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Cut Defense Before Raising Taxes (The Supercommittee backs budget hawks into a corner)
National Review ^ | 09/14/2011 | Michael Tanner

Posted on 09/14/2011 6:43:18 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Lost amid all the hoopla last week about President Obama’s latest stimulus bill and the Republican primary dustup over whether Social Security is a Ponzi scheme was the news that the bipartisan “supercommittee” has begun its work trying to find at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. Anyone who cares about low taxes, limited government, and economic growth should be paying close attention.

That’s because the initial signs are not encouraging.

The supercommittee is, of course, the bastard child of this summer’s deal to raise the debt ceiling. Equally divided between senators and congressmen, Democrats and Republicans, the supercommittee is supposed to come up with a plan to reduce spending or increase taxes in order to reduce our national debt.

Democrats are pushing for tax hikes. A leaked memo from supercommittee documents includes proposals for a 5.4 percent surtax on families earning $1 million or more, an increase in the estate tax, and the usual hodgepodge of taxes on oil companies, hedge-fund managers, corporate-jet owners, and others who have drawn the Democrats’ ire.

It takes just seven votes to send the committee’s recommendations to the floor, so if just one of the Republicans jumps ship, then the Democrats’ tax hike will head to the House and Senate, where it will receive a vote under expedited procedures. And there is considerable reason to worry about whether Republicans are prepared to hold firm.

So far, Republicans have been bending over backwards to insist that all ideas are on the table. “I don’t want to rule anything in or out,” says Rep. David Camp (R., Mich.), who in addition to being a supercommittee member is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Supercommittee member Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.) has said that he will join Democrats in opposing any effort to cut entitlements, including raising the retirement age for Medicare or Social Security. Upton says that, while he leans against raising tax rates, he is open to “closing loopholes.” Other Republicans have shown an interest in reviving the so-called grand bargain reportedly pursued by President Obama and Speaker Boehner. That deal, which would go well beyond the supercommittee’s $1.5 trillion in targeted cuts, included some $800 billion in higher taxes.

The Republican muddle is compounded by the fact that, if the supercommittee fails to reach an agreement, there will be automatic cuts of about $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, roughly $564 billion of which will come from defense, homeland security, and the State Department. Last week, Rep. Howard McKeon (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Daily Beast that he would support a tax increase rather than accept any further cuts in defense spending. McKeon is not a supercommittee member, but his remarks reflect the pressure from Republican hawks and defense contractors now being brought to bear.

This position seems remarkably shortsighted. First, the sequester would not go into effect until 2013, leaving Republicans with plenty of time to change the mix of domestic and defense cuts after the 2012 elections. But even if the cuts were to occur, they amount to just a bit more than 8 percent of expected defense spending over the next decade. With the U.S. spending more on its military than the rest of the world combined, does anyone really believe that if we stop protecting Germany from a Russian invasion, cancel weapon systems that don’t work, or reduce the number of generals and admirals populating the Pentagon, that al-Qaeda will come swarming across our border?

On the other hand, if we fail to revive our economy, that really does represent a threat to our national security. And the massive tax hikes envisioned by supercommittee Democrats would be devastating for future economic growth. Republicans are facing a difficult choice. If we are ever to seriously cut the deficit and reduce our crushing national debt, 20 percent of the federal budget cannot be permanently kept off the table. After all, a poorer America is not a more secure America.

With the supercommittee’s November 23 deadline just two months away, Republicans had better figure out what their position is. Otherwise, we should get ready for higher taxes.

— Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: biggovernment; bigmilitary; defense; lping; supercommittee; taxes; taxincrease; wot

1 posted on 09/14/2011 6:43:27 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Everyone’s sacred cows must be hit or nothing will get done.

that being said, nothing consequential will get done.

2 posted on 09/14/2011 6:48:34 AM PDT by WOBBLY BOB (My mind is like a steel trap: rusty and illegal in 37 states.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Since defense is specifically enumerated in the Constitution, it shouldn't be lumped in with all the other non-Constitutional crap that the Federal government spends our money on. Once all the non-Constitutional spending has been eliminated, then we can talk about cutting defense.

Just my 2 cents.

3 posted on 09/14/2011 6:51:41 AM PDT by whd23 (Every time a link is de-blogged an angel gets its wings.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Boy, I never saw that one coming.


4 posted on 09/14/2011 7:02:34 AM PDT by snowrip (Liberal? You are a socialist idiot with no rational argument.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Because the economic threat to America is far greater than that posed by some Muslim hotheads who want to murder us, I suggest that military spending be reined in by an arbitrary 10%.

Find the cuts. No organization can’t do that.

It may be that we can’t afford to bankrupt our nation even for military efforts that are honorable and well-intentioned.


5 posted on 09/14/2011 7:04:16 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Are you better off now than you were four trillion dollars ago?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Boy, I never saw that one coming.

Also, a big Thanks to Boner for caving on ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING while allowing the creating of the latest Gang Rape of 12, or whatever they are calling this utter lunacy of a committee.


6 posted on 09/14/2011 7:04:17 AM PDT by snowrip (Liberal? You are a socialist idiot with no rational argument.)
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To: Beelzebubba
there will be automatic cuts of about $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, roughly $564 billion of which will come from defense, homeland security, and the State Department.

That works out to $56.4B per year out of State, Defense and DHS. Does anyone here think that between those three bloated organizations slicing off a few pounds of belly-fat would not be therapeutic?

7 posted on 09/14/2011 7:19:53 AM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: WOBBLY BOB

Defense is already poised to take a cut. Some things should remain sacred.


8 posted on 09/14/2011 7:32:46 AM PDT by Protoss
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To: SeekAndFind

I think they should look at Defense....right after they lay off 500,000 federal GS employees. Oh, and after they cut welfare and unemployment.


9 posted on 09/14/2011 8:04:31 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: SeekAndFind

The only way you’ll know if you’re actually doing any good is if the Democrats and the old media start screaming.


10 posted on 09/14/2011 8:05:55 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Protoss

Defense is already poised to take a cut. Some things should remain sacred.


A real cut, or a fake cut that makes the budget less than it would have been if it grew fast? or a cut that hold the budget at an all-time high while we are fighting multiple “wars”?

God is sacred. Government isn’t. Military is government.


11 posted on 09/14/2011 8:55:42 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Are you better off now than you were four trillion dollars ago?)
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To: whd23

“Since defense is specifically enumerated in the Constitution, it shouldn’t be lumped in with all the other non-Constitutional crap that the Federal government spends our money on. Once all the non-Constitutional spending has been eliminated, then we can talk about cutting defense.”

Especially since 85% of fedgov is unconstitutional.


12 posted on 09/14/2011 8:57:28 AM PDT by SVTCobra03 (You can never have enough friends, horsepower or ammunition.)
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To: Beelzebubba

The Constitution is sacred. According to the Constitution, the government will provide for the defense of the nation. With the world economy crashing down, threats will continue to emerge, and we must be able to deal with them. And, we can afford it, if we are smart where we spend money.


13 posted on 09/15/2011 11:07:18 AM PDT by Protoss
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To: whd23; Abathar; Abcdefg; Abram; Abundy; albertp; Alexander Rubin; Allosaurs_r_us; amchugh; ...
Since defense is specifically enumerated in the Constitution...

You're right, the Federal government's role to provide for "a common defense" is specifically noted in the Constitution.

However...

Let's not confuse spending for the Big Military™ arm of Big Government™ with spending for genuine defense. They are not the same.

Let's also remember that on 9/11, despite the official narrative, the real first responders were not in fact government employees but ordinary men and women, young and old, private citizens - like Rick Rescorla in the World Trade Center and the passengers of UAL 93 over the skies of western Pennsylvania - who saved thousands of their fellow citizens' lives by acting decisively, selflessly, and courageously on that clear early autumn day in 2001.

Libertarian ping! Click here to get added or here to be removed or post a message here!

View past Libertarian pings here

14 posted on 09/17/2011 8:24:50 AM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Live Free or Die)
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To: Protoss; Beelzebubba
According to the Constitution, the government will provide for the defense of the nation.

The government can not provide anything that was not originally taken from you.

15 posted on 09/17/2011 8:28:42 AM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Live Free or Die)
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To: SeekAndFind

i’ve often wondered

what are our legitimate defense needs?

does “conservative” = council on foreign relations?


16 posted on 09/17/2011 8:31:21 AM PDT by ken21 (ruling class dem + rino progressives -- destroying america for 150 years.)
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To: rabscuttle385; All
Is that photo from the ill-fated UAL93 before it crashed? (If so, it's the first I've seen anything like it.)
17 posted on 09/17/2011 8:38:09 AM PDT by justiceseeker93
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To: whd23

Bingo!

I agree wholeheartedly.


18 posted on 09/17/2011 8:42:59 AM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: Beelzebubba
Find the cuts.

Well, that's easy. Pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. The spending on these two wars is more than the 10% you reference.

That said, they aren't listed in the defense budget, but as an additional line item in the federal budget. So would you consider that the 10% cut or not?

19 posted on 09/17/2011 8:45:53 AM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: rabscuttle385

We need to remember that in the case of Defense, their budget is a direct representation of the cost to do whatever mission the President has said he wants the military to do.

So, that means if we want to pay less for our defense, we need to have a national discussion over what we no longer want to defend. Shall we abandon South Korea or Germany or Japan or England? If we do, then we no longer have to pay for the bases, the operating costs, the personnel, the military moves, the equipment, etc, etc, etc.

Shall we no longer be the protector of the world’s shipping lanes? That would drastically reduce the number of Naval carrier groups we need to field. That’s a lot of personnel and equipment that we have to pay for right there.

What is really being discussed, however, is demanding that the US military keep on meeting the ever increasing demands that the President and public request... but for less and less money. And that’s been going on since the end of the cold war.


20 posted on 09/17/2011 8:59:51 AM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: justiceseeker93
It's from the movie. There are no pictures from the actual flight.
21 posted on 09/17/2011 9:31:57 AM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Live Free or Die)
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To: rabscuttle385

B T T T


22 posted on 09/17/2011 9:30:30 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: rabscuttle385

****Let’s not confuse spending for the Big Military™ arm of Big Government™ with spending for genuine defense.

Amen. A decade of military service has definitely taught me the sheer preponderance of waste in the DoD.


23 posted on 09/19/2011 10:21:44 AM PDT by jjm2111
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