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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Would Pentagon Budget Changes Be ‘Devastating?’

(David B. Gleason/The Pentagon)

You may have heard that the Pentagon is facing more than $500 billion in budget cuts, because the Congressional Super Committee failed to reach an agreement on cutting the U.S. debt.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says those cuts would be “devastating” and would invite aggression against the U.S. by other countries.

Republican Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California said, “I will not be the Armed Services Committee chairman who presides over the crippling of our military.”

But Lawrence Korb, who served as assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, calls the predictions of disaster “nonsense.”

And Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Arends has run the numbers and he says these are not cuts in defense, they’re just smaller increases.

“They’re not planning to cut anything. All they’re doing is they’re saying: ‘we’re going to increase it more slowly than we had planned before,’” he told Here & Now‘s Sacha Pfeiffer.

Arends also says that we now spend more on defense than we did during the height of the Cold War.


  • Brett Arends, columnist for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Email9760

    The hypocrisy is beyond belief. For years it has been a fact that Washington “cuts” in entitlements and other programs are meaningless, that it is simply a slowing in the rate of increase. And now, here we have your program finally figuring this out when defense spending is the topic? The bias and deception is unbecoming of any journalist or commentator. You heap shame on yourself.

  • Liberaltarian

    There is no budget problem. There is only a bloated defense problem. Today’s story was a much needed, clearly understood call to disarm.

  • Anonymous

    Now if we can only get John McCain, Buck McKeon, John Kyl and other “hawks” on record to see how they can spin the facts on this. Hello? If we’re lucky,  some news talking heads will press them on this ….

  • Anthony Ehrlich

    Defense spending higher that any time since WW II? More than during Korea, Viet Nam, the Cold War? Ridiculous! This belies the commonly-held belief that the US doesn’t make anything any more, that all our manufacturing has been out-sourced. We make weapons –more than all other countries put together.  We should take half those defense dollars and use them to provide proper healthcare for our returning vets, to retrain those servicemen about to be furloughed, to rebuild our infrastructure (including our electric energy grid), and to build and put photovoltaic cells on every house and officebuilding in the US. With the money that’s left over, we should build and install windmills, build high-speed trains, and establish comprehensive bus service to take cars off the roads and cut down on carbon emissions.

  • Daniel R. Cobb

    Excellent article!   Incredibly revealing, I hope this information gets out.  Thank you “Here & Now”.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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