Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Budget short-takes:
Barney Frank's commission has some good ideas


Nice to see at least some folks in Washington looking to solve the country's budget woes in one of the right places. According to The Hill:

A bipartisan commission appointed by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) laid out ways on Friday to eliminate almost $1 trillion in defense spending over the next decade. The Sustainable Defense Task Force, a commission of scholars from a broad ideological spectrum appointed by Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, laid out options the government could take that could save as much as $960 billion between 2011 and 2020.

A report from the commission pointed to options including the elimination of programs, a reduction in weapons stockpiles and a reduction in troop sizes and deployment in order to shrink the growth.

“Leaders from the left, right and center agree on two major policy changes: The U.S. deficit must be reduced and the Pentagon budget can reverse its exponential growth while keeping Americans safe,” said task force member Paul Kawika Martin, policy and political director of Peace Action, a grassroots peace organization.

If Washington politicians is going to agonize about the national deficit (which they shouldn't until the economy gets back on its feet), at least these folks are looking at one of the right places: our bloated military. We currently account for nearly 50 percent of all the military spending in the world. It simply is not plausible that such an enormous excess over everyone else is necessary to keep us as safe as may be possible. (And that military was useless to protect us from moderately well-organized fanatics who were willing to die for their hatreds on 9/11.)

And this commission doesn't seem to have taken into account that we are paying for two ill-conceived, unnecessary wars. We ought to be able to find some savings by getting out of other peoples' countries.

So by all means, cut back the military to cut the deficit. And remember the other source of cash to do the job: tax the people who have the money -- the rich. That ought to help get us back in balance ...

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