Obama hopes to use deficit-reduction legislation to further advance his Big Government objectives. He gave his blessing and his signature to a legislative package last week to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by an astonishing $2 trillion. The measure contains a mechanism for a new congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the “Super Congress.” That gimmicky committee will reportedly be tasked with coming up with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by November 23.
Given the powerful disinclination of the regular Congress to curtail entitlement spending, it seems unlikely a joint congressional committee, even a super one, will make an effort to reduce spending on the real culprits: entitlement programs and welfare programs.
Military spending is a relative pittance compared to social spending. The Department of Defense budget for fiscal 2010 was $689 billion, or about 20% of the entire $3.456 trillion federal budget.
Medicare and Medicaid together account for $793 billion or 23% of the budget. Social Security swallows up $701 billion or 20%. And that’s just in one year. Unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities currently total $46.2 trillion and no one really knows for certain how much money Obamacare will cost.
As I note in my book, Subversion Inc., by 2014 annual spending on the federal government’s bloated 70 welfare programs is expected to hit $1 trillion. Obama’s plans call for spending another $10 trillion on welfare, according to an analysis by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. It’s worth noting that the $10 trillion is over and above the $16 trillion that has already been spent on the doomed War on Poverty since it was launched.
Few serious commentators think the select committee will target social spending. The panel will surely wimp out, and when it does, the Defense Department will suffer a $350 billion hit immediately, followed by another cut of perhaps $500 billion in the not-too-distant future.
Even Obama’s incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is opposed to making the Pentagon a fiscal whipping boy.
“National security didn’t cause the debt crisis nor will it solve it,” Army General Martin Dempsey said at his confirmation hearing last month. He’s right.
Even if the so-called doves are correct in saying the defense budget needs to be cut, such spending reductions should come one day when America is not fighting three wars on two continents.
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