Mitt Romney has made the prevention of President Barack Obama’s sequestration plan one of his primary campaign talking points. He’s probably done this for two reasons: it plays well with voters in Virginia and veterans, but it also helps with those who want the U.S. to have the strongest military possible.
There’s nothing wrong with the U.S. having a strong military; the Constitution says the country must be able to defend its borders. However, the country is dealing with $16-trillion in debt which means some cuts have to happen. It’s here where Romney is wrong on an increase in defense spending.
For the sake of America’s financial future, there have to be cuts to defense and changes to how the Pentagon doles out cash. Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz wants the State Department to start prioritizing spending. The Defense Department needs to do this as well. The way to figure this out is through Senator Rand Paul’s suggested audit of the Pentagon.
The best example of how wasteful the Pentagon can be is a look at military auctions websites. Listings include a stroller, weights, a driving simulator, a Piper Arrow IV aircraft, a Vantage Motor Scooter and a 1978 Corvette. The weights make sense because soldiers need to be in shape. The driver simulator makes sense as well, because it’s cheaper to use a simulator than wreck a vehicle. But having a motor scooter or a Corvette in our military inventory makes zero sense whatsoever. Here is where cuts help the military prioritize spending and eliminate waste.
There can also be reforms into how military contracts are handed out. Citizens Against Government Waste has done an excellent job at pointing out some of the problems, including analysis on defense issues (anyone remember the $640 toilet seat?).
Just because spending cuts happen doesn’t mean the U.S. military can’t recoup some of the money lost. The simplest way is to go through some of the surplus warehouses, find things which are valuable and sell them. Michelle Ray has told the story of how someone she knows made a 200% profit minimum by stripping the copper from spools of wire and selling it. If private citizens can do this, why can’t the military?
The military could also save money by selling aircraft and weapons it doesn’t use. Obviously there are concerns about Iran getting a hold of some technology; however, completely scrapping the entire F-14 Tomcat fleet in 2006 makes zero sense. The sale of the airplanes to Israel or Brazil or Taiwan would help offset some of the cuts. A similar solution could be devised for our fleet at sea.
Military cuts don’t have to mean gutting the armed forces. Senator Pat Toomey has proposed a plan which reduces spending in all areas and yet still makes sure the military is strong. A strong military ensures the country can defend itself from foreign threats the natural borders with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans can’t. It also makes sure our bases and embassies across the globe are protected from threats.
But as former Joint Chief of Staff chair Admiral Mike Mullen has said, the national debt is the greatest threat the U.S. has. Spending and the growth of government need to be stopped.
This means no sacred cows. Not if there’s going to be a financial future for the U.S.
**A CDN reader sent us a response to this article in which he disagreed with the author – you can see the response HERE.