The Last Word | February 25, 2013
>>> after the korean war , the military budget fell by 43%, by 43%. after the vietnam war it fell by 33%, by a solid third. after the soviet union fell and the cold war ended the military budget fell by 36%. this is a pattern of military spending in america. it goes way up in times of war, but then, and this is important, it falls right back down after. in times of peace. now, over the past ten years, we have been at war and our spending has subsequently gone way up. i want to tell you these numbers because i think they're absolutely astonishing. in 2001 under president bush , the military was $287 billion. $287 billion. in 2012 , after accounting for the military budget and the war spending in iraq and afghanistan. it was about $700 billion, way more than double. now, here is something else kind of amazing. that is a bigger increase in total in spending than we saw in either the vietnam war or the cold war , and here is where it left us. we're spending more than china, the uk, france, indiana, saudi arabia , india, and canada, combined. we're spending more on our military than the next dozen high spenders combined. our wars, now, however are ending. officially the war in iraq is over. the war in afghanistan is drawing down, osama bin laden is dead. spending dropped somewhere between 43 and 33%. now speak about that after you listen to these warnings about the military sequester.
>> i can't over state what the cuts would do to our military, essentially hollowing out our armed military forces .
>> and the president laid out no plan for the sequester.
>> that we're convinced would hollow out the force and inflict serious damage to the national defense .
>> all right. if the sequester goes into effect, the full cut to the defense budget will be about 31%. think about that, shathe war on terror increased, and the cut to the defense budget , even with the sequester, will be less than it was either of those. it kind of puts all the doom saying in perspective, doesn't it? now, sequester is a really stupid way to cut the defense budget . i'm not arguing that point. it is brain dead , but that $500 billion cut, that level of cut is not necessarily stupid to make to the defense budget . and making a 500 billion cut is not necessarily a bad way to reduce the deficit. when the democrats talk about tax reform and say they want to replace the sequester and almost all the defense cuts with revenues, what they are saying specifically is they want to limit itemized deductions for the rich. now those words, that is kind of policy term. doesn't mean much to most people. but when you hear it, this is what you should hear politicians say. they want to limit tax policies, to donate the charity, pay their state and local taxes and to buy homes. that is what the itemized deductions are for the rich, the state and local tax deduction , overwhelmingly. we're talking about cutting them for rich people when we talk about the deficit. that is what president obama wants to do in the compromise. and the republican's response to it is absolutely not. they completely prefer the sequester to that. i don't understand either side's position here. i don't understand why liberals would prefer to fund the government through a mechanism that hit charities, the housing industry and high tax states than by cutting defense spending . and i don't understand why republicans prefer to cut defense spending than to hit charities, high tax, mostly through blue states that get subsidiz subsidized. the sequester is bad policy, terrible economic policy . i would like to get rid of it altogether. but if we keep it, we absolutely have to give the agencies the ability to make decisions about how to make those cuts. but if we did that, and we can't get rid of it, if we gave agencies that discretion, then if you give me a choice between 5 billion by cutting spending on homes and charities and state and local taxes, i think i would take the defense cuts. every other time we ended our wars we have brought defense spending way down. if this time is different, if we allow ourselves to get trapped in a mind set of being in a permanent war and require the hike in spending, that is dangerous, and not just because of the budget.