I want to see a balanced budget. And I don’t think I’m overtaxed, so that means spending cuts. Spending cuts, in turn, means that things everyone likes will get cut. I like the military and I’m prepared to see some cuts in military spending.
The reason I think the military is properly treated differently than other kinds of federal programs involving the expenditure of money is that the military is the essence of the government. Without a functioning, capable military, it is only a matter of time until our government will be replaced by another one that will support a functioning, capable military.
And I notice that Congressman Frank is not suggesting across-the-board 25% cuts in spending. This is just for the military. And it’s entirely in character for a guy like Barney Frank to single the military out for especially deep spending cuts after a change in the political weather like we’re about the experience.
I don’t pretend to know how much waste, fraud, corruption, and redundancy can be purged out of the military budget and I wouldn’t buy it if a politician told me that was all that needed to be done for the budget given to defense to be reduced in an appropriate amount for a time of belt-tightening. But we need boots on the ground, an air force to support them and ensure their superiority, and a navy to get them where they need to be.
Now, I suppose someone could make the pitch to me and I’d listen that cuts of that size can be done without appreciably impacting our operational effectiveness. But I'[d be skeptical that a cut that deep would not have an impact.
We may have to do without a program or two and it probably wouldn’t be too hard for me to educate myself about what kinds of programs we could do without. The V-22 Osprey does not seem like it fits into any sort of operational situation we would plausibly find our military in, or at least not any that alternative means of getting that operation done with more traditional and affordable sorts of equipment that we already have. I lack the time to confirm that, and I’m sure the Osprey has its advocates, but that seems like a plausible sort of thing we might cut.
I’m prepared to accept some military spending cuts, because it must become a national priority to stop deficit spending and rein in our national debt. At the same time, we cannot stop having a government — a government that can effectively protect its citizens from threats and hunt down and kill our enemies. Cutting out one in four dollars spent on the military, while still asking it to fulfill that mission, seems like an unreasonable and incompatible set of priorities.