Congress must consider spending restraint on military budget as well

Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.org, signed on to the following letter calling on Congress to look at all areas of the national budget for overspending, including the Pentagon.

In part, the letter states:

Defense spending, like the rest of the federal ledger, has grown substantially over the past few years. Under President Bush, military spending averaged 3.9 percent of GDP. Under President Obama, it has averaged 4.9 percent—a full percentage point higher. It is outrageous to assume spending under the president who launched the War on Terror, started the Department of Homeland Security and began the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is not sufficient for even the most hawkish member of Congress.

Read the rest of the letter below the jump.


Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Boehner,

We write to urge you to institute principled spending reform that rejects the notion that spending cuts can be avoided in certain parts of the federal budget. Department of Defense spending, in particular, has been provided protected status that has isolated it from serious scrutiny and allowed the Pentagon to waste billions in taxpayer money. A new Congress, with a clear mandate to cut spending and the size of government, should signal its fiscal resolve by proposing cuts for all federal spending.

Proponents of a larger Department of Defense budget have argued that security outlays should be weighed against mandatory spending levels, suggesting that explosive entitlement growth serves as an appropriate metric for defense spending. This not only ignores the unsustainable nature of entitlement spending but also the reality of defense spending, which has increased by 86 percent since 1998.

Defense spending, like the rest of the federal ledger, has grown substantially over the past few years. Under President Bush, military spending averaged 3.9 percent of GDP. Under President Obama, it has averaged 4.9 percent—a full percentage point higher. It is outrageous to assume spending under the president who launched the War on Terror, started the Department of Homeland Security and began the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is not sufficient for even the most hawkish member of Congress.

And yet, defense spending continues to enjoy protected status. The Pentagon is slated to spend $6.5 trillion over the next ten years – equal to the current projected deficit spending in the same time period. Ignoring the burden military spending places on the taxpayers promotes the same reckless spending ethos that led to failed “stimulus” policies, government bailouts and a prolonged economic recession.

Leadership on spending requires commitment that aims to permanently change the bias toward profligacy, not simply stem the tide in the short-term. True fiscal stewards cannot eschew real spending reform by protecting pet projects in the federal budget. Any such Department of Defense favoritism would signal that the new Congress is not serious about fiscal responsibility and not ready to lead.

As we enter a new Congress and search for ways to significantly decrease the size of government, we call on you to lead the crusade for a new era of responsibility – one that knows no sacred cows.

Sincerely,

Bill Pascoe of Citizens for the Republic, Brian Burch of CatholicVote.org, Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxation, Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute, Chuck Muth of Citizen Outreach, David A. Keene of the American Conservative Union, Duane Parde of the National Taxpayers Union, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Jim Martin of 60 Plus Association, John Tate of Campaign for Liberty, Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, L. Brent Bozell of Media Research Center, Lewis K. Uhler of the National Tax Limitation Committee, Lisa Miller of Tea Party WDC, Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks, Mattie Corrao of the Center for Fiscal Accountability, Richard Viguerie of ConservativeHQ.com, Rick Watson of the Florida Center-Right Coalition, Seton Motley of Less Government, Susan Carleson of the American Civil Rights Union, Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity, Tom Schatz of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, William Greene of RightMarch.com

Read more about this issue at ATR.

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18 thoughts on “Congress must consider spending restraint on military budget as well

  1. Joshua Mercer says:

    If the United States military commits to a military operation, it must ensure that our troops have all the equipment they need to do the job. The troops should also be paid very well. We can have these as priorities while also putting the Defense budget under scrutiny. Can we really continue to fight two wars (possible third battle coming soon in Korea?) and also have troops on the Korean border and all throughout Europe? The American taxpayer has subsidized the defense of many countries for over 50 years — even now 20 years after the Berlin Wall has fallen. We cannot continue this indefinitely. We simply cannot afford it. Our debt will be our undoing.

  2. Tom Crowe says:

    Hmm… My gut doesn’t like this letter. Not because it’s wrong, but because it doesn’t say plainly enough what I hope it really means. No, there should be no sacred cows in federal spending, but if the question is between supplying the troops who are committed, not supplying the troops while leaving them committed, or a weaselly cut-and-run strategy, I do hope the signatories would opt for the first option while pushing for fewer, and more wisely conducted, wars. There certainly is plenty of wasteful spending within the DoD–it is an arm of the government, it is well-nigh a metaphysical impossibility for there not to be wasteful spending–so any calls to “restrain” government outlays ought to focus like a laser on those areas. But I agree with the military moms who have posted here that we cannot skimp on defense and weapons projects the same way we can skimp on many non-essential governmental programs. I understand that not all “cuts” are cuts, as in when a reduction of the rate of growth of spending being called a “cut.” But, in my opinion, this letter was insufficiently clear, especially in a time when we are committed around the world and other hot spots which we cannot simply abandon may soon flare up further.

  3. Pamela says:

    My son is over on the USS George Washington in Korea right now in the Navy. I was worried sick about them since I didnt hear from him for days. I finally got an email from him. In that email he told me that the US Aircraft Carrier was surrounded by Chinese Destroyers. You heard me correctly. Chinese destroyers surrounded us during our military drilling with South Korea. Now this has not been reported by any media outlet. So with all due respect, I would have to disagree with you on this one as well. Right now the Chinese say in the next few years they are going to be able to make missiles that can destroy our carriers. We live in a dangerous world. We need to make sure that our young men and women have what they need when they are sent over seas, to protect people in lands they will never know.

    1. Linus says:

      Please don’t take this wrong but if it was told to you by an active-duty servicemember on deployment and has not been reported in the media then you should most definitely not be disclosing it on an internet forum. I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything but your son could theoretically get in trouble for sharing that kind of information. Just friendly advice from someone who has previously been deployed by the same branch in the same neck of the woods.

      1. GW 3 characters says:

        I wager a guess that if her statement is true, the Chinese destroyers are well aware of their own proximity to our carrier.

      2. Pamela says:

        There is an interesting article on msnbc today titled, “South Korea Spy Chief says more Attacks Likely”. At the end of the article it states how the U.S. is seeking an oil tanker to move 30,000 tons if jet fuel from Japan to Korea. Even though we left today/ Their yesterday, I still fear this is anything but over.

  4. Catherine says:

    I love you folks at Catholic Vote but on this issue you are dead wrong. I too am the mother of a soldier who is currently serving in Afghanistan. Perhaps the military budget would not be so high if Democrats had not attached so many earmarks to it that had nothing to do with the military. Like the $20 million earmark Senator Kerry attached to build the Ted Kennedy Center in Boston to honor the killer of Mary Jo Kopechne and the promoter of abortion on demand. Many of our servicemen and women serving overseas in combat areas do not even have the basic necessities. Take a walk through the website http://www.anysoldier.com to see the things that soldiers are requesting. Soap, socks, warm blankets, etc. STOP the earmarks for pet projects but DO NOT put our sons and daughters lives in even more danger and more misery by cutting the military budget.

    1. Linus says:

      The private contractor who works in Afghanistan scooping mashed potatoes onto trays earns roughly double the base-pay of an active-duty infantry officer, easily, if not more. Maybe that issue should be addressed at some point. Americans are not being asked to acrifice anything and as a result we are losing everything: the national pride and loyalty of our best and brightest young people.

  5. Linus says:

    It’ll never happen. We’re on the verge of a proxy war with China via the Korean peninsula, and now that trillion-dollar mineral deposits have been discovered there we’ll pretty much never be leaving the “Graveyard of Empires.” Having two of the most militarily-incompetent administrations in US history leading us through the last ten years hasn’t helped. At this point we might as well have an outright military coup. Our civilian leadership is dangerously incompetent and disloyal.

  6. Mary D says:

    As the mother of an active serviceman with a family,currently deployed,
    I do not agree with cutting defense budget.
    Oversight…making sure our servicemen with familes don’t get paid so little they must be on foodstamps.Yes.
    But we have 2 wars.
    And our soldiers better have what they need when they need it
    or 9-11 will look like a picnic.

    I’ve been to the funerals of 2 soldiers this year.
    Cost cutting sends a strange message to our military and our enemies.

    1. Vermont Crank says:

      With all due respect, Ma’am, you are simply wrong. The Mahometans do not have the industrial capacity to build a war machine that can threaten America and the two wars we are waging have absolutely nothing to do with defending America.

      Lord have Mercy. How we Christian Catholics became convinced of American Exceptionalism and decided to throw-in with the ideological Jacobins who seek to impose upon those who do not want them nor are capable of implementing them the putative universal values of democracy and free markets is beyond me but I do know that reading the opinions about the military at this site is depressing.

      Our defense dept is wildly wasteful and corrupt and incompetent and it should be reduced by at least half in the next ten years

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