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Defense Cuts Will be Required

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 13, 2013

 Lawrence Korb has impeccable credentials as a conservative who served in the Reagan administration as Assistant Defense Secretary.  He published an op-ed titled U.S. can afford $500 billion in (smart) defense cuts that proffers a view that America can significantly cuts spending on defense, but must do so in a rational manner.  Should sequestration occur, the cuts will be implemented irrationally.

Sequestration is another plague inflicted on the American people by its government.  During the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, President Obama and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives could not come to a deal on spending cuts that the Congress demanded in order to approve to the President’s requested increase the debt ceiling.  Both parties did what Washington so often does; they kick the can down the road.

The deal agreed to by the President and Congress required a certain amount of spending cuts be agreed to in the next two years or automatic government spending cuts would kick in March 1, 2013; i.e. sequestration.  The cuts would be required to all government programs except Social Security, Medicaid, certain anti-poverty programs, military pay, and the cost of ongoing wars.  In addition, while Medicare patients will not have to pay more for services, providers’ rates would automatically be cut.  All other items in the 2013 budget will be cut by 7.3%, as well as domestic discretionary programs by over 5%.

While America requires significant reduction in governmental spending, the cuts need to be implemented in a rational manner and to programs that are not productive.  However, neither the Congress nor the President are willing to give up on their pet projects or payoffs to their constituents.  As a result, reaching a deal is nearly impossible and sequestration is likely to kick in.

Lawrence Korb, agrees that the military could have $500 billion cut from its budget over the next 10 years without damaging national security, as will be required by sequestration.  However, he rightly points out that these cuts must be carefully considered and chosen.

The disconnect between the rational logic of Korb and the irrational actions of Washington are further examples of how dysfunctional our government has become.  Repairing this broken system can only be accomplished by broad and strategic actions, not tactical laws that nip at the fringes.  Appropriate actions require the imposition of term limits on the Congress/Senate and restricting the amount of money that Washington can hand out to its special interest groups.

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