"Trying To Preserve Bloated Military Spending, McKeon Falsely Claims ‘Entitlements’ Are ‘The Main Drivers Of Our Deficit’"
For months, chairman of the House Armed Services committee Buck McKeon (R-CA) has been speaking out against any cuts to military spending, using the same baseless fearmongering Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been employing in his recent campaign to save the military industrial complex. McKeon was at it again on Friday during an interview with Bloomberg news about further spending cuts as the so-called super committee debates deficit and debt reduction measures:
Bloomberg: Should the U.S. change its strategy of global engagement in light of budget constraints? If so, what should a new strategy focus on?
McKeon: The special role the United States plays in world affairs should not be taken for granted. We abdicate our global leadership at our own peril, and the peril of free nations everywhere. It’s a position worth preserving. Our military has already absorbed several rounds of budget cuts, so we need to start looking at the main drivers of our deficit — entitlements — to fix this problem.
By “entitlements,” McKeon is presumably referring to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (even though the latter is actually a self-sustaining program). But McKeon’s claim is entirely untrue. The “main drivers” of America’s deficit are the Bush tax cuts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the recession. ThinkProgress assembled this short animation on the 10th anniversary of the first of President Bush’s two tax cuts illustrating their role in ballooning U.S. debt and deficit:
Of course what McKeon doesn’t mention is that U.S. military spending has nearly doubled in the last 10 years, is higher than at any point since World War II, and the cuts he claims will result in a “hollowed-out military” will actually just bring DOD back to 2007 spending levels.