Diary

Leon Panetta thinks you won’t get it

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta went before
Congress to ask that they balk on the Sequestration deal.  Remember the deal that said if R’s and D’s couldn’t agree on spending cuts (they didn’t), automatic spending cuts would come from defense and entitlement spending?

Well, it is almost time to stick to those cuts.

You know the story, every program in the budget is one we
simply cannot do without.  Panetta claimed that just days before the Fourth of July, we should not be cutting “the programs critical to our nation’s security” and that “the blessings of freedom are not free.”

Powerful words. . .

. . . for the simple minded.

The greatest national security threat we are facing as a nation is not suicidal Muslims or a growing Chinese military, it is our national debt.  For republicans to lead
on getting the debt under control, programs including defense, are going to
have to be cut first.  They are the first place where we don’t directly feel it as a nation.

We won’t have troops stationed in Japan and Germany anymore or new jet fighters that we can’t use and R&D will have to continue to be relegated to the private sector.  But we can cut military spending.  We can do so relatively painlessly by $350 billion to $500 billion over ten years, or in other words, half of Obama’s stimulus package.

That amounts to somewhere around $50 billion to be put on the table every fiscal
year.

As it stands, “sequestration” will cut approximately 8% from most military spending budgets, both defense and non-defense.  All-in-all, the goal of sequestration is $1.2
trillion worth of cuts over ten years from 2013-2021.

If that sounds like a lot, it’s not.  Six zeroes don’t amount to a lot in a world
of nine and twelve zeros.

If Republicans want to require that the same amount of cuts come from entitlement spending, that is reasonable.  But we have to cut in Republican districts on Republican issues.

Panetta’s comments focused on defense contractors and job losses but didn’t make a strong appeal that we needed such programs.  To overgeneralize is silly.  We will still have the greatest military budget the world has ever seen, but protecting our dollar should be paramount in security interests.  Panetta just wants his piece of the pie, but he, like everyone, will have to take their portion of cuts for the good of the nation.

Panetta wants sound bites out there that scare Americans, but Americans should know that responsible spending policies are pro-American security, not anti-security.  The future republican party that is interested in a permanent majority, has to be the
spending adults.