Money & The Economy

Rebuttal of POLITICO’s and liberal Republicans’ false claims

On December 12th, the leftist POLITICO magazine published a litany of blatant lies about defense spending and conservatism, a screed that gushed over pro-defense cuts Republicans such as Mick Mulvaney (RINO-SC). The author was Kate Nocera.

The article opens with the false claim that:

“It’s been an article of faith for the GOP: Thou shalt not cut defense spending.

But with the sequester threatening to slash hundreds of billions from the Pentagon budget, a surprising number of Republicans are ready to violate that commandment.”

The first part of this is patently false. Republicans have never had such an article of faith or commandment – it has never been an official party policy or the official policy of a majority of Congressional Republicans or a GOP Administration. In fact, Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford all cut defense spending deeply, and during the 1980s and the 1990s, Congressional Republicans joined the Democrats in cutting defense spending, with cuts continuing until FY1999.

The GOP has never had such an “article of faith” or “commandment”.

Nocera further writes that:

“This new generation of conservatives in Congress, freed from the ideologies of the Cold War and Reagan-era defense buildups, is pushing Republicans to buck their tradition and put defense on the chopping block in pursuit of a truly smaller federal government.”

Ah, the dastardly “ideologies of the Cold War and Reagan-era defense buildups”… which won the Cold War without firing a shot! Nocera thinks it’s so good that these RINOs are “freed” from these “ideologies” and from the GOP’s former strong-defense policies.

I said RINOs, because that’s whom they really are. If you support deep cuts in America’s defense, you are NOT a conservative regardless of what your opinions on other issues are. You can be the staunchest pro-lifer and the most ardent fiscal hawk and it doesn’t matter if you support massive defense cuts, as these RINO do.

Furthermore, deep defense cuts would do NOTHING to advance the cause of “a truly smaller federal government”. All they would do would be gutting America’s defense. Defense spending is not a threat to small government; entitlement spending and other unconstitutional federal programs, including domestic discretionary programs, are. The vast majority of them are unconstitutional, and entitlements alone account for 62% of all federal spending.

Nocera says that “Mulvaney has been outspoken about the need to find savings in the defense budget” and then uncritically quotes RINO Congressman Mick Mulvaney (whom she falsely calls “one of the most conservative members of the House) as saying:

“If we don’t take defense spending seriously, it undermines our credibility on other spending issues. When we speak candidly about a spending problem and we then seek to puff up the defense budget and it leads people to believe that we aren’t taking the problem seriously.”

But that is utter garbage. Firstly, the Defense Department has already contributed $900 bn to deficit reduction (through the massive program killings of 2009 and 2010, the Gates Efficiencies Initiative, and the $487 bn first tranche of BCA-mandated defense cuts, announced in January 2012 by Sec. Panetta), while no other federal agency or program has contributed ANYTHING meaningful to that goal. Secondly, Republicans do NOT have to agree to significant defense cuts to have credibility on “other spending issues”, because  government programs and agencies are NOT equally important and equally lawful. Defense is the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government, while the vast majority of federal agencies and programs are unconstitutional.

Thirdly, a prudent budgeter does not cut spending across the board without looking at what he’s cutting. A prudent budgeter sets priorities, funds them fully, and cuts back on all nonpriorities.

Fourthly, it is ridiculous, unconservative, and dangerous for national security to deeply cut defense spending just to “prove” to the public that you’re serious about cutting government spending.

Nocera further writes that:

“In an op-ed in the Arizona Republic, Gosar argued that Congress needs to let the sequester cuts go through.

“We either have a spending problem or we don’t,” Gosar said in an interview. “Going back to the military budget of 2009 — we’re still going to have the biggest military in the world. If we can’t go over this bump, we’ll never be able to get anything big done.”

“A little pain allows the medicine to go down,” the former dentist added. “We’ll at least be treating the problem in order for us to get well again.””

Again, those are blatant lies. Firstly, as already proven on this website months ago, sequestration would actually take defense spending back to its FY2003 level, not the level of FY2009. In FY2003, China’s and Russia’s military buildups were only in their early stages, and the world was not nearly as dangerous as it is today. Secondly, the US does not have the largest military in the world (China does) or the largest nuclear arsenal in the world (Russia does), and if sequestration kicks in, the size of the military will be significantly cut. Thirdly, while America does have a spending problem, it is NOT because of defense spending. Fourthly, sequestration would not be a mere “bump” or “a litle pain” – it would be a 31% cut in defense spending, almost as deep as the cuts that followed the end of the Vietnam and Cold Wars. It would cut defense spending down to $469 bn in January and keep it below $500 bn (and well below today’s level) for the remainder of the sequestration decade. Fifth, the idea that if we don’t cut defense spending, we’ll never be able to get anything big done is ridiculous and false. Defense spending is NOT the cause of America’s fiscal woes. Congress needs to cut the REAL source of these fiscal woes – entitlements – not defense spending (which has already been cut).

Georgia Congressman Austin Scott, for his part, falsely claims that:

“The problem with the sequester is not the cuts, but how the cuts are made. It cuts things that are not necessary at the same level it cuts things that quite honestly are necessary.”No, Congressman. The problem with sequestration is BOTH the depth of the cuts AND the way these cuts would be made. This is because the cuts would be so deep that there wouldn’t be nearly enough money for training, operations, the maintenance of existing equipment and bases, and the development and acquisition of new equipment. See here.

Kate Nocera further falsely claims that:

“Amash, whose outlook on foreign policy is decidedly more libertarian, called his party’s unwillingness to even look at cutting defense spending “frightening.”

“I think they are willing to raise taxes to avoid defense cuts. I think they are willing to take really bad deals to avoid defense cuts,” he said at a Heritage Foundation event last week. “I’m not calling for some massive reduction in defense spending … but they aren’t even willing to look at reducing it to George W. Bush levels.”

“A party that’s not even willing to look at that, that’s a frightening scenario,” he added.”

But those are blatant lies. Firstly, the GOP is, and has been, more than willing to look at defense spending: it has already agreed to massive defense cuts. It agreed to the killing of over 50 crucial weapon programs (including the F-22, the MKV, the KEI, the Airborne Laser, the Zumwalt class, the C-17, the CGX cruiser class, etc.) in 2009 and 2010, to ratify the New START unilateral nuclear cuts treaty, to Sec. Gates’ Efficiencies Initiative (worth $178 bn), and to the first tranche of defense cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act ($487 bn).

Furthermore, during the current negotiations with President Obama and Congressional Democrats, GOP leaders, including Speaker Boehner, have refused to rule out further defense cuts, as reported by DefenseNews. Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are also okay with further defense cuts as long as the Iranian threat is eliminated.

Any claim that the GOP is unwilling to even look at cutting defense spending is a blatant lie, and those who are spreading it are children of the Father of Lies himself.

And Amash, despite his pious denials, IS calling for a massive reduction in defense spending. As Nocera’s own article admits, he supports sequestration (which would be a massive, 31% cut) and the massive defense cuts proposed by leftist think-tanks such as the PDA, the Soros-funded CATO Institute, and the Soros-funded POGO. Cuts which would be targeted at the muscle and bone of the US military, not at waste (e.g. deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent and in the US Navy’s ship fleet).

Furthermore, sequestration WOULD set defense spending back to “George W. Bush levels” – specifically, to the EARLY Bush levels of FY2003. If the FY2009 level ($512 bn in CY2009 dollars, i.e. $552.05 bn in CY2012 dollars) is what Congressman Amash meant, here’s some newsflash: the first tranche of BCA-mandated defense cuts will bring defense spending down to $521 bn, well BELOW its FY2009 level.

“Amash was one of a quartet of House Republican lawmakers removed from committees for going against their leadership. He remarked at the Heritage event that he thinks a key similarity he shares with the other booted members is their “positions on military spending that are a little more open to compromise.””

“A little more open to compromise” is a huge understatement. Amash, as stated above, supports deep, reckless defense cuts: sequestration (as documented by Nocera’s own article) and the deep cuts proposed by leftist think-tanks such as the Soros-funded CATO Institute and POGO and the Massachusetts-based, Barney-Frank-supported PDA. Amash simply spits on the Constitution and on America’s defense, and he supports deep, reckless defense cuts. If that is why he was booted from the Budget Committee, Boehner was right to boot him.

“Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who voted for the debt deal that eventually led to the sequester, said cuts must be made to the mandatory side of the ledger as well as to the Pentagon “to make a long-term impact” on the debt.”

Actually, defense cuts DON’T have to be made to “make a long-term impact on the debt”. The budget can be balanced without defense cuts, as proven by the budget proposals of Chairman Ryan, the Republican Study Committee, Sen. Toomey, and Sen. Lee. Furthermore, even deep defense cuts would make no short- or long-term impact on the debt, because defense spending is just a small part of the federal budget. To make any impact on the debt, one has to cut ENTITLEMENTS.

Nocera’s article is a litany of blatant lies – some of which are hers, some of which were made by the RINOs she uncritically quotes. Shame on her and them for lying so blatantly.

One piece of good news is that at least Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA), a staunch conservative who, like me, supports abolishing the Education Department and the EPA, opposes any further defense cuts:

“Defense cuts are going to be tragic for our national security. … We’re cutting our defense into muscle and bone. We need to be building up our military and not cutting it.”

Finally, a voice of reason.

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