Sequestration is, we can agree, the chainsaw approach to budget cutting. But what if also finally right-sizes the bloated Defense budget?
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein argues stakes out a liberal defense of the sequester’s Defense cuts, noting the $500 billion cut amounts to the so-called “peace dividend” that shrunk military spending after each military conflict since the Korean War.
There’s an argument to be made that the end of the Iraq War, and pending withdrawal from Afghanistan, are poor equivalents to prior military conflicts. But the era of the United States as the world’s policeman is clearly over. Shouldn’t the budget reflect the draw-down of the war on terror? Then the sequester’s cuts – as ham-fisted and mindless as they are – suggest how deep we could go, based on history.
Military spending – $729 billion in 2012, more than what’s spent on Medicare – amounts to 20 percent of the federal budget. Good investigative reporting, such as this Bloomberg report on Lockheed Martin’s flawed F-35 fighter, suggests a no-project-left-behind approach.
Take a look at the Post’s great chart gallery of mammoth Defense spending, including this chart comparing the U.S. military budget with other leading world powers, and tell me there’s no cuts to be made there.