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June 14, 2010

Deficit Cutters - Here's Your First Trillion

-- by Dave Johnson

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Today the country is looking for ways to cut spending and borrowing. Yet military spending, the biggest spending item in the budget, is barely part of the discussion -- obviously because of the amount of campaign and lobbying dollars it generates.

The corrupting influence of lobbying money is clear: the fact that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 has not yet penetrated the bubble around the country's capital. In fact, military spending has soared in recent years:

Military_spending_chart
(Source http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/ Includes DOD, Veterans, Foreign military aid, Foreign economic aid. Does not include military share of debt interest.)

Because of this application of lobbying dollars our military spending vastly surpasses the amount spent by the rest of the world, and dominates our country's budget:

Military_spending_chart
(This is discretionary budget. Source http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/6/175138/6287/942/491304)

Now a bipartisan commission is willing to take this on. Commission outlines ways to cut defense spending by $1T over the next decade,

The Sustainable Defense Task Force, a commission of scholars from a broad ideological spectrum appointed by Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, laid out options the government could take that could save as much as $960 billion between 2011 and 2020.

Task force sees Pentagon cuts key to US budget fix,

U.S. lawmakers and watchdog groups on Friday called for a dramatic revamp of the defense budget to reverse widening U.S. deficits, including termination of the $382 billion Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter.

This should be a litmus test to determine the seriousness and honesty of any deficit cutters. Do they take on the big lobbying interests, or do they take it out on the poor and elderly. We'll see. The record so far is not good.


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Posted by Dave Johnson at June 14, 2010 1:05 PM


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