On February 28th, during Sec. Panetta’s hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, many lies were stated. I shall refute only several ones:
1) Panetta’s lie that Republicans, not President Obama, are to blame for the first tier of defense budget cuts and the sequester, and that “it is not true” that Obama was the one who first came up with a demand for $400 bn in defense cuts.
The truth is that Obama was the first to come up with that figure. It was none other than him who, having cut $400 bn from defense accounts in 2009 and 2010, demanded that the DOD “do it again” on April 13th, 2011, in a speech at the GWU. It wasn’t Republican or democratic members of Congress who first demanded these cuts or introduced legislation to tht effect. It was none other than President Obama himself, on April 13th, 2011. Back then, the debt ceiling wasn’t even an issue and there wasn’t any Budget Control Act or any negotiations ongoing over it.
When the US began to approach its debt ceiling (thanks to Obama’s irresponsible fiscal policies that created trillion-dollar budget deficits and drove the public debt to the stratosphere), Obama demanded a debt ceiling hike, while the DOD was still the only agency forced to cut its budget. Republicans refused to give him that without spending cuts, so Obama and the Democrats said “OK, but half of these cuts must come out of the defense budget”. Then, Republicans surrendered and accepted defense cuts to the tune of $465 bn over a decade. They also accepted the creation of a Super Committee, and they wanted an assurance that that the Super Committee would actually do its job. The Democrats agreed, but on the condition that 50% of the cuts that this “assurance” – the sequester – would make would come out of defense accounts. That’s how the DOD was faced with such budget cuts. In short, the FIRST person to demand defense cuts to the tune of $400 bn was Obama.
2) Panetta claimed that the “review” of the US nuclear arsenal that Obama has ordered and that the DOD is conducting was mandated by Congressional legislation.
That’s also a blatant lie. It was not ordered by any statute. There is no Congressional legislation that ordered it. It was ordered by Obama by executive fiat, and only recently, and solely because of his pacifist, anti-defense ideology and his desire to disarm the US unilaterally. If Panetta can find me any statute that requires such a review to be conducted now, and to study further nuclear arsenal cuts, I’ll buy him a bottle of scotch.
3) John Thune falsely claimed that under sequestration, DOD budget items will not have to be cut equally.
This is false. Sequestration is mandated by Sec. 251 Subsection a) Clauses #1-3 of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Under these provisions, everything in the core defense budget has to be cut by an equal (“uniform”) percentage determined by the amount by which Congress has failed to meet the $1.2 trillion budget reduction treshold, and if the President exempts personnel spending from the sequester (as he is authorized to do by Section 255 f)), everything else in the defense budget will have to be cut by an even higher, equal (“uniform”) amount.
4) Kent Conrad’s claim that under the budget cuts ordered by the first tier of the BCA, defense spending would be only slightly cut under the BCA and would then grow quickly every year afterward.
In fact, this is a lie. Under the first tier of the BCA, defense spending will be cut not only in FY2013 but also in FY2014, and will not return to its FY2011 levels until FY2019 at the earliest, and that is only assuming that the Congress doesn’t impose any additional defense cuts and that sequestration doesn’t proceed. Furthermore, as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has pointed out, Conrad’s figures are in nominal dollars, i.e. they don’t take inflation into account.
5) Kent Conrad lied that further defense spending cuts “will likely be necessary”.
This is a lie, because they are not necessary and the defense budget cuts already ordered were not necessary either. The budget can be balanced without any defense spending cuts whatsoever, as the Republican Study Committee and the Heritage Foundation have shown with their budget plans, both of which would balance the federal budget by FY2020 without cutting defense spending at all. The budget could be balanced easily if politicians were willing to cut (or even better, eliminate) federal programs and agencies that are unconstitutional and/or wasteful and/or duplicative.