nothing, not even defense, our number one constitutional obligation, can escape budget cuts.”

By “that” he meant America’s current fiscal crisis.

He’s wrong, as are other liberals who say so.

Even if the budget is to be balanced – and it must be, because America can no longer afford to borrow money – the defense budget (distinguish it from the annual GWOT supplemental) can, should, and must escape cuts. It is possible to balance the budget without any defense spending cuts whatsoever, as proven by myself, by Rep. Paul Ryan (the House Budget Committee Chairman), and by Heritage Foundation analyst Allison Fraser. I have written and published my own balanced budget plan, which I dubbed the Blueprint for a Balanced Budget; Rep. Paul Ryan is the author of the Roadmap for America; Allison Fraser has drafted the HF’s own plan for a balanced budget. (What distinguishes their plans from mine is that mine calls for deep cuts of entitlement programs.)

So, there are three different plans for a balanced budget that would, if implemented, accomplish that goal without defense spending cuts. So it’s doable.

Also, defense spending cuts would be penny-wise and pound-foolish. As I’ve stated multiple times,

they would weaken the military (the proposals of the CI, the STDF and the DRC would GRAVELY weaken the military), thus leaving it unprepared for future wars and contingencies, emboldening America’s adversaries to engage in provocations or even aggression, and possibly resulting in an attack on the US itself.

And then, the US would have only two choices: rebuild its military and fight a war invited by a weak posture and by defense cuts, or do nothing. Both of these options would be much more expensive than just maintaining the current level of defense spending, raising it to $553 bn per year (3.78% of GDP) in FY2012, and modernizing the military using this modest amount of money. As Secretary Gates has rightly warned during several Congressional hearings earlier this year, defense cuts have always led to foreign aggression and to a costly process of rebuilding the military, so, Gates warns, defense budgets should be stable instead of being subjected to “giant increases and giant decreases”. Only that is a financially sustainable path for the DOD and the country.

So defense spending cuts – even those proposed by the CATO Institute, the SDTF and the DRC –  would save little money in the short term, and zero money in the long term. No real fiscal conservative would ever advocate such a policy.

Moreover, the fact that defense cuts would weaken the military is, by itself, a fact that should cause them to be ruled out. They would be treasonous and bad.

Moreover, defense is the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government. Any defense cuts would constitute a dereliction of that duty.

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