The deal to raise the debt ceiling is done. The Washington Post’s lead story screamed that the cuts were “sharp” and “severe.” However, and please read these words carefully, there are no cuts to federal spending. I repeat: There are no cuts to federal spending. Remember the Baseline Budgeting we talked about yesterday? There are automatic eight to ten percent increases built into every program. The new debt ceiling bill reduces the increase by about one percent; there are no actual cuts to the programs, only a one percent reduction in their increases. In Washington, that is a “sharp” and “severe” cut.
Furthermore, the deal continues to add to the deficit, a deficit that we couldn’t afford before. Now we will be borrowing even more money. In Sen. Jim DeMint’s words, “This bill doesn’t cut the debt; it will add about $7 trillion in new debt over the next ten years on the backs of our children and grandchildren. This bill doesn’t stop deficit spending; it locks in trillion dollar spending deficits for years to come. This bill doesn’t stop tax hikes; Republicans and Democrats are already promising to consider job destroying tax hikes in this new Super Committee. This bill doesn’t protect our nation; it puts national security at risk with unbalanced cuts to funding (that) our troops in the field count on. This bill doesn’t guarantee our AAA rating; it puts it at further risk as the world sees Washington as incapable of cutting wasteful spending.”
Nevertheless, there are some real cuts occurring; they are in the Defense Department. Congress isn’t doing it but President Obama, through the Defense Secretary, has ordered the military to cut its budget. Despite currently fighting three wars, even the most hawkish military people agree that there is too much waste in the Pentagon. Yet, there is something about the debt ceiling deal that really bothers me. If the super-committee can’t reach agreement, then across the board cuts will be made in entitlements and the military. If indiscriminate cuts can be made in the military, then make them already. In fact, that is already being done. The point is though; do we make military cuts as punishment for not reaching a deal? Doesn’t more thought go into defense spending and cuts than that? Are not military dollars still regarded as the highest value dollars we spend? For sure, all dollars are not created equal.
If I was a betting man, I’d bet that most of the people reading this blog don’t know of all the military cuts that have been transpiring. It’s as if congress doesn’t know it either for it to put the military on the same chopping block as everything else. Besides the obvious national defense threats that this nation continues to face, and our need to be able to face any threat, there is another interesting aspect to the military cuts. It’s odd that not a word is spoken when defense cuts are made and thousands of military factory workers, servicemen, and support personnel lose their jobs. But make those same cuts to a different government program and you’ll again hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth.