Mitt Romney Proposes $8 Trillion Welfare Program
for Defense Contractors; Prepare for Two Wars if Romney Wins
I sit back in
amazement and watch Republicans self-destruct with ridiculous proposal after
Let's ponder two plans, neither of which is going anywhere, and one of them
may very well cost Mitt Romney the election should he win the nomination.
Ryan Plan Revives Deficit Duel
The Wall Street Journal reports Ryan Plan Revives Deficit
Rep. Paul Ryan's
budget instantly became the centerpiece of an election-year debate over the
size of government on Tuesday, thrusting back into the spotlight a
topic—the deficit—that has been largely overlooked by the
Mr. Ryan (R., Wis.), who heads the House Budget Committee, said his plan
would put the U.S. on a sound economic path by spending $5.3 trillion less
than Mr. Obama recommends over 10 years, resulting in a budget deficit that
would be $3.3 trillion narrower.
Let's pause right
there for a second. The deficit is about $1.4 trillion. If the US lapses back
into a recession at any time, (something I think is highly likely) it will
worsen. Cutting $5.3 trillion over 10 years, is $530
billion a year, still leaving deficit spending at $900 billion a year, not
counting the odds of a recession.
Let's continue with a few more snips ...
by nature lack specifics—those are provided in spending bills that come
later—and this one was no different. Still, Mr. Ryan made some things
clear. Most dramatically, he proposed repealing Mr. Obama's health law.
The plan also would cut the top tax rates for corporations and individuals to
25% from 35%, creating just two brackets for individuals, 10% and 25%.
Mr. Ryan angered Democrats, and privately frustrated some Republicans, by
proposing a $1.028 trillion cap on discretionary spending for next year, a
figure that excludes formula-based programs such as Social Security and
Medicare. The two parties, after weeks of negotiation, had agreed on a level
of $1.047 trillion in a deal in August.
Mr. Ryan said he was taking into account another section of that deal, which
requires across-the-board cuts of $97 billion beginning in January, $55
billion of that in defense. Party leaders are planning to negotiate a way to
restructure those cuts, probably after the election. Mr. Ryan's plan instead
directs six House committees to come up with cuts by May that total a similar
Ryan Reneges on
Notice that Ryan cannot even stand for a measly $55 billion cut in defense
spending instead wanting to cut entitlements. Yes, entitlements should be
cut, but so should defense spending.
This proposal is doomed from the get-go. It is both pointless, and weak. All
Ryan has proven is that he is a deficit-cutting wimp.
Ron Paul alone wants to balance the budget.
Searching for Sings of Intelligent Thought
The only possible conclusions for Ryan's proposals are: He is brain-dead. He does
not want a deal for political reasons.
Although it's frequently hard to see signs of intelligent life from either
party in Congress, I will give Ryan the benefit of the doubt, suggesting that
he purposely wants to antagonize Democrats for political reasons.
No Deal Coming
A USA Today Editorial states GOP budget hurts prospects
for deficit deal.
If anything is obvious
from the past several years of budget wrangling, it's that meaningful
progress on the federal deficit will require a grand, bipartisan deal of the
kind that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were negotiating
last summer before their talks collapsed.
Democrats will have to give ground on the entitlement programs that are
swallowing the federal budget. Republicans will have to compromise on tax
If that is too tall an order during a presidential election year, the two
parties should at least avoid fanning flames that will make future deals
harder to achieve.
What's most galling, however, is that the plan would violate the terms of the
stopgap budget deal worked out last summer. It would breach the cap on
defense spending and take money from other areas. It is hard to imagine a
better way to undermine prospects for a broad long-term deficit deal than for
one side to go back on its word.
As for Democrats, they need to get their heads out of the sand. The argument
that they can simply "protect" Medicare against marauding
Republicans does not square with reality. While prudent tax hikes can buy
some time, and cuts in other spending might be in order, the biggest threats
to the nation's solvency by far are health care and retirement entitlements.
The Democrats' response to Ryan's latest plan was both predictable and
troubling. Even before the plan was out, they launched a Medi-scare
campaign of letter-writing and robocalls targeting
41 vulnerable Republican incumbents.
But, in an era in which both parties try to pawn off partisanship as
patriotism, why let the facts get in the way of a good attack ad? Perhaps
after this year's election, when big spending cuts and tax hikes are slated
to take effect, the two sides will seriously address the long-term fiscal
problems the nation faces. After all, notwithstanding the fantasies of party
leaders, a sweeping deficit reduction package enacted on a party-line basis
is not going to happen.
Mitt Romney Proposes
$8 Trillion Welfare Program for Defense Contractors
As noted above, Ryan's proposal is seriously misguided at best.
Unfortunately, Romney's plan is far worse.
Please consider A Lesson in Republican Math: Throwing Money at the
If you’ve been
fretting about faltering math education and falling test scores here in the
United States, you should be worried based on this campaign season of
Republican math. When it comes to the American military, the leading
Republican presidential candidates evidently only learned to add and
multiply, never subtract or divide.
Despite current Pentagon budgets that have hovered at the highest levels
since World War II and 13 years of steady growth, the administration’s
latest plans would only reduce spending at the Department of Defense by 1.6%
in inflation-adjusted dollars over the next five years.
Still, compared to his main Republican opponents, Obama is a T. rex of budget slashers.
After all, despite their stated commitment to reducing the deficit (while
cutting taxes on the rich yet more), the Republican contenders are intent on
raising Pentagon spending dramatically. Mitt Romney has staked out the
“high ground” in the latest round of Republican math with a
proposal to set Pentagon spending at 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
That would, in fact add up to an astonishing $8.3 trillion dollars over the
next decade, one-third more than current, already bloated Pentagon plans.
Nathan Hodge of the Wall Street Journal engaged in polite understatement when
he described the Romney plan as “the most optimistic forecast U.S.
defense manufacturers have heard in months.”
In fact, Romney’s proposal implies that the Pentagon is essentially an
entitlement program that should receive a set share of our total economic
resources regardless of what’s happening here at home or elsewhere on
the planet. In Romney World, the Pentagon’s only role would be to
engorge itself. If the GDP were to drop, it’s unlikely that, as president,
he would reduce Pentagon spending accordingly.
Rick Santorum has spent far less time describing his military spending plans,
but a remark at a Republican presidential debate in Arizona suggests that he
is at least on the same page with Romney.
Mitt Romney at Sea
But let’s stick with the Republican frontrunner (or stumbler).
What exactly would Romney spend all this money on?
For starters, he’s a humongous fan of building big ships, generally the
most expensive items in the Pentagon budget. He has pledged to up Navy ship
purchases from 9 to 15 per year, a rise of 50%.
Romney is also a major supporter of missile defense — and not just the
current $9-$10 billion a year enterprise being funded by the Obama
administration, primarily designed to blunt an attack by long-range North
Korean missiles that don’t exist. Romney wants a “full,
That sounds suspiciously like the Ronald Reagan-style fantasy of an
“impermeable shield” over the United States against massive
nuclear attack that was abandoned in the late 1980s because of its staggering
expense and essential impracticality.
If the development of Romney’s high-priced version of a missile shield
were again on the American agenda, it would be a godsend for big
weapons-makers like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, but would add
nothing to the defense of this country. In fact, it stands a reasonable
chance of making things worse. Given the overkill represented by the
thousands of nuclear warheads in the American arsenal, the prospect of a
nuclear missile attack on the United States is essentially nil.
Ensuring a Cost-Overrun Presidency
If you were hoping that, with an eye to fighting yet more disastrous wars in
the Greater Middle East like the $3 trillion fiasco in Iraq, the U.S. would
raise ever larger armies, then Mitt’s your man.
Prepare for Two Wars
if Romney Wins
Should Mitt Romney win election this November, prepare for two wars.
War with Iran
War with China
Both would be stupid and both will cost trillions of dollars.
Actually, the sane thing to do is prepare for two
wars regardless of who wins. The odds may be lower under Obama, but that is
the best one can say.
The self-destruction of Republicans is very painful to watch because I am not
a Democrat and do not like President Obama in the least.
Unfortunately, some Republican proposals are so out of whack with what needs
to happen that independents are highly likely to make a lesser-of-two-evils
choice of Obama over whoever the Republican nominee is.
Given the strong likelihood Republicans manage to hold the House, a divided
Congress and a divided executive-legislative split might easily be the best
we can hope for.
I am writing in Ron Paul. The chips will fall, how they fall.
Hopefully Republicans get their act together in 2016 because this was a