With all the talk of budget austerity in response to deficit projects that are crippling over both the short and long terms, hardly anyone can be found who is willing to get specific about exactly what should be cut. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates is trying to fire the first shot, proposing cuts in the rate of growth in defense spending amounting to $78 billion over the next ten years.
As a proportion of what is needed to bring the U.S. government’s fiscal house into order, Gates’ proposal is barely a drop in the bucket. But it does breach one of the sacred walls that have historically dominated budget negotiations in Washington D.C. — military spending. Gates’ action represents a Republican (with full support of military leaders) volunteering to trim its own budget requests.
Now if only we can get the recipients of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security to join the chorus, we might have a chance. Medicare and Social Security represent the largest chunks of the federal budget and the lion’s share of both current and projected growth. The only way that the budget can ever be balanced is with entitlement reform. Those who benefit from these federal programs are going to have to cut back on their rate of growth too.
Ok. Try to stop laughing before you choke on something.