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Stop me if you’ve heard this before

Conservative: We must cut the size of government!

Liberal: We’re cutting the size of the military*.

Conservative: These cuts are outrageous!

* substitute medicare, medicaid, social security, VA, and so forth.

10 Responses to “Stop me if you’ve heard this before”

  1. Adam Lawson Says:

    I’d take a military cut if it also came with them giving up something, too. But cutting welfare/social security/other shit is meaaaan and heartless.

  2. Braden Lynch Says:

    Could I point out that one of the few responsibilities of the government is to provide for the common defense via our military.

    The alternates of “medicare, medicaid, social security, VA, and so forth” are basically not a critical function of government (or arguably, even Constitutional). I’d like to see government rolled back to the 1800s era. Heck, I would be silly happy if the budget and size of government was returned to the 1980s.

    Disagree? Please name one function that the government does well and with a minimum of waste, graft, or plain stupidity.

  3. Paul Kisling Says:

    Well said Braden.

  4. Don Says:

    Yep. Once we make the cuts that are necessary to get back to the spending level we can actually afford, I suspect that many people will be unhappy with it. I certainly agree with defense as the main priority, but we will probably need to re-think how we do you that as well. The level of cuts means re-prioritization and restructuring rather than simple across-the-board scaling back…

  5. divemedic Says:

    Across the board, government spending MUST be cut by 50%. That means the military is not immune. But really, do we need to maintain bases in Germany, Japan, and Korea? Why can’t those countries provide for their own defense?

  6. Gerry Says:

    The military budget has been cut and re-cut. Other departments get a cut in rate of growth. That is not equivalent.

    Germany, Japan and Korea do provide for their own defense. We get forward operating bases out of the deal as well as to protect allies.

  7. Mike R. Says:

    From what I have seen, from a budget perspective this is also a cut in the rate of growth, not a true cut. However, they plan to deal with a mere 26 billion increase in funding over last year by cutting the A-10, dropping troop levels, etc. I suspect this is tactic similar to closing the national parks – spite the public with painful cuts to try to extort more money instead of genuinely trying to accomplish their mission.

    Overall, we need to cut back on military spending, but we need to do it wisely. Killing off some programs like the F-35 that are consuming huge funding levels but producing weapons systems that fail to meet the specs and are actually less capable in many ways than the systems they replace would be a good start. Additionally, we need to stop providing free defense for most of the world. If there’s no actual national defense interest, we shouldn’t be there. I’d like to see most of our troops pulled back into the US and our extended footprint reduced to a few key bases on US soil like Guam and Diego Garcia. Right now we are spending a tremendous amount of money in places like Japan and South Korea when in many cases the populations don’t want us there. This is also a massive wealth transfer in that these countries spend much less on their own defense than they would normally need to, which enables them to compete with the US more effectively on a global scale. We are doubly shooting ourselves in the foot by borrowing money to subsidize our competitors.

    That said, we do need to keep a strong, highly trained military and we need to keep our tech edge. We just need to focus the money we spend better. For the short term, I’d like to see our troops pulled back and the money we spend overseas and on the bloated support and command structures re-targeted to replacing worn-out material and rebuilding ammunition stocks depleted by a decade of fighting. Reduce the actual spending level after that, but simply don’t increase it for now.

    Even if all that is done, you could wipe out total military spending and we would still be running a deficit, so the social programs must also take a heavy hit from the budgetary axe. I want them hit much harder, in fact, and would like to see most of them eliminated. There’s no constitutional basis for most of them, we can’t afford them, and private citizens can do the job better and more efficiently anyway.

  8. Bubblehead Les Says:

    Funny. Hagel says we can be protected by the use of “Special Ops” and “Technology”. Yet in the last 48 hours, I’ve read stories how the DOD is cutting back on the number of F-35s it’s purchasing for this year, same with the Littoral Combat Ships. So what Technology are they planning on using, Rocks and Fire? But they say that the Payroll is too much? Funny since there hasn’t been a pay raise for the Military since Obama took over. Yet Obama announced he wants to RAISE the DOT Funds to over $300 Billion….

  9. scottw Says:

    Exactly – There are no corresponding cuts to “entitlements”…Period. Being a recently retired Military member I agree that there is a lot of waste to be trimmed in the DOD — But it should not be cut from one so as to increase another…makes no sense except in the nind of a politician…..

  10. Sigivald Says:

    The only saving grace that has is that the armed forces are an enumerated power.

    (And under libertarian theory via Hayek and Mises, perfectly acceptable even to libertarians. Not so via Rothbard or Nozick, of course.)

    Those others (apart from the VA, which I think may follow as part of the armed forces system) have no Constitutional basis.

    (Libertarians may accept or decline them in principle with more or less the same split mentioned above; Hayek explicitly called for a minimal “safety net” welfare state, and equally Rothbard would never consider one tolerable.)

    More importantly, “size of government” can easily – and perhaps more usefully – mean “what thing the State concerns it with” more than “how much the State spends”.

    Not that both don’t matter, but the Conservative case for limited government is much stronger than the Conservative case for “low-spending” government; the Constitution mandates the former, and says nothing about the latter.

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