The Cato Institute has identified $17-20 billion in readily-achievable savings to the 2013 military budget. Such cuts can help stave off tax increases. As Cato’s Christopher Preble notes, if no other action to cut the deficit is taken, “the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011” will require “$110 billion in spending cuts in January 2013 via sequestration, half of which need to come from DoD.” Such spending cuts are a long overdue first step towards getting America’s skyrocketing budget deficit under control. The deficit is now so huge that America racked up more debt in just one month of 2010 than it did in an entire year in 2007. The national debt rose more in Obama’s first three years in office than all of Bush’s eight years.
But unfortunately, “neither the White House nor Congress” wants the automatic budget cuts through sequestration “to occur; both sides hope to amend the law and achieve equal deficit reductions by other means. . .Republicans want to cut other spending, Democrats to raise taxes.” Liberal Senators can block many of the cuts in social programs sought by House Republicans to reduce the deficit, leaving tax increases as a possibility if cuts are not made elsewhere, such as to the Pentagon budget. (And a few GOP congressmen like Duncan Hunter, who have close ties to Defense contractors, have said they would prefer tax increases to Pentagon cuts.)
Meanwhile, the White House has sacrificed national security for short-run political gain. Obama administration officials outed an undercover agent to wrongly take credit for his work exposing bomb plots against America, endangering his life. Recently, news reports discussed how an al-Qaeda infiltrator exposed the bomb plots, erroneously claiming he was a “CIA mole.” But it now turns out that the al-Qaeda infiltrator was working for the Brits, not the CIA, and his cover was blown for election year politics: “The leaks about the operation from the American side have infuriated British intelligence officials, who had hoped to continue the operation. The leaks not only scuttled the mission but put the life of the asset in jeopardy. Even CIA officials, joining their MI5 and MI6 counterparts, were describing the leaks as ‘despicable,’ attributing them to the Obama administration.” Reprehensible acts like this make it more difficult and expensive for the U.S. and its allies to achieve their security goals.