The Washington Post

Which defense cuts would Romney reverse?

In his much-hyped national security speech this afternoon, Mitt Romney promised that on “day one,” he would “reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts.”

But, uh, which massive defense cuts? In 2008, the Department of Defense received $594 billion for military programs. In 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, it got $636 billion. In 2010, the Pentagon got a bit devilish and saw its budget increased to $666 billion. In 2011, the Obama administration requested $739 billion from Congress. And that doesn’t count the hundreds of billions in war funding the military has received.

(Richard Ellis/GETTY IMAGES)

Moreover, the big threat to military spending isn’t coming from the Democratic Party, which is traditionally terrified of cutting defense, but from the Republican Party, which has signaled a preference for defense cuts rather than tax increases. For instance: the clear and present danger to the Pentagon’s budget is the supercommittee’s trigger. Democrats wanted that trigger to be half spending and half taxes. Republicans refused, and negotiated a compromise that cut defense rather than raising taxes.

A world in which we can’t raise taxes is a world in which giant defense cuts are inevitable. But is Romney willing to say we should raise taxes?


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