As I noted in an op-ed I wrote with Arthur Brooks and William Kristol for The Wall Street Journal, defense spending has increased at a much lower rate than domestic spending in recent years. Even while fighting two wars, the core defense budget has risen about $220 billion since 2001, about a tenth of what the government devotes each year to “mandatory” spending: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, entitlements such as food stamps and cash assistance, and interest payments on the debt. These expenditures continue automatically, year after year, without congressional debate.
We should consider no corner of the budget off limits in our search to eliminate waste. But anyone seeking to restore our fiscal health should look first at entitlements, not at across-the-board cuts aimed at our men and women in uniform.
The United States can attribute its standing in the world to many things, but having the strongest, most capable military is a huge factor behind our success. Spending what’s necessary to ensure that we stay the best one of the most basic jobs our elected leaders have. We simply cannot afford to shortchange our security.