You wouldn’t know it from the shopping list drawn up for the Pentagon by defense hawks in Congress, but we’re long past the days of contending with a global superpower developing weapons that rival our own and flaunting its military might in menacing, destabilizing ways. The Cold War is over, and our Pentagon budget no longer reflects the country’s defense needs. Which is why Campaign for America’s Future has joined 21 other groups in signing a letter to urge Congress to include fundamental reforms to the Pentagon budget in the any alternative to the sequester.
These groups have put forward over $800 billion in Pentagon cuts that can reduce the deficit and prevent cuts to other important areas of government spending.
As 350 economists will tell you, the sequester is a terrible idea to begin with. But if any government spending is to be cut, it is important that those cuts happen where they have the least impact on job creation and economic growth.
These 22 groups believe military spending should given priority in cuts because there is a large amount of waste.
We are united in the belief that there are plenty of ways to strategically target pork-barrel projects and programs designed to fight the Cold War instead of 21st century threats. What seems lacking is the political will to have a meaningful discussion over the structure of our armed forces—a structure that is sensible as well as sustainable.
These programs include things like limiting the number of Virginia-class submarines the government which the CATO Institute predicts could save $2 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone. Such savings can provide long-term deficit reduction without harming the economic recovery in the manner that drastic cuts to social programs would.
Besides, Pentagon spending yields one of the lowest rate of jobs created per billion dollars of spending. The Political Economy Research Institute found for every billion dollars spent on the Pentagon there are around 11,000 jobs created. That is less than half of the 26,000 in jobs that are created for every billion dollars spent on education.
Campaign for America’s Future has been joined in signing this letter by Americans for Tax Reform, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Cost of Government Center, CREDO, Freedom Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Priorities Project, National Taxpayers Union, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Project On Government Oversight, Republican Liberty Caucus, R Street, Take Back Washington, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, USAction, U.S. PIRG, Women’s Action for New Direction, and Win Without War.