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Republican Defense Cuts


Friday, February 22, 2013

I have been on the staff of three Democratic presidential campaigns, beginning when I left UCSB for a year to first volunteer and then work for the McGovern campaign. (Isla Vista had one of the largest percentages in the country for George McGovern, by the way.) I have seen the Department of Defense budget grow since that time from $77 billion to $633 billion. (As a point of comparison, the budget of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grew from $25 billion in 1972 to $940 billion in 2013. So you can’t say that we have been spending more on military than social services.)

Now, for the first time in 40 years, Congress will apparently – unless a last minute, death-defying deal is cut – be drastically lowering defense spending through a process called sequestration. (Interesting etymology, where a term for seizing an asset until a debt is paid is used to describe the practice of mandatory spending cuts in the cost of running the government.) Regardless of the political rationale, or self-destructive adherence to a cause, this is the first time that the Pentagon budget is going to be cut since 1973. For that, I have to say to the Republicans in the House of Representatives, “Right on!”

I doubt that you will succeed. When you start hearing from the the defense contractors that are seeded in every Congressional district, not to mention the military bases which will not be able to pay for local services, all your gerrymandered safe-seats will seem like the the static defenses that failed to protect France at the beginning of World War II.

You will fold and the war machine will roll over you. But I appreciate your trying.

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