Campaigning in New Hampshire earlier this month, Mitt Romney referred to the automatic cuts in defense spending that are supposed to go into effect as a result of the failure of the so-called “Super Committee,” saying: “We cannot put America’s safety in jeopardy by virtue of the failure of this committee.” And Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), during a presidential candidates' debate in October, expressed a similar sentiment regarding military cuts: “We can’t do that to our brave men and women who are on the ground fighting for us.”
It is curious that among so many “conservatives” there is such explicit intent to preserve the size of the federal government. While it is true that the Constitution does provide authority to the legislative branch of the federal government to “provide for the common defense” of our nation, the current spending level of the Pentagon far exceeds that level necessary to carry out this constitutional mandate. Not only that, but the automatic cuts associated with the failure of the super committee are not cuts in the absolute sense, but cuts in future planned spending. Even if these cuts are made, defense spending would still increase, but not as much as otherwise.
When Congress ceded its authority to a single committee, that committee was tasked with presenting a plan to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Failure to accomplish this goal would result in a slate of “automatic cuts” in the same amount, $600 billion of which would be siphoned from future planned spending for the Department of Defense.
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Photo: Mitt Romney