Everyone knows that the United States debt is out of control and that the economy still has not recovered. Unemployment is still high compared to where it could be and the debt rises every second. With the election in 2012, people thought change would happen in Washington; nothing has changed.
The only change is that Congress is playing chicken with U.S national security. Congress has to come to some sort of agreement to decrease the deficit spending by March 1 of this year. If they do not, then dramatic spending cuts will occur across the board.
Drastic cuts need to take place, but the idea that cuts across the board both in domestic spending and military spending will show some benefit, in reality, puts U.S national security in jeopardy.
If no deal is reached by March 1, the chances of sequestration actually occurring are slim to none. The reason for this conclusion is the fact that dramatic cuts across the board were supposed to happen after the old deadline of Jan. 1; instead, Congress passed a bill that simply pushed the problem down the road a bit farther.
Every time, Congress tells the public they are getting serious with spending or taxes and if some deal is not reached, terrible consequences will ensue; nothing happens except it’s kicked down the road to another date.
Even if Congress does not kick the deadline back, serious problems with U.S security will occur. Many people say that the military and domestic spending cuts are even; however, this is false. Defense will take most of the cuts, carrying 49.5 percent of the sequestration cuts, while non-defense will only hold 35.1 percent of the burden.
The defense cuts due to sequestration will total roughly $500 billion; defense contractors are already laying off workers and the Navy has declared it is downsizing the number of ships from 285 to 235 in the next 10 years.
With conflict brewing in the Middle East – most notably Iran claiming they have a nuclear weapon, the instability within Syria, and now the North Koreans testing nuclear weapons – the U.S needs to show its enemies that it is stronger than ever.
Many critics of the money spent on defense claim that too much money is spent on defense. If too much money is spent on defense, then far too much is spent on domestic programs; in 1961, 51 cents of every dollar was spent on military spending while 37 cents was spent on domestic programs.
Today, 70 cents of every dollar is spent on domestic programs and only 20 cents is spent on the military. The first people who should answer questions about defense cuts should be those in the Department of Defense and those who serve in the military. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the sequester cuts would be “devastating” and Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was like “shooting ourselves in the head.”
Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was quoted as saying, “Sequester would have devastating effects on our readiness and our workforce, and disrupt thousands of contracts and programs.” He also stated, “Our military and civilian program managers would face absurdities that result from the arbitrariness with which sequestration would take effect.”
The United States needs to get a balanced budget and reduce the debt; however, massive cuts across the board to defense are not the way to go. The Department of Defense needs to cut some spending and look at programs that could be cut, but massive cuts to billions of dollars is not the way to do it.
Massive cuts to defense will significantly weaken the strategic capability of the military, put our service members at more risk, and make the U.S look weak. These three things cannot happen, or the national security of the U.S will become significantly weaker.