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Rebuttal of John T. Bennett’s and DefenseNews’ blatant lies and biased “reporting”

The leftist DefenseNews website has recently published an irredeemably biased, lying piece of “reporting” by its biased, extremely leftist anti-defense hack John T. Bennett. Titled “For Defense Sector, Americans’ Support for Military Cuts Is an Inconvenient Truth”, it falsely claims that “For Pentagon officials, defense-sector CEOs and congressional hawks, it is perhaps the most inconvenient of all truths: Most Americans want Washington to spend less on the military”, based on a Reason magazine commissioned poll which, however, does not indicate such results at all.

In other words, Bennett is making false claims based on a poll which does not back his claims up at all.

So his claim is not “a truth”, let alone “the most inconvenient of all truths”. It’s a blatant lie – i.e. Bennett’s trademark product.

Bennett continued with his lies, claiming that

“More Americans pointed to the Defense Department and wars than to any other issue when asked for their opinion about areas where Washington spends too much, according to a new poll released Jan. 30.

Twenty-one percent pointed to Pentagon and war spending, with 17 percent identifying federal-employee salaries and campaigns, states the Reason-Rupe poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Thirteen percent pointed to welfare and social programs, with the same percentage citing foreign aid.

But such data often is excluded from the kinds of breathless warnings uttered for the last 18 months by Pentagon leaders, industry executives and hawkish lawmakers about pending defense budget shrinkage.”

Yet, the poll’s actual data do not indicate anything that Bennett claims.

Firstly, 21% is not even close to being the majority, Mr Bennett. Not even close. That’s barely one-fifth of the public. Furthermore, the truth – which Bennett claims to be propagating – is not determined by popular vote. It’s determined by the facts – namely, by empirical evidence.

And the empirical evidence is that ENTITLEMENTS, not the military, are the programs Washington overspends on. According to the Heritage Foundation (see its graphs below), entitlements alone consume 62% of the total federal budget (and are on track to consume 100% by 2050), and the broader category of social/welfare spending consumes 70% of the entire federal budget.

70percentoffederalspendingissocialspending

ALC_042_3col_c

So according to empirical evidence, only 17% of Americans have identified the TRUE category of federal spending on which Washington overspends most – while 83% of Americans have failed to identify it. And it isn’t the military. (This isn’t the first time, BTW, that the majority of Americans have failed to identify the true source of America’s fiscal woes, and WaPo “fact-checker” Glenn Kessler has given the American public four Pinnochios – the worst rating you can get from him – for that failure.)

The reason is quite simple. A significant majority of Americans lives off the federal dole, i.e. most Americans draw money from at least one federal program and can’t imagine a life without a government program. So, rather than make tough personal choices and start providing for themselves and their own families, they pretend to point fingers to small budgetary items that have had little impact on the nation’s budget deficit: defense, foreign aid, etc. The vast majority of the public – as polls have consistently shown – still refuses to accept the reality that entitlements are the real drivers of America’s debt and will have to be severely curtailed if America is to have a balanced budget ever again.

Moreover, when asked specifically about defense spending – whether it should be cut or not – the poll itself says that only 49% of Americans – NOT a majority – said it should be, while 45% said it shouldn’t be, 6% are undecided, and the poll’s margin of error was 3.8 pp, as Bennett himself admits later in his screed.

49% is not a majority. Moreover, given that the poll’s own MoE is 3.8 pp, it could just as well be that 48.8% of Americans OPPOSE any defense spending cuts while only 45.2% support such measure.

Why should it be automatically assumed that the MoE favors defense cuts supporters and thus that the majority of the public supports such measures when the poll’s own MoE is so big that the opposite result could be drawn just as reasonably? Such automatic assumptions only reveal Bennett’s and DefenseNews’ bias, not any “inconvenient truth.”

Furthermore, the poll’s own results indicate that even when pressed to specify defense budget cuts, 18% of respondents still say “I don’t know how deep they should be”, 15% still say there should be no cuts at all, and 21% say these cuts should be less than 9% deep. Only 47% support cuts to the tune of 10% or more.

So by that poll’s own numbers – and by Bennett’s own admission – 53% of Americans – even when pressed to specifically name some defense budget cuts – say either “no cuts”, “I don’t know how much to cut”, or “less than 10%.”

This is consistent with National Journal polls which say that most Americans either oppose defense budget cuts or are prepared to see only modest cuts. Only a small minority, about 20% of Americans, supports deep cuts according to the National Journal.

Then there is the fact that America’s defense budget is not bloated, that deep defense budget would severely weaken the US military (all those troops, weapons, maintenance, training hours, etc. have to be paid for, remember?), that there are numerous and serious military threats to US security, and the fact that even cutting the defense budget deeply – or even eliminating it altogether – would do nothing to address the budget deficit.

defense-spending-entitlement-spending-problem-600

But that is another inconvenient truth that Bennett has deliberately left out.

Last but not least – and this is yet another inconvenient truth ignored by Bennett – America is not, and was never supposed to be, a democracy. America is a Constitutional Republic. The people are not to make policy – they are supposed to elect their Representatives and Senators who will make policy on their behalf.

The reason why such system (with election of Senators by state legislatures, BTW, not by the people) was set up by the Founding Fathers is obvious: most people are way too ignorant and too self-centered to make good policy (as the cited Reason-Rupe-Princeton Poll and numerous other polls show, the vast majority of Americans refuse to recognize that entitlements are the real drivers of America’s debt and will have to be severely curtailed). Under the original Constitution, the people were supposed to elect ONLY the House. The Senate was elected by state legislatures, and the President is chosen by electors, who were originally appointed by state legislatures, NOT elected by the people.

So, to sum up, what John T. Bennett claims is an “inconvenient truth” is not a truth at all. It’s actually a blatant propaganda lie invented by Bennett himself, who is a stridently leftist anti-defense hack and who apparently wishes to mislead the electorate into accepting deep defense cuts. In any case, he’s far from impartial (which is what a journalist should be).

In the best case scenario for Bennett, the Reason-Rupe-Princeton poll MIGHT be saying that a plurality – but by no means a majority – of Americans support some sort of defense cuts, with a deep division among those who support such measure on how much to cut, and only a minority supporting cuts to the tune of 10% or more.

But the poll has such a large MoE – 3.8 pp – that it could just as well indicate that 48.8% of Americans OPPOSE defense spending cuts and only 45.2% support such course of action.

Bennett’s piece is an utterly biased piece of “reporting.” DefenseNews should be ashamed of itself for publishing such ridiculous propaganda screed and take it down.

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