The Blog

Samuelson: Victory for the Welfare State Over Defense

8:08 AM, Aug 8, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In today's Washington Post, Robert Samuelson argues that it was liberal protectors of the entitlements, not the Tea Party, that "won" the most in last week's debt deal. The military, he says, was the real loser:

...the budget deal does reflect national priorities, for good or ill. It’s mostly a triumph of the welfare state over the Pentagon. Even before the deal, the Obama administration projected that — assuming continued withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan — defense spending would shrink to 15 percent of the budget by 2016. This would be the lowest share since before World War II. The deal’s cuts, potentially as much as $950 billion over a decade, would reduce that further. In the 1950s and ’60s, defense often was half of the budget.

Drastic military retrenchment seems unwise. It would threaten readiness, training and the replacement of aging weapons. Many planes, ships and vehicles are approaching or have passed their planned service lives, says Heritage Foundation defense analyst Mackenzie Eaglen. To take one example: F-18s were designed to fly for 6,000 hours; now, many are headed toward 10,000, she notes.

The defense cuts show how, contrary to conventional wisdom, the budget deal reflects liberal preferences.

Read the whole thing here.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers