A Historic Opportunity to Cut Military Spending

JFP 8/5: Panetta: Cut Social Security and Medicare, not the military


Just Foreign Policy News  August 5, 2011

I) Actions and Featured Articles

A Historic Opportunity to Cut Military Spending

The agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for deficit reduction has made a lot of people very unhappy. But the agreement had one important positive aspect: it created a historic opportunity for significant cuts in projected military spending.

Take Action: Urge Congress and the President to Put Military Cuts First in Line

AFL-CIO: Any cuts must be at least 50% military

The AFL-CIO and other key Democratic constituency groups wrote to Democratic Congressional leaders, insisting (among other things) that any cuts must impact national security spending at least as much as domestic spending.

II) Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Defense Secretary Panetta effectively told Congress to raise taxes and cut Social Security and Medicare before taking another swipe at the Pentagon budget beyond defense cuts already called for in the [first round of] the debt-ceiling deal, the New York Times reports. Panetta took the position that the joint committee created by the debt ceiling legislation should make no further defense cuts. The White House, however, has not ruled out further defense reductions. The committee, to be composed of six Democrats and six Republicans, would also be unlikely to take them off the table, the New York Times notes.

2) Also reporting on Panetta’s statement that Congress should cut Social Security and Medicare and raise taxes rather than further cut the military budget, the Washington Post notes that defense spending represents about half of the federal government’s discretionary spending, and the military’s budget has increased by more than 70 percent since 2001. Although the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the Pentagon upward of $1 trillion, nearly half of the growth in defense spending in the past decade has been unrelated to the wars.

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