This post from the libertarian Cato@Liberty blog by Christopher Preble about the sizeable increase in the deficit Mitt Romney’s military spending plans will cause caught my eye yesterday thanks to the ever-watchful CG&G alum Bruce Bartlett.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Romney has pledged to spend at least four percent of GDP on the Pentagon’s base budget. And, also just in case you’re not familiar with it, this would be a huge increase in federal spending and, without offsetting tax increases or spending cuts (which given the amount of additional spending and the need to reduce the deficit would be impossible to do), a substantial rise in the deficit.
Here’s the money quote from Cato.
Romney’s Four Percent Gimmick would result in taxpayers spending more than twice as much on the Pentagon as in 2000 (111 percent higher, to be precise), and 45 percent more than in 1985, the height of the Reagan buildup. Over the next ten years, Romney’s annual spending (in constant dollars) for the Pentagon would average 64 percent higher than annual post-Cold War budgets (1990-2012), and 42 percent more than the average during the Reagan era (1981-1989).
I’m really tempted to provide a few of my own comments, such as “This is just pandering;” “How does someone who claims to have strong experience managing the bottom line of a a business explain how he can both dramatically increase Pentagon spending AND reduce the deficit (and also cut taxes, but that’s another story for another time)?”; and “This is so typical GOP: Claim to be fiscally responsible when just the opposite is true.”
But rather than my comments, I’ll let Cato do the talking with these two final quotes from the post:
Does Romney genuinely believe we (today) have enemies that approach the Soviet Union’s might, let alone ones that are 42 percent more threatening? We would be wise to question his judgment if so.
Romney should embrace his supposed conservatism and leave the spendthrift gimmicks to the opposition.
It may be time for Cato to admit publicly that, at least when it comes to the budget, Romney IS the opposition.