Karen Hannerty’s lies about defense spending

On Nov. 23rd, a Republican strategist, Karen Hannerty, appeared on Fox Business, debating with CSP President Frank Gaffney on the question of defense spending and how it will play with the electorate.

Hannerty propagated the same lies that many other people are spreading about defense issues.

Firstly, she claimed that even under the sequester, defense spending will grow, albeit only by $1.6-$1.7 bn by FY2023, and cited Ron Paul’s Nov. 22nd debate claim on this subject. That is a blatant lie. Defense spending, as stated here already, will not grow at all and will, in fact, be cut significantly in real terms, with or without the sequester.

[paste the numbers here]

Secondly, she also claimed “we need to stop doing what we’ve been doing for the last three decades, which is writing blank checks to the military.” That is also a blatant lie. American taxpayers have NEVER been writing blank checks to the military. Defense spending was deeply reduced in the 1940s, 1970s, 1990s, and 5 times under President Obama and is now undergoing a six round of cuts. It was also significantly reduced in the 1950s, after the Korean War. Even when defense spending DID grow (e.g. during the early 1950s, the 1960s, the 1980s, and the Bush era), it did not grow excessively and taxpayers WERE NOT writing a blank check to the Pentagon. President Truman always provided a lot less money to the DOD than it requested, prioritizing tax revenue for domestic spending (mostly social spending) first. From 1961 to 1968, Secretary McNamara implemented a large cost-cutting program and saved taxpayers tens of billions of money. During the 1980s, the Congress scrutinized every defense budget request submitted by the Reagan and Bush Administrations, and appropriated over $200 bn less for defense than what President Reagan requested, and also underfunded President Bush the Elder’s defense budget requests by tens of billions of dollars. Even under President George W. Bush, taxpayers were not writing a blank check to the Pentagon: the Congress scrutinized every defense budget request, cut or closed many programs, refused to fund others, and usually provided less for defense than what the President requested.

So no, taxpayers are not, and never did, write a blank check to the military.



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