The congressional super committee apparently has failed to produce its mandated budget-limiting legislation. So, beginning in fiscal year 2012, a process of reducing agency budgets over the next 10 years begins.
Naturally there are a significant number of loopholes, protected programs, etc. that seriously compromise the promised budget-reducing process. But then, what else is new?
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claims that reductions to military expenditures will produce a hollow military force, making it unable to defend this country. To which I note that at the time of our invasion of Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003, the U.S. public debt stood at about $6 trillion. When the last soldier leaves Iraq by Dec. 31 of this year, the public debt will be about $15 trillion, a difference of some $9 trillion, much of it spent on financing our Middle East military incursions. Thus, it seems to me, if we seek to maintain a first-rate military, politicians are going to use it — sometimes for discretionary military actions (e.g., Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) — and thus drive this country into bankruptcy. With the United States $15 trillion in the red and still declining and China $3.2 trillion in the black and growing, we can no longer continue to pump massive capital into military programs so that we can continue to compete with China without significantly driving down the quality of life for the citizens of this country. So, what’s it going to be: guns or butter? We just can’t afford both.
Much as I detested the draft, where as late as the 1960s young men were required to take up arms and blow away whoever the president and Congress had ordained were our enemies du jour, it does have its advantages. One, we can maintain a smaller, less expensive military force, and two, when the sons (and now daughters) of this country are forced to become part of the military, this country likely will be more discerning as to when and where it initiates its wars.