Dumbest Argument Against the Debt Deal


I think the debt limit deal reached by Obama and the GOP leadership is a pretty bad one by any measure. But this is the single dumbest argument against that deal, that it will result in cuts to defense spending that will weaken the country.

♦ FY12: Freeze enacted at $530B, based on FY11. That’s $13B below the House appropriations level, and $23B below the Ryan budget, which (incidentally) was the same as Obama’s original budget.

Could have been worse—but to be cutting defense for next year by 4 percent from an Obama budget proposal that Robert Gates thought barely tolerable isn’t good.

♦ First tranche of long-term cuts: Continues the freeze, adding up to about $350B in cuts over the ten-year period.


OMG! A 4 percent cut in our defense budget? $350 billion cut over ten years? Why, that might drop America’s percentage of the world’s defense spending from 48% to, like, 46%! Yes, the U.S. spends 48% of all the world’s military spending. Our NATO allies spend another 18%. China only spends 6.5%. Here’s a chart from the Cato Institute with those figures:

And yet here’s Bill Kristol’s crazy conclusion:

1. If this deal governs policy for the next decade, it will be hard for the U.S. to remain the sole superpower.

2. This is the best day the Chinese have ever had.

3. This deal embodies a vision of America in decline.

Yeah, I feel so vulnerable to those “deep” cuts in defense spending. Why, we might have to invade one less country full of dark-skinned people that hasn’t done anything to us in the next decade. What a tragedy.

Comments

  1. John Hinkle says

    That side business Kristol has of running arms will probably see a dent in its margins… over the next 10 years. Poor baby.

  2. Chiroptera says

    Kristol: If this deal governs policy for the next decade, it will be hard for the U.S. to remain the sole superpower.

    Actually, that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me.

  3. Aquaria says

    Whew. Site back up. Thanks goodness.

    Now for the post:

    1) Does the pie chart reflect the $ amounts on or off the books?

    2) Funny, I read somewhere that the DoD generals have all said they could have a 15% reduction in spending, and not have it affect operational readiness. I’ll have to dig up where I got that number, but I distinctly remember seeing it.

    These chickenhawks are, as always, lying scumbags.

  4. MikeMa says

    The same Bill Kristol who pushed moose barbie on us? Consistently wrong about everything: Bill Kristol. If he doesn’t like cuts we should immediately cut more. His record will guarantee success to any project he dislikes.

  5. Ben P says

    The same Bill Kristol who pushed moose barbie on us?

    As much as I really dislike Palin, I can forgive Kristol for that. From his end it was a political strategy like any other. I think his primary miscalculation is that he didn’t look before he leaped.

    Think back to the summer of 2008. Obama had effectively put Hillary away in May and was building up a full head of steam going up to the democratic convention.

    I think by that point Polling was pretty clear that a standard republican ticket (McCain + Slightly less old white guy) would get steamrolled. So Kristol (and others) knew that if they were going to pull it out, the Republicans needed a game changer, something not only to excite the base but potentially steal votes.

    Someone like Liebermann might have stolen votes from the dems, would the republican base would have been even less excited. Kristol’s bet was by picking up a hardcore conservative woman they could steal both the disaffected “hillary” demographic and excite the base.

  6. Ben P says

    On the debt ceiling issue itself, I’ve talked to a couple of wingnuts that are just losing it now.

    For an example, see this Volokh Conspiracy Thread

    As is almost always the case at Volokh the bloggers themselves are at least nuanced in their thinking. (A couple there are bad though). I think there is a reasonable case that it was Clinton having to comprimise with a republican congress that helped create a minor surplus in the late 90’s.

    On the other hand, some of the commenters are just batshit insane.

  7. areaman says

    “I think there is a reasonable case that it was Clinton having to comprimise with a republican congress that helped create a minor surplus in the late 90′s.”

    The reason we had a balanced budget in the late 90s was that 1) Clinton (and Bush before him) raised taxes in the early 90s, and 2) the economy boomed in the mid-to-late 90s. Economic growth + higher tax rates = vastly more revenue.

    Conservatarians can’t accept this simple explanation because it violates their sacred belief system, so they bend over backwards to try to credit a Republican Congress that had nothing to do with it.

  8. Dennis N says

    3. This deal embodies a vision of America in decline.

    This is true, but not in the way Kristol means it. A country that can’t live up to its promises to the elderly and the poor is a country in decline. A country that cuts back on its defense budget when it isn’t needed? That’s a step forward, toward a more modern, sensible country.

  9. says

    This is pretty typical of the right. Cut wasteful spending now! Uhh, except for the military and corporate subsidies. Those can’t be touched.

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