Bring On The Sequester
Over at TPM Brian Beutler thinks the House Republicans won’t pass any legislation to stop the sequester because they can’t. The libertarians and conservative “foreign policy realists” don’t see this as a bad thing.
Last week in the post Real Conservative Foreign Policy I quoted Andrew Bacevich:
When it comes to foreign policy, the conservative position should promote modesty, realism, and self-sufficiency. To the maximum extent possible, Americans should “live within,” abandoning the conceit that the United States is called upon to exercise “global leadership,” which has become a euphemism for making mischief and for demanding prerogatives allowed to no other nation. Here the potential exists for conservatives to make common cause with members of the impassioned antiwar left.
Over at CATO Christopher A. Preble thinks Sequestration Is Still Better than the Alternatives:
Late last year, then-Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said of the impending sequester, “The only thing that’s worse than cutting national defense is not having any scheduled cuts at all.”
It turns out, there is something worse: no cuts, or only modest ones, far less than was called for under sequestration, and additional taxes to cover the difference. That is what we are likely to see if President Obama gets his way. In a last-minute bid to avert the spending cuts mandated under the 2011 Budget Control Act, the president on Tuesday offered a package of short-term spending cuts and tax reforms in lieu of automatic cuts. Then, on Wednesday, the White House continued its full-court stop-the-sequester press by meeting with a group of defense contractor CEOs.
But while many Republicans seem anxious to accept such a deal, the GOP should stand fast. U.S. taxpayers already spend too much on the military, in part because we expect our military to do too much. We could achieve substantial savings, at least as much as is foreseen under sequestration, if we revisit the military’s missions, and adapt our capabilities to meet new threats.
More dollars don’t equal a safer United States:
Spending is not the best measure of military effectiveness, and conservatives, especially, should know this. Some still do. A letter signed by eight different organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, and Taxpayers for Common Sense, calls for “eliminating outdated, Cold War-era weapons, cutting programs the military doesn’t even want, reforming military health care programs, and closing unneeded bases.” Such reforms, the letter concludes, “will not only save taxpayers billions, they will also make our nation stronger by helping safeguard our financial security.”
I would add that while more dollars don’t equal a safer United States they do equal more potential mischief so in fact make us less safe.
But would sequestration result in economic armegeddon? According to William Hartung of the Center For International Policy the answer is no.