Just in case you thought liberals were the only ones who wanted programs, but didn’t want to pay for them, consider this story from the Air Force Times (HT: Dispatches) regarding Michele Bachmann‘s suggested budget cuts.
What I mean by wanting a program, in this case, is wanting the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet not wanting to take care of the people who have to carry out those missions. I will note my own biases: I’m a veteran myself. But I didn’t come back wounded, and obviously I did not die and leave survivors requiring care and support. Those who do make those sacrifices deserve our support. Even a cynical, calculating approach would suggest the need to support those who actually do the work.
Veterans benefits are not like welfare. Veterans earn this support. In a moral sense, they are entitled to it. Those benefits are part of the cost of paying for taking military action around the world. If we don’t want the costs, we should take action to make less demands on our military people.
Now I support reducing the deficit, so I feel obligated to suggest other ways in which the budget might be cut. I would include cuts in some spending for military equipment. Every year there are projects started or perpetuated by politicians who see it as a safe way to get government spending for their constituents. Many of these projects are opposed by the people who actually have to use the equipment or bases in question. That’s a good start for ways to reduce spending.
We might continue by planning a strategy to fight terrorism that doesn’t involve invading and occupying countries that sponsor terrorism. Improving intelligence gathering (spend more there) and improving our ability to carry out surgical strikes should help.
I’d also suggest we find a different approach to drugs. Not incarcerating people simply for possession would certainly save a bit of money.
My point is not to suggest that I have balanced the budget with these suggestions. I’ve worked with some of the numbers, and what I’ve just suggested isn’t enough. But I think it will offset the amount I’m suggesting Bachmann should not be cutting.
I won’t go into further detail here, but I have previously suggested that Social Security will need serious changes, including raising the retirement age. Though I believe that money should not be part of the general budget, at the moment, it’s being treated that way.
The idea of general freezes is, in my view, just another way in which politicians try to avoid the need to behave responsibly. What they need to do is identify programs that work and those that don’t, and cut the ones that don’t. Once they’ve done that, they can start making hard choices regarding things we want but can’t afford.
I do congratulate Bachmann (whom I generally dislike) on one major point: She’s point some specifics out there. It was a plan to balance the budget that got me on the Ronald Reagan bandwagon in 1976. As I recall, the amount was $90 billion at the time. Unfortunately, I found out over time that Reagan was less concerned with balanced budgets than I was.
- “Bachmann budget cuts propose reducing veterans benefits” and related posts (washingtonindependent.com)
- Bachmann Riles Vets For Floating Benefits Cuts (foxnews.com)