COMMENTARY | During the annual State of the Union address, President Obama announced his plans to cut nearly five hundred billion dollars from the defense budget. The move, anticipated for weeks, came as no surprise to Democrats or Republicans. As early as December of last year, Republicans were working to block the proposed reductions.
There are conflicting reports as to whether the decrease in military spending is a true cut, or simply a drop in projected spending increases. According to Dick Armey, a former congressional representative, under Obama’s plan, the defense budget will continue to rise in cost. He says it will just rise at a slower rate than it has been. Armey maintains that the so called “cuts” will actually come from inflated projections created by the Congressional Budget Office that reflect more than the actual amount of funding that will occur. Representative Howard P. McKeon of California said the non-existent cuts were dangerous and irresponsible.
In a recent interview with Fox News, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the cuts created a doomsday scenario that would lead to dangerous across-the-board defense cuts that would weaken our country. Panetta would prefer cuts to Medicare and Social security entitlement programs to keep the defense budget intact. The Secretary of Defense intends to protect the technological aspects of protection. Cyberspace, Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and surveillance will not be included in areas that are curtailed, and will receive full funding.
Small defense contractors in North Carolina are preparing for a hard hit when the defense cuts become reality. A report in the News Observer places the amount of prime military contracts received by contractors in the state at 3.6 billion dollars in 2010. These contractors make everything from body armor to parachutes to weapons components.
The perplexity for America continues. Politician and citizen alike know the country’s finances are spinning out of control. Democrat and republican each throw their own ideas into the ring as the best solution while condemning the propositions of their alter egos. The debate goes on and the problem increases. To date, the correct solution to our angst remains a mystery veiled in uncertainty. The deficit keeps growing, jobs remain in short supply, tempers keep flaring and insecurity mounts.