Liberals, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are enraged that House Republicans, led by Paul Ryan, have proposed and passed a plan that would spare defense from sequestration in FY2013 and cut the rate of growth of discretionary and mandatory social programs, including child and senior nutrition programs, welfare, foodstamps, and Medicare. But it would not cut these programs from their current funding levels or even stop their growth – merely slow it down. For example, Medicare, which has already ballooned over the last decade, would grow over the next 10 years by “only” 123% instead of 125%.
But Ryan’s plan is the right one, and in fact, Congress needs to freeze these programs and prevent defense spending’s sequestration completely. Why?
For several reasons. Firstly, defense has already contributed $920 bn in savings since 2009, including the $487 bn in cuts found by Secretary Panetta and devised for the next decade. Meanwhile, all other federal programs and agencies have contributed little, and in most cases, nothing in savings. That’s right: while successive SECDEFs, generals, and troops have had to continually tighten their belts, no one else had to. Domestic agencies and programs – discretionary and nondiscretionary alike – have contributed little to nothing to deficit reduction. So it’s time to stop cutting defense and start requiring other programs and agencies to make large budget cuts.
Secondy, these social programs – discretionary and nondiscretionary alike – are bloated. Entitlement programs already constitute 63% (i.e. almost 2/3rds) of the entire federal budget $120 bn – $180 bn per year is defrauded out of Medicare and Medicaid. Domestic discretionary programs are also far larger than they need to be, and designed to trap as many people as possible in slavery to the federal government as its dependents. For example, 46 million Americans are currently on foodstamps. Total welfare spending, including Medicaid spending, was $888 bn as of FY2010, and has grown since then, while defense spending has shrunk. Moreover, many (although not all and perhaps not even most) people who use these programs are fraudsters, welfare bums, and couch potatoes: people who are very much able to take care of themselves, but don’t want to. It’s high time to cut these programs significantly and reserve them ONLY for those who are truly downtrodden.
Thirdly, defense is the federal government’s #1 Constitutional DUTY, while child nutrition, senior nutrition, health services for them, foodstamps, welfare, and other social issues are reserved by the Constitution to the states and the people. They are none of the federal government’s business, and by managing them, the federal government has made them worse. The best solution – and the best way to care for these people – is to return these programs to state and local governments.
Fourthly, contrary to the lies of strident anti-defense liberals like Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), this would NOT mean protecting the Pentagon’s budget or its wasteful expenditures. It would mean only preventing its budget from being cut too deeply and disproportionately, while requiring non-defense programs and agencies to contribute significant savings to deficit reduction for the first time ever. And the BCA’s First Tier budget cuts will, in any event, eliminate any wasteful expenditures of the DOD and cut through the fat and into the muscle. There isn’t enough waste in the defense budget to eliminate to pay for additional $600 bn cuts. Not even close. And moreover, the sequester would cut EVERY item in the defense budget deeply and equally – the necessities along with the waste. It’s an insane mechanism which must be scrapped immediately.
Last but not least, let’s not forget that, as Obama’s own OMB Chief, Jacob Lew, has admitted, “the sequester was never meant to be policy.”
Harry Reid falsely claims on Twitter that “[The] Sequester’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a balanced approach to reduce the deficit that shares the pain as well as the responsibility.” That is a blatant lie. The sequester is unjust, disproportionate, unbalanced, destructive, dangerous, and stupid. It DOES NOT spread the pain and the responsibility proportionately nor in a “balanced” way; it dumps a full 50% of the pain – the budget cuts – on defense, which accounts for only 19% of all federal spending – while almost completely shielding entitlements (which consume 63% of the entire federal budget) from any cuts. And it’s a completely insane approach that would do nothing to even dent the budget deficit (which is $1.3 trillion this fiscal year alone) and does not address the REAL drivers of that deficit – entitlements and the tax code. It’s not a serious approach to address any problems.
And who does Harry Reid think he is? He’s a completely disgraced, despicable Senator who, as Senate Majority Leader, has utterly failed to even get any budget (let alone one that would address the deficit) passed for more than 3 full years! Yet, he’s quite content with gutting defense and rejecting four different budget plans (those of Rep. Paul Ryan and Sens. Toomey, Lee, and Paul) that would balance the budget within a decade. If Harry Reid had even a shred of honor, he would keep his vile mouth shut.
It’s high time to cancel the sequestration of defense spending and finally force nondefense programs and agencies – discretionary and nondiscretionary alike.