Protecting Wasteful Military Spending at All Costs
House Conservatives Want to Cut Child and Elderly Programs Instead of Nuclear Stockpiles
SOURCE: AP/ Al Golub
House Republicans are asking low- and middle-income families to sacrifice health care and basic services to preserve redundant defense systems:
- They are prepared to slash funding for child and elder abuse prevention, Meals on Wheels, and foster care to keep a helicopter that costs five times as much as similar models yet is not much more effective.
- They are willing to raise taxes on the families of 5.5 million low-income children to purchase two submarines that are unnecessary to maintain our naval superiority.
- They are ready to force hundreds of thousands of working families to forgo health coverage in order to block any cuts to a nuclear stockpile whose size is largely a relic of the Cold War.
Here’s the background: The House Republican budget instructs the Ways and Means Committee to find $53 billion in savings in order to “protect national security from deep and indiscriminate cuts” that would otherwise take place in January 2013 due to the debt deal agreed to last summer. On April 17 the committee set forth their package, which exceeded the target. It proposes $68 billion in cuts and tax increases for low- and middle-income Americans.
The chart below gives a side-by-side comparison of the cuts to low- and middle-income families that House conservatives are proposing in order to shield wasteful military spending from automatic cuts in the debt deal.
These cuts will fall mainly on middle-class families, the working poor, and the most vulnerable children in systems such as foster care. And they are entirely unnecessary.
We can make strategic cuts to our defense budget without undermining our national security, including reducing our nuclear stockpile while sustaining a credible deterrent and making more effective weapons purchases. In fact, the Center for American Progress has found more than $500 billion in Pentagon cuts that could be implemented over the next decade while still maintaining our vast military superiority.
But if the House were really determined to avoid any defense cuts, there were many other places they could have looked for savings. For instance, the Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over taxes and could have easily found $68 billion in revenues from the wealthiest Americans. Simply asking millionaires to pay the same tax rate as many middle-class families would have raised $160 billion in 10 years—more than twice their target to avoid defense cuts.
Budgets are more than numbers on a ledger. They are statements of priorities. And this bill’s priorities are clear: It asks low- and middle-income families to foot the bill for outdated and surplus defense systems we don’t need.
Melissa Boteach is the Director of Half in Ten, Larry Korb is a Senior Fellow, and Max Hoffman is a Special Assistant at the Center for American Progress.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or email@example.com
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.482.8103 or email@example.com