The Skeptics

At Least They’re Faking Defense Cuts

Congressman Paul Ryan’s defense spending plan is even worse. It borrows Gates’ phony spending cuts and would continue to increase defense spending, as Chris Preble shows. But at least the Republican leadership is now including defense in their deficit reduction rhetoric.

You have to give Gates credit for political acumen. His efficiency initiative intended to deflect Congressional pressure on his budget. The idea was that a budget that seemed leaner would be a less attractive target for deficit hawks who think you save by eliminating waste and overlap, doing the same thing more cheaply. It worked. Maybe Obama’s next defense secretary will attempt to make real choices about what we do with our military. But I suspect that change will be cosmetic.