“We should lock them in a room and not let them come out until they’ve fixed the budget!”
It’s a common cry regarding the Federal government. When Congress and President Obama reached a deal to avert the self-inflicted debt ceiling “crisis,” that’s supposedly what was going to happen – if no deal was reached by a certain date, politically unpopular cuts would be forced on both parties. This was the lock on the room we’ve put Congress in – unfortunately they still have the keys. It remains to be seen if the Super Committee can reach an agreement, but it seems increasingly unlikely that the “mandatory” sequestration of funds from the defense budget will happen.
Whatever happens with the Super Committee, the defense budget will likely be a hot topic for years to come. Some think it’s way too high, some think any cuts would make it too low, and others say it’s just right. As the debate goes on, keep these graphs in mind to help put a perpsective on things. The first makes it seem like the budget has never stopped growing – the second and third make it look like it’s been on a decline since the 50’s.
What gets lost in both graphs is that the defense question is much, much harder than looking at historical trends – ultimately we need to decide what we need and how much it’s going to cost, and then pay for it, whether that’s more or less than the current budget, I can’t say.