Is Military Spending Really Being Cut?

By now you may have heard from neoconservatives that “catastrophic” defense spending cuts will kick in on January 2, 2013. This is completely misleading and ignores the reality of the military budget. There are no scheduled military spending cuts despite the best efforts of the Republican establishment to convince us otherwise.

Washington has once again cleverly disguised a spending increase as a “cut.” President Obama is only cutting $480 billion in military spending from the bloated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline that predicts government spending over the next ten years.

He is merely reducing projected military spending, as opposed to cutting current spending. This means that military spending will increase at a slightly slower rate than previously anticipated over the next decade.

But real fiscal conservatives aren’t satisfied with reductions in projected spending—we want real, substantial cuts. No serious discussion about reducing our $15.8 trillion national debt can occur without putting military spending on the table.

Now there is a difference between military spending and defense spending. A large chunk of military spending has nothing to do with the defense of the United States. I mean, why the heck are U.S. troops still in Afghanistan?

The rate at which the military budget has expanded is outrageous. Current U.S. military spending is higher than at any time in our entire history and accounts for nearly half of all military spending on earth. U.S. military spending has doubled when adjusted for inflation over the past decade.

Candidate Obama criticized George W. Bush’s spending on overseas wars on the 2008 campaign trail. But President Obama beats George W. Bush when it comes to war and military spending. Under President Bush, military spending averaged 3.9 percent of Gross Domestic Product. It has increased to 4.9 percent—a full percentage point higher under President Obama.

Don’t be fooled by fuzzy Washington math. Obama isn’t really cutting military spending like he should.

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