Op-ed columnist Shikha Dalmia on why calling defense cuts harmful is a neoconservative myth:
Despite much bellyaching about debt and deficits, neoconservatives are upset because President Obama wants to cut $400 billion in the Pentagon’s projected spending through 2023. This means that instead of getting automatic increases in its baseline budget and inflation adjustments, Pentagon will now get “only” the latter.
In a sane world this would be considered tame, not radical, especially since the Pentagon’s core budget has doubled since 9/11. Defense spending constitutes 20 percent of the total federal budget and 64 percent of nondiscretionary spending. The world spends $1.5 trillion on defense annually and America alone accounts for $900 billion of this.
But neoconservatives insist that this is not enough because America is the only country that can keep the world safe. Thus even though America no longer faces the existential threat posed by the Soviet Union, defense spending must continue apace.
This would be a bad argument even in good times, but right now it is positively daft.