Monday, October 31, 2011

Republicans gearing up to fight FOR government spending

Regular readers will know that I've been talking for awhile about how the debt ceiling deal will be changing the conversation in Washington. It hasn't hit crescendo yet, but things are definitely shifting.

While President Obama is out talking about the American Jobs Act and issuing daily executive orders on his "We can't wait" campaign, Republicans are starting to talk about the importance of government spending...on the military.

While they've spent the last couple of years focusing on austerity and decrying the dangers of our looming deficit, the triggered $600 billion in cuts to defense spending that will kick in when/if the Super Committee doesn't reach a deal are starting to cause them to change their tune and panic.

Conservative Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson picked up the mantle yesterday with an article titled The dangerous debate over cutting military spending. He shifts from a total 100% focus on austerity to framing the debate as essentially one of "guns vs butter."

We shouldn’t gut defense. A central question of our budget debates is how much we allow growing spending on social programs to crowd out the military and, in effect, force the United States into a dangerous, slow-motion disarmament.

It will be interesting to see if folks like Mr. Samuelson can scare the American people into supporting the "guns" side of that argument - given the dire straights of our economy and the successes President Obama has had in neutralizing threats like Al Qaeda. I'd suggest that at least we're moving the debate into more productive territory.

Of course, we can always provide folks like him with information like this chart developed by TPM about where the growth in spending has actually happened.


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