Sequestration did not cut the US budget at all. It merely cut back on planned increases in the budget in the future. If Congress and the President had simply agreed on a spending freeze, that would have been a much more significant step to begin to restore faith in US financial governance and the economy.
But even though the sequester “cuts” are so insignificant, they are still painful to people who believe in, sell, and depend upon “omnipotent government.” In the Republican Party there are those who want no practical limits on future increases on military spending. As Patrick Buchanan pointed out recently, Lindsey Graham is promising a war on Iran, and is ready to make sure the President has the power to wage it without needing to go to Congress to approve it.
“On Fox’s ‘Huckabee’ Sunday, Lindsey laid out his scheme: ‘I’m going to get a bipartisan coalition together. We’re going to put together a use-of-force resolution, allowing our country to use military force … to stop the Iranian nuclear program. … I’m going to need your help, Mike, and the help of Americans and friends of Israel.’ … On Nov. 10, 2010, Graham let it all out: ‘Instead of a surgical strike on their nuclear infrastructure, I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies. … [We must] destroy the ability of the regime to strike back.’ Graham wants us to do to Iran what President Bush II did to Iraq.”
This isn’t going to be any mythical cruise missile vanity strike. Iran, a country much larger and more populous than Iraq was, will have to be invaded. This means we are going to have to massively increase military spending.
Perhaps that is why GOP war pushers are setting up the sequester as an attack on the military. According to the Cato Institute, the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have deliberately offered a budget that exceeds the legal limit of the sequestration. The budget for Fiscal Year 2014 is not supposed to exceed $967 billion. But the Committee has proposed a budget of $988 billion.
Why do that?
The excess money is appropriated only for defense spending. Non-defense spending is actually set $1 billion lower than the legal limit. The committee also put out a one page report to circulate among Congressional Republicans. It says, “If the next round of FY14 sequester cuts kicks in under current law, ALL of the reductions will come out of national defense.” In other words, they are pretending that the sequester is some kind of unfair attack on the so-called “defense” budget when in fact they have deliberately set up the budget to make it appear as an attack on “defense.”
If we really needed all that money for defense, I might be willing to submit to a tax hike. But we don’t. It is obvious to everyone outside Washington DC that our national debt is a huge national security issue. Using “defense” as an excuse to continue to increase spending puts our nation in danger.