Don’t Block the Debt Limit Deal Over Possible Pentagon Spending Cuts

The July 31 deal to cut federal spending in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling is long overdue, and is  an important first step in stabilizing the nation’s finances, as many conservative commentators, such as The Wall Street Journal, have recognized. But the deal is  nonetheless being criticized by a few conservatives because it may result in cuts in Pentagon spending in the future. But most of the conservatives I know don’t share this view. They and I are happy with cuts even if they include the Pentagon, since such cuts will be necessary as part of a package deal to get spiraling deficits under control. With a $1.6 trillion deficit, wasteful spending must be trimmed everywhere, and the Pentagon, as one of the largest government departments, cannot be immune. Congress should ignore the whining about defense cuts and pass the deal, unless speedy bipartisan agreement can somehow be reached on even larger cuts. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the deal is “the debt deal is a rare bipartisan victory for the forces of smaller government.”