Neocons’ Con

by Don Boudreaux on April 28, 2011

in Budget Issues, Business as usual, Crony Capitalism, Current Affairs, Other People's Money

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’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


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