The Pentagon’s budget has risen for 13 years, which is unprecedented. Between 2001 and 2009, overall spending on defense rose from $412 billion to $699 billion, a 70 percent increase, which is larger than in any comparable period since the Korean War. Including the supplementary spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, we spent $250 billion more than average U.S. defense expenditures during the Cold War — a time when the Soviet, Chinese and Eastern European militaries were arrayed against the United States and its allies. Over the past decade, when we had no serious national adversaries, U.S. defense spending has gone from about a third of total worldwide defense spending to 50 percent. In other words, we spend more on defense than the planet’s remaining countries put together. . . . Today, the U.S. defense establishment is the world’s largest socialist economy.And, nothing has been done about the looming expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which Obama kept trying to give away all summer. If Congress cannot come to any more agreements, defense spending gets slashed and taxes go up, so no more anxiety about whether agreements can be reached. If a formula can be reached with modest tax increases, great, if not, well, it's back to the tax system we had in the 1990s, the last time our economy was booming.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Cut Defense Spending
Count me among the few people feeling down right cheerful about the debt deal. The harder I look at it, the more I see to like. Massive cuts in defense spending seem inevitable, and that is the one budget change I would most like to see -- even more than taxing hedge fund profits as regular income. Here is Fareed Zakaria on why we should cut the defense budget: