24 June 2011
The nominee to replace Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, told a Senate committee yesterday that the Defense budget "is by no means the cause of the huge deficits we are incurring today." he's wrong. How can a department that eats up more than 58% of all the nation's discretionary spending not be a big cause of the national deficit? No other country in the world spends even half as much as the United States does on its military. Is it any wonder that there's not enough money left to help hurting Americans without increasing the deficit? The military budget is a bloated budget-buster and needs to be sharply reduced.
And don't give me that tired old Republican argument about Social Security and Medicare being the budget busters. Those programs are not paid for with income tax revenue (like the above programs, including the military) and are not a part of discretionary spending. They are paid through payroll taxes (like FICA), and any fiscal problems they have could be easily fixed by raising or abolishing the cap on the amount of income subject to those taxes (a move that would not affect the amount paid by working or middle class wage earners at all -- but just make high-income earners pay the same percentage as everyone else).
The chart above was taken from the pages of Think Progress.