I’m With Rand Paul: Cut That 700 Billion Out Of Defense
7) “Those who can do. Those who can’t form a supercommittee.” – Mark Steyn. After yet another Mexican standoff caused by Democrats adamantly fighting against spending cuts, despite the fact that the country is headed toward bankruptcy, the geniuses in Congress came up with a solution: the Super Committee. The Super Committee is sort of like Superman, except it doesn’t actually save anyone and its only “super power” was accomplishing nothing while trying to shift the blame elsewhere. Who would have ever thought that a committee composed of Republicans who were adamantly opposed to tax increases working with a group of Democrats who were adamantly opposed to spending cuts couldn’t reach an agreement on deficit reduction? Oh, wait; everybody thought that. So of course, this led to “automatic cuts” which Congress is still desperately trying to block. In other words, the Super Committee is to committees what Joe Biden has been to Vice-Presidents. — John Hawkins, The 10 Biggest Political Debacles of 2011
Guess what? It’s time to pay the piper for the GOP’s foolish decision to punt their responsibilities to a supercommittee. That means large, entirely predictable defense cuts. Moreover, we should be cutting defense. We have a trillion dollar plus deficit and 15 trillion dollar debt. Almost EVERYTHING in the budget including Defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education needs to be cut. We don’t have the money to pay for it anymore. Rand Paul understands that.
Shortly after noon last Tuesday, Dick Cheney slipped out of an elevator and into the Lyndon Baines Johnson room where Republican senators hold a weekly lunch. His mission: convince them that $700 billion of automatic defense spending cuts, put in place by 2011’s debt limit deal, had to be overturned. His audience, judging by the bursts of applause, was awfully receptive. As they left, they paused to tell reporters just how convincing Cheney had been.
….“Most people in our conference,” said Paul, “are on the side [that thinks] that they need to do anything now to avoid the military sequester. I think there is a little bit of irony in that most of them voted for the military sequester. I didn’t vote for it. They all voted to raise the debt ceiling with a military sequester, and now they’re all basically caterwauling about it.”
The sequester was basically designed for caterwaulers. In order to extend the debt limit through to 2013, most Republicans and Democrats eventually agreed to $1.4 trillion of “triggered” cuts–sequesters. Half of the money would be taken out of domestic discretionary spending over 10 years; half would be taken from the defense budget over 10 years, a slash of around 8 percent.
“It was designed to be painful,” explained Sen. Harry Reid, so that the “supercommittee” would cut even more from the budget, in targeted ways. That would have pre-empted the sequester.
But the supercommittee failed and Congress–largely Republicans–started testing out ways of saving a defense budget that reached $608 billion this year . In May, the Republican House narrowly passed a “sequester replacement” that shunted all the cuts over to the discretionary side.
“They seem to say, ‘Well, we are for certain revisions to make the military more efficient,’ ” said Paul. “I’m of the belief that nothing around you will ever be efficient unless the top line number is lower. So, they don’t like what they call sequester. To me, that means that the top line number is lower, and if you really believe in savings in the military budget or else you’d have to find the savings, you’d be forced to find the savings. If they could offset it with true one-to-one spending cuts somewhere else, I might consider supporting that. If it’s like most of the games they play around here–they give us cuts over 10 years to pay for something over one year–I’m not going to vote for that, because really, we’re going back on what we promised the American people during that whole battle was that we’re going to be more fiscally responsible.”
Paul didn’t take a position on the Ryan “sequester replacement.” That plan won’t make it through the Senate, anyway. But he disagreed with it in spirit. “Conservatives defend military spending,” he said. “Liberals defend domestic spending. The idea [is] that both sides get together and compromises and we reduce all spending … and right now, and really for the last 50 years, we’ve done the opposite. Our compromise has always been: We raise military spending and we raise domestic welfare spending. So when people say we’re not compromising, they’re missing it completely. We’re compromising all the time to spend more money.”
Nobody tricked the Republican Party. Republicans signed onto this deal knowing full well that this would be the most likely outcome. Yet, they’re now getting cold feet about the 700 billion dollars that they’ve already agreed to cut from the military? If even Republicans aren’t willing to go through with spending cuts they’ve already agreed to, then what hope does this country have of ever getting its fiscal house in order?