House Armed Service Committee chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) is leading the charge in the lower chamber of Congress against cuts to military spending. And like many of those trying to protect the military’s bloated budget, McKeon’s arguments are comprised of scare tactics and false information. He even said he’d support raising taxes if it meant that Congress left DOD spending alone.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that in an interview, McKeon “walked that back” and said he “basically regretted the remark suggesting tax increases might be on the table.” Also in the interview, McKeon fell back on the baseless fearmongering:
WSJ: There’s discussion in the Republican caucus in the House because you have newer Tea Party members who are more of the view that, “hey, we’re headed on the road to Greece. We’ve got this insane level of debt. We’ve got to cut, including defense.” Do you have some sympathy for that view? What do you say to people who are saying, “Look, we’ve got an economic disaster and we’ve got to cut”?
McKEON: If we try to solve that economic disaster on the back of our military, who’s going to have our backs the next time we’re attacked?
No one is arguing that the the U.S. should solve the economic crisis at the expense of only the military. U.S. military spending represents more than 40 percent of the world’s total and the United States spends more than the next 14 biggest spenders combined. Moreover, the military can easily sustain, for example, $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. “This would, in real terms,” as CAP’s Larry Korb noted, “allow the Pentagon to spend at its 2007 level for the next decade.” Apparently, at 2007 spending levels, McKeon doesn’t think the U.S. military has the capability to “have our backs.”