During Wednesday’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney didn’t dispute President Obama’s criticism that the Republican candidate has pledged to raise military spending by an additional $2 trillion. Romney repeatedly promised throughout the back and forth that he would both cut taxes and reduce the deficit, despite his desire to boost military expenditures, and didn’t say how the math would work out.
Throughout the debate, Obama raised the military spending issue a total of four times, for example:
OBAMA: Now, Governor Romney’s proposal that he has been promoting for 18 months calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. And he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions. The problem is that he’s been asked a — over a hundred times how you would close those deductions and loopholes and he hasn’t been able to identify them.
Romney has said that he would tie military spending to 4 percent of GDP, which would mean a $2.1 trillion increase over 10 years. Even under during the George W. Bush years, the base defense budget made up an average 3.3 percent of GDP.
At no time did Governor Romney dispute that figure, nor did he offer up how he intended to pay for such an increase, which the Center for Budget and Policy Priorites has said would necessitate large cuts in Medicaid, education, and other programs. Watch the clip from the debate:
Perhaps Romney’s silence meant conceding defeat. Even his own top foreign policy aides can’t explain how the Republican nominee would pay for such a massive, and completely unnecessary, increase in military spending.