Defense Hawks and Deficit Hawks
We meet to discuss the budget under the ominously growing shadow of unprecedented debt that has literally doubled in the last eight years. With crushing debt comes ruinous interest that the CBO warns will exceed our entire military budget within the decade on our current trajectory.
The budget produced by the House Budget Committee meets our current defense demands by adding additional money in the war account, while funding that increase through a concomitant decrease in other spending. That will hold us on a trajectory to balance the budget in less than ten years and then begin paying down the unprecedented debt this administration has run up.
Unfortunately, this has met with opposition from so-called defense hawks who want the extra spending for defense and don’t want to go through the fuss and bother of paying for it. And therein lies the problem.
This is not just a one-year increase. Because it hikes defense spending without making other cuts, it changes our overall spending trajectory over the next ten years.
Here is the simple math of the matter. This adds more than $20 billion to our total spending this year and in effect repudiates the budget plan for additional reductions next year. On this new trajectory, there will be no balanced budget in ten years – even if we enacted every other reform called for in the budget and maintained all other departments within these constraints.
After ten years, we will still be running deficits of nearly $100 billion a year and interest costs will have eaten us alive.
I'm curious how the self-proclaimed defense hawks plan to defend our country when our credit is shot and our debt service is approaching a trillion dollars a year? They forget that in the spring of 1945, carrying a debt proportional to the one we have today, there was serious doubt whether we could continue to conduct the war for another year.
When he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullin warned that in his professional MILITARY judgment, the greatest threat to our national security is the national debt. He made that warning five years and 4 ½ TRILLION dollars of debt ago.
History warns us that countries that bankrupt themselves aren’t around very long, because before you can provide for the common defense, you have to be able to pay for it, and the ability of our nation to do so is coming into grave doubt. This budget offers us a very narrow path out of debt while continuing to fund our military at the requested levels, and its adoption – intact – is indispensable both to our short term AND long term defense needs.
Mr. Speaker, we have a stark choice before us: pay for needed increases in defense by reducing other spending or refuse to pay for those increases and sacrifice the long-term security and prosperity of our country on the altar of instant gratification.
Among the most chilling words in history are attributed to Louis XV – “After us, the flood.” Let that not be the epitaph of this Congress.