Romney Tows the GOP Line on Defense Spending

At the same time Mitt Romney campaigns as Mr. Fiscal Responsibility, out of the other side of his mouth comes the plan to tie military spending to gross domestic product, 4% of GDP to be exact. According to CNN,

“Compared to the Pentagon’s current budget, Romney’s plan would lead to $2.1 trillion in additional spending over the next ten years, according to an analysis conducted for CNNMoney by Travis Sharp, a budget expert at the Center for a New American Security.

…that number assumes a gradual increase to 4% of GDP. The additional spending would hit $2.3 trillion over a decade if the Pentagon’s budget were to immediately jump to 4% of GDP.”

Romney states,

“We cannot rebuild our military strength without paying for it.”

But our current military budget is already

“…more than double the combined levels of military spending by China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany…”

But Romney is the GOP’s default nominee, so he has to do what the party tells him to do, and according to the Republican House, we’re still not spending enough.

“The House Armed Services Committee on Thursday overwhelmingly backed a $642 billion defense bill…

Despite the clamor for fiscal discipline, the committee crafted a military spending blueprint that’s $8 billion more than the level President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to last summer in the deficit-cutting law.

…the committee backed construction of a missile defense site on the East Coast, rejecting Pentagon arguments that the facility is unnecessary

Gen. Charles Jacoby, the head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Congress earlier this year, “Today’s threats do not require an East Coast missile field…”

But Congressional concerns are more about maintaining pet projects and keeping the powerful defense sector happy than some General’s opinion. According to the Center For Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets:

“The [defense] sector …has a formidable federal lobbying presence, having spent $136.5 million in 2009 — down from a high of $150.8 million the previous year. In 2009, more than 1,100 lobbyists represented nearly 400 clients. The amount spent on defense lobbying and the number of lobbyists has steadily increased during the last two decades.

The main issue for the defense sector is securing government defense contracts and earmarks – they are often quite lucrative — and influencing the defense budget. Sector favorites include House and Senate members who sit on the armed forces and appropriations committees that oversee military and defense spending.”

For example:

“Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)…who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, placed holds on dozens of President Barack Obama’s appointments in early 2010 to protest cuts in certain Air Force contracts. Shelby received nearly half a million dollars from the defense sector during the 2008 campaign cycle, and he has received $1.3 million during his career.”

Now as the GOP’s puppet, Romney will fall right in line with the Republicans in Congress who have pushed for the 4% idea. But as CNN has reported,

“…some analysts questioned the wisdom of tying military spending to economic production.

“GDP rises and falls. Do you really want your defense budget falling in a recession?” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

“Spending should be determined by the security environment — not the size of your economy,” he suggested.”

In a ridiculous justification for his proposal for defense spending,

“…Romney frequently says that the Navy has fewer ships now than in 1917, and that the Air Force is smaller than any time since 1947. The additional funding would provide funds to bolster the fleets…”

The anecdote is largely dismissed by military experts as irrelevant, since today’s Navy and Air Force are the most advanced and versatile on the planet.”

As for fiscal responsibility, Romney’s plans thus far include

“…a slew of tax cuts, and plans to cap federal spending at 20% of GDP. But in both cases, the Romney campaign hasn’t fully explained how those provisions will be paid for.

The lack of detail means that Romney’s claim of moving toward a balanced budget requires a great deal of trust.”

Unfortunately, that’s a word many people don’t associate with Mitt Romney.

This entry was posted in Campaigns, Congress, Corporations, Debt and Budget, Election, Government, Military Matters, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans, Security and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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