The nice thing about self-inflicted wounds is they can be ameliorated relatively easily. Just stop doing what is causing the injury. It is even easier if the action is preventative, meaning that it takes place before an injury is inflicted.
It is clear that sequestration will be a self-inflicted injury. What is worse is that the law that will impose this wound on the nation was never intended to enter into effect. It was supposed to be such a draconian penalty for the political system’s failure to come to an agreement on alternative spending cuts and revenue enhancements that all parties would find a less objectionable alternative. So faced with the reality that their plan went awry it would seem relatively simple that the leaders who created this Rube Goldberg torture machine could and should dismantle it. At the very least, one would think that our leaders would seek to address the potentially catastrophic damage that sequestration will do to our national security. Unfortunately, there appears to be a total absence of leadership and simple common sense in Washington.
Enter Congressman Randy Forbes (R). He has taken the bull by the horns and introduced a bill that would exempt defense spending from sequestration cuts. This bill would amend the sequestration law by cutting the required level of deficit reduction in half and requiring that these cuts be taken from non-defense discretionary spending. There would not be any additional reductions required in domestic programs or entitlements beyond what is already in the current law.
For those who would respond that this is not fair I would say what has that got to do with anything? There is no requirement for fairness in addressing our deficits, debt, spending habits or the funding of priority national programs. Defense has already paid a substantial part of the deficit reduction bill. Entitlements, the largest and fastest growing part of the federal budget, have paid virtually nothing. Moreover, national security is a must pay bill. If you don’t do it you reduce the military’s ability to prevent wars as much or even more as its capacity to win them. The cost of a war not deterred will almost certainly exceed the savings achieved by cutting another $500 billion from future defense budgets.
What is required is good sense. It makes no sense to do irreparable, even catastrophic, damage to the military, take unacceptable risks with national security and even break faith with the men and women in uniform. An example of what does make sense is an admission that it was a mistake to include defense in the second round of cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act and an appropriate response. Congressman Forbes has provided just such a remedy.
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