Speaker John Boehner said of the sequester, “A federal policy is set to go into effect that threatens U.S. national security.” But if that were really true, would he be so eager let it happen?
The truth is that the sequester cuts would shrink Pentagon spending to about the same amount we spent in 2006. This is still above that spent during the Cold War, according to a new report, ” Sequestration, the Pentagon and the State” (PDF) from the National Priorities Project, when the nation actually faced an existential threat from a military enemy.
Between 9/11 and 2011, U.S. defense spending grew 48 percent and is now greater than the total spending of the 16 next largest countries.
“For the $647.4 billion that the Pentagon is projected to spend in FY2013, we could provide the maximum $5,500 annual Pell Grant award to each of the nation’s 21.6 million college and university students for the next 5.4 years,” according to the NPP report.
Currently, defense makes up 57 percent of the nation’s discretionary spending.
The planned cuts to defense were put into the sequester in order to raise the chances that Republicans would choose to avert it. That prediction appears to have been faulty, as the House GOP is refusing to consider any alternative to the cuts that includes any deficit reduction from revenue.