Mis-Measuring the Defense Budget

Now in control of Congress and having made multiple promises to restore oversight of the war in Iraq and the executive branch in general, the Democrats have been successfully rolled by the White House, the military services and the big-spender pundits.

For example, the new House Armed Services Committee chairman, Ike Skelton, D-Mo., already has said how sympathetic he is to the military service's "wish lists," and other Democrats are rushing to prove their stalwartness on defense by agreeing to the whole package.

Left completely unaddressed is how to pay for it all.

The advocates of the GDP measure imply that there are piles of loose cash lying around because the share of GDP is down and we should afford more. But, of course, there is no free money. Their rhetoric lacks integrity; they fail to say how or who should pay.

There are only three choices: increase taxes, cut domestic spending or borrow more money from our grandchildren to pay it off.

The Democrats in Congress are unlikely to make any tough choices. Neither will the Republicans. None of them will tell us how they will pay for the gigantic national security budget. On the other hand, their decision will be very clear to our grandchildren.

Winslow Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight

By: Winslow Wheeler, Director (2002-2014), Straus Military Reform Project, CDI at POGO

At the time of publication Mr. Wheeler's was the director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center For Defense Information at POGO.

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