Using the handy historical tables of the budget the White House put out today, I created this graph to show just how radical Barack Obama's agenda to disarm America and surrender to the terrorists really is:
The administration is requesting just under $750 billion for defense for next year, or over $2,400 for every man, woman, and child in America. Though there's plenty of waste in the Pentagon, the reason the defense budget is so large isn't $1,000 ashtrays. It's that we've come to accept that the United States has an obligation to extend its military reach to every corner of the globe, as Matt Yglesias reminds us. Most of this has little to do with "defense" in the real meaning of the term, except in the most tangential way.
It's clear that the administration has no intention of challenging that fundamental idea. I suppose it's possible that in their heart of liberal hearts, they'd love to cut the defense budget in half and spend the money on schools, health care, and other leftist boondoggles. But a Democratic administration is never going to do that, because they're afraid of looking "soft." I suppose it's possible that a future Republican president might make a genuine change in our defense posture, insulated as he or she would be from those charges. But I'm not holding my breath.
In the end, when it comes to defense, we can nibble around the edges -- cut an unneeded airplane here, an outdated weapons system there. But when even a Democratic president talks about freezing "nondefense discretionary spending," as though freezing defense discretionary spending is so absurd it need not even be contemplated, that line is going to continue to go up.
-- Paul Waldman
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