Here’s a letter to USA Today:
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) complains that Pres. Obama wants to cut $400 billion from the Pentagon’s budget over the course of 12 years; Mr. McKeon calls this sum “jaw-dropping” (“Obama cuts would gut U.S. defense,” April 28).
Perhaps Rep. McKeon will jack his jaw up off the floor when he recognizes that $400 billion in cuts spread over a dozen years amounts to an average annual cut of only $33.33 billion, or 3.7 percent of the Pentagon’s annual budget.
And if that fact doesn’t suffice to keep Rep. McKeon’s jaw from dragging, perhaps this fact will: Pres. Obama’s proposed “cut” amounts to being a proposal only to prevent the Pentagon from getting automatic increases in its baseline budget (although it will still get increases to adjust for inflation). As Reason.com’s Shikha Dalmia says, “In a sane world this would be considered lame, not radical, especially since the Pentagon’s core budget has doubled since 9/11.”
But politics – as practiced by conservatives no less than by “liberals” – is fundamentally insane.
Donald J. Boudreaux