President Obama has found a target to help balance his bloated budget: the men and women of the US military and our Veterans. Fewer than two weeks after the termination of operations in Iraq, President Obama has put into action cuts amounting to 10% of our national military budget. In particular, he has targeted our Army and our Marines. We don’t find similar actions being taken in China, Iran, North Korea or in any other nation.
Such severe budget cuts to our Army and Marines will reduce our readiness and turn the mentality from training and innovation to cost containment. From an economic standpoint, this action is coming at exactly the wrong time. What President Obama has apparently failed to realize is that most of our defense dollars are funneled directly back into the US economy. Even foreign companies earning US military contracting dollars are forced to source their primary labor and manufacturing on US soil. The American families supported by US military spending will be devastated. States with significant military contracts - Michigan, Kentucky, South Carolina, California, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida to name a few, will be further burdened. When a defense contractor loses his\her job, the impact is directly reflected in the local real estate market, restaurants, school districts, local stores and all the second and third tier suppliers.
This action is in direct contradiction to the actions taken to save the Wall Street investment banks. Billions were funneled into the coffers of large banks that continued to pay millions in bonuses, despite their tenuous situations. Yet, these banks have provided little in subsequent spillover effect, don’t have as significant an impact on innovation and research and are not comprised of millions of small businesses such as those that serve the US military. The banks also continue to restrict lending and have not contributed directly to the growth in the US economy.
Clearly, the US military is an easy target. Tackling the real debt laden issues of education, Medicare reform, the Environmental Protection Agency, healthcare, transportation and energy are diverted in this election year. Responsible cuts in government are needed in all sectors. If this were truly an action targeted at balancing the budget, cuts of 10% over ten years should be proposed for all government agencies, not just the Department of Defense. We don’t see this mandate coming from President Obama or his Democrat supporters.
Weakening the military in an effort to balance the budget has never proved successful. President Obama has now set up our men and women in the military to be targets; the end result will be that our nation becomes a target. The prosperity of this nation is built on a strong military and national defense. Our financial markets, the value of our dollar, and our stature in the world are inextricably linked to a strong and powerful nation, protected by the most professional military in the world. Smacking our military in the knees right after yanking us out of a war is the wrong message to send to our troops and to the world.