Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Rep. Ryan’s Plan Fails to Address Defense Spending
Press Release

RELEASE: Rep. Ryan’s Plan Fails to Address Defense Spending

By Lawrence J. Korb | April 12, 2011

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress released the column “Rep. Ryan’s Plan Fails to Address Defense Spending” by Lawrence Korb. This piece contends that any serious proposal to reduce the federal deficit must put defense spending on the table.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “Path to Prosperity” not only fails to put defense cuts on the table; it actually wants defense spending to continue growing in real terms. Ryan’s “deficit reduction plan” calls for a $22 billion increase in defense for FY 2012, and he wants to increase the baseline budget by another $60 billion over the next four years. This means that in FY 2016, DOD would receive $642 billion. Ryan’s proposal would have us spend nearly $6.5 trillion on defense—exclusive of war costs—over the next decade.

Defense spending reductions must be considered in budget proposals for the following reasons:

  • The baseline defense budget comprises 20 percent of the overall federal budget and 50 percent of the discretionary portion.
  • The U.S. share of worldwide defense spending grew from one-third to one-half in the last decade. This means 5 percent of the world’s population accounts for 50 percent of the world’s military spending.
  • The baseline defense budget has nearly doubled in the past decade and is now higher in real terms than what we spent on average during the Cold War when we were faced with an existential threat from another superpower.
  • The Obama administration already plans to spend 20 percent more on defense than was spent on defense during the Bush administration.
  • Total U.S. defense spending is now higher in real terms than at any time since World War II.

Related articles by Dr. Korb:

To speak to Lawrence Korb, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or [email protected].