Friday, July 23, 2010

Marc Thiessen lies about defense spending "cuts"

This is a theme that gets repeated a lot, but I'll pick on Marc Thiessen for repeating it. Here he is at The Corner today:

The New York Times has a front-page story today on the growing momentum on Capitol Hill to cut defense spending. It is not surprising that in an age when the Democrats are showering money on almost every domestic initiative known to man, the one area they would seek spending cuts is the defense budget.

But Thiessen is lying. Let's look at the New York Times story for an explaination:

Mr. Gates is calling for the Pentagon’s budget to keep growing in the long run at 1 percent a year after inflation, plus the costs of the war. It has averaged an inflation-adjusted growth rate of 7 percent a year over the last decade (nearly 12 percent a year without adjusting for inflation), including the costs of the wars. So far, Mr. Obama has asked Congress for an increase in total spending next year of 2.2 percent, to $708 billion — 6.1 percent higher than the peak under the Bush administration.

Get that: The Pentagon budget isn't going down. It's just not going to go up much, much faster than the rate of inflation. Instead, if the president and Robert Gates have their way, the budget will grow only slightly faster than the rate of inflation. That's still growth. And given that the United States is still spending as much as the rest of the world, combined, on its military -- well, that hardly represents a shirking of the "common defense" that Thiessen makes it out to be.

1 comment:

Monkey RobbL said...

Unfortunately, this is a "technique" used routinely by both sides in partisan debate. The Democrats did this a lot in the 90's when the Republicans wanted to slow growth of several programs. Democratic partisans kept referring to these as "cuts" even though the programs were growing, just at a slower rate. I have no idea who started this trend of deceptive spin, but all sides are guilty of it.