Monday, February 14, 2011

Spending on Weapons: The Holy Cow of American Politics

To put the various Republican budget cut proposals into perspective, have a look at where the United States stand internationally on defense spending:

But we are tiny quiet mice on that topic, even though the Republicans really, really want to get rid of both retirement benefits and publicly funded health care for the elderly. Here's a sample of their opinions from the Washington Post:

Former senator Rick Santorum (R) released this statement in response to the president's budget:
"This budget also lacks a very critical component - it does not address entitlement reform. We cannot have an honest conversation about consequential spending cuts without reforming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and repealing our country's most recently enacted entitlement: Obamacare.

Former Republican Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty released the following statement:
It's especially disappointing that the President is refusing to reform runaway entitlement programs. We need to be honest with the American people and reform these programs before they bankrupt our nation."

Freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) released the following statement on the budget:
"While the President insists he will take the commendable step of vetoing earmarks, his silence on entitlement reform, the absence of meaningful spending cuts and his reliance on anti-competitive tax increases will cause more economic uncertainty, stifle job creation and keep America on a path towards a diminished future.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) joined conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday to discuss the president's 2012 budget request:
As I said yesterday, this isn't winning the future, it's spending the future," said Boehner.

"[T]his week House Republicans will move a bill on the floor of the House that will cut $100 billion in spending. And this is just the beginning," he continued, "Over the next several months you'll see us move ahead with other cuts in mandatory spending, and then you'll see our budget. And our budget will deal with the entitlement crisis that we're facing."

Boehner also took an opportunity to defend Republicans' proposed continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through the remaining seven months of fiscal year 2011, "We're going to do everything we can in this bill to make sure that there's no money for ObamaCare," said Boehner, "But this is a continuing resolution. This deals with what we call discretionary spending. And within the rules of debate for a bill like this, we're going to do everything we can to make sure there's no money."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) released the following statement on the president's budget proposal:
President Obama has used tough rhetoric about the need to get our fiscal house in order, even assembling a bipartisan commission to address entitlement spending which accounts for more than half of our federal budget including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, the President again failed to put action behind his words by neglecting to even acknowledge these tough issues that everyone knows drive up our debt and must be reformed if they are to meet their obligations for younger Americans.

The conservative Club for Growth posted a short assessment of the president's budget Monday morning:
President Obama is releasing his FY12 budget today. The highlights include higher taxes, no entitlement reform, and a whopping 11% increase in education spending. And he wants to take 10 years (what's the rush?) to cut the deficit by $1.1 trillion.
The bolds are mine. Note that none of these conservatives seems to be at all concerned about the defense spending and its share in the federal budget.