We Cannot Afford $2 Trillion Increase in Military Spending

During Wednesday night’s presidential debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney disputed over the military budget.  Obama accused Romney of supporting “$2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn’t asked for.” Instead of denying the repeated claim, Romney asserted that “I do not believe in cutting our military.”

By refusing to cut military spending, Mitt Romney just took about 19 percent of  federal government spending off the table. The pie chart below produced by the Cato Institute’s Downsizing the Federal Government project shows that Pentagon spending is a large chunk of the federal budget: 

 As the American Conservative’s Jack Hunter writes in his recent column, it will be impossible to balance the federal budget with a $2 trillion increase in military spending. Of course, no one is advocating that the troops shouldn’t be properly paid. He goes on to say:

If our soldiers are not paid enough, do not receive proper benefits, or do not have necessary weapons or essentials it is not because we don’t spend enough on the military. We currently spend more on our military than we ever have—and most of that money goes to fund a massive bureaucracy that has little to do with our actual defense.

At a time when the official U.S. national debt has surpassed $16 trillion, it is time to put all federal spending on the table. More military spending won’t necessarily make us any safer. Hunter further writes that:

America’s youth aren’t better educated isn’t because we don’t spend enough on education. Conservatives rightly understand this government dynamic when it comes to agencies like the Department of Education. They need to start understanding it when it comes to the Department of Defense.

Jack Hunter is exactly right. We need more serious Republicans who are willing to eliminate unnecessary items in the Pentagon budget. It’s good policy and good politics as over 74 percent of the American people favor cutting the Pentagon’s budget.