David Ignatius’ latest column “How debt imperils national security” could not get the issue of spending and national security more wrong. He starts off fine asserting that there is “consensus among national security experts inside and outside the Obama administration: To play an effective role in the world, the United States must rebuild its economic strength at home.”
Of course, screwing up the economy undermines national security. But Ignatius goes on to laud Defense Secretary Gates for declaring that “Congress must stop shoveling money at the military.” As if military spending is responsible for America’s fiscal mess.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Defense spending is less than a fifth of the federal budget (it used to be half). The US spends far less on defense (as a percentage of GDP) than it did during the Cold War. What has changed is out of control domestic spending.
Instead of addressing these realities Ignatius joins those who believe America cannot afford to defend itself. Cutting funding for the men and women who provide for the common defense will not balance our budget.
There is a better way to win The Long War: reigning in runaway entitlements, rescinding failed stimulus funding, ending domestic programs that are more about buying votes than delivering government services.