Judge Andrew Napolitano

The government's biggest sacred cow is the Pentagon. The mere thought of reductions in the growth of defense spending has the Washington careerists screaming bloody murder. Yet military expert after military expert, not connected to the Pentagon and not employed in the defense industry, has told us that austerity will force the government to do what Congress lacks the political courage to do. Stated differently, we will keep spending on bases we don't need, on planes that sit unused in hangars and on military hardware stored all over the world, and not for any national security interest, but simply because a congressman earmarked it -- unless we get serious about our future.

A dollar of military spending is not a dollar of military strength, but it is a dollar into the coffers of those who contribute to congressional campaigns. Which is the greater threat to our national security, an impoverished gaggle of Third World revolutionaries 10,000 miles away, or our national debt? The answer is obvious.

Government is not a jobs program, and government is not your caretaker. Government is an arrangement made by free individuals to protect their rights and their property. It doesn't take $3.6 trillion a year to do that effectively in America today. I doubt it takes a trillion. We must swallow the bitter pill of austerity now, on our own terms, while we are still the undisputed leader of the free world and while we still have a Constitution, so that we can restore our prosperity in a way consistent with personal liberty.

It is a far better option than waiting for the bitter pill of austerity to be forced upon us when our country has become a shell of the proud and prosperous free nation it once was. Our cousins in Europe are learning that the hard way, even as we marvel at their sudden but inexorable demise.

Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995, during which time he presided over 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings and hearings. He taught constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years, and he returned to private practice in 1995. Judge Napolitano began television work in the same year.