Would Romney Spend The Nation Into Debt To Increase Defense Spending? Yes, He Would
Left with a choice between their hawkish foreign policy and their supposed commitment to fiscal conservatives, Republicans will, without fail, spend the nation into debt.
David Frum pushes back against those who take the position that a Romney Administration would engage in a far more aggressive and expansive foreign policy than the Obama Administration has:
If we’ve learned anything from this campaign, it is the supreme overarching importance to Republicans of tax reduction. The current proposal is to make permanent the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and then go further with an additional cut to a maximum top rate of 28%.
Of course, George W. Bush cut taxes while mounting a very aggressive foreign policy. But here’s the difference: over the past five years, the Republicans voting base of older voters has suddenly become acutely conscious that today’s deficit implies tomorrow’s tax increase. (Robert Barro, collect your Nobel Prize.) Mitt Romney seems to have internalized that argument too. And if your top priority is reducing debt so as to obviate the tax threat – well, the sheer daunting cost of foreign policy entanglements will temper your adventurism.
It will temper in particular your enthusiasm for an Iran adventure. An Iran war will be a big war. The contingency plans for an Iran war include the possibility of a breakdown of civil order in Iran and the deployment of foreign peacekeepers. I know this is utterly hypothetical. But imagine the reaction around the briefing table in a Romney Situation Room when the generals introduce such a topic – and a Romney OMB chair unveils the cost. The very fact that the Bush administration low-balled the cost of Iraq will bias a Romney administration to worry about high-cost scenarios.
I’m not sure what crystal ball Frum is looking into here, but it strikes me that he may want to take it back for a refund. Romney has already said that he wants to delay the defense sequestration cuts while Republican Senators and Members of Congress have said they want to outright eliminate them. Here in Virginia, eliminating the defense sequestration cuts has been a major theme of George Allen’s Senatorial campaign against Tim Kaine. In his famous 59 point plan, Romney has proposed defense budget increases totally $2.1 trillion over ten years and has spoken of massive expansion of the Navy based largely on false premises about our current Naval capabilities. Meanwhile, the defense lobbyists that are whispering in Republican (and Democratic) ears are spreading the false argument that the military budget must be sacrosanct because it is, in reality, a jobs program. This is what Mitt Romney and, more importantly, the Congressional Republicans that would be voting on budgets under a Romney Administration, believes in and it makes Frum’s attempt to reassure those of us concerned about the direction of foreign policy may take under a Romney Administration seem kind of foolish.
One need only look to history to see how conservatives actually feel about the balance between their supposed commitment to fiscal conservatism and the hawkish militarism that has come to represent the mainstream of Republican foreign policy thought in recent years. During the Reagan Administration, defense spending was increased dramatically as part of a more assertive foreign policy at the same time that taxes were cut in an effort to stimulate the economy. One of the results was dramatically higher deficits, although I think most of us would gladly return to the days of $250 billion per year deficits after four consecutive years of deficits over a trillion dollars. Twenty years later, President George W. Bush implemented two rounds of tax cuts even after the nation was thrust into war after the most destructive and deadly attack on American territory since Pearl Harbor. Two years later, the nation embarked on a voluntary, and I’d submit totally unnecessary, second war in Iraq. At no time did anyone in the Bush Administration or the Republican Party talk about repealing the Bush Tax Cuts to pay for the costs of the war, or increasing taxes in some way to accomplish that tax. There were no serious suggestions about cutting spending either. Instead, the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress passed a massive new entitlement program called Medicare Part D, a law that massively increased Federal involvement in K through 12 education, and many, many other bills that increased Federal spending. Instead, we financed all that spending, and both wars, entirely on debt.
Frum also seems to think that Romney would be deterred from war against Iran by a OMB director showing him a few spreadsheets. This strikes me as overly optimistic, and I would have thought that someone like Frum who has been critical of the current state of the GOP would know better. With foreign policy advisers like Dan Senor and, potentially, John Bolton whispering in his ear, and the possibility (as some have suggested) that Joe Lieberman could end up being Secretary of Defense in a Romney Administration, does anyone really think that mere money is going to deter Republican hawks from something they’ve been wanting to do for years? I find that kind of hard to believe. Left with a choice between their hawkish pro-Israel foreign policy, not to mention the chance to blow up a lot of stuff, and their supposed fiscal conservatism, you can always count on Republicans to just let the debt pile up and say that they’re doing it in the name of “national security.”
For the Republicans deficits are only a problem when the Democrats are in charge. A large part of the defense budget is little more than welfare for defense contractors. Before the invasion and occupation of Iraq Cheney’s Halliburton was near bankruptcy – now it’s sitting pretty.
How much more evidence is needed before conservatives understand that the GOP is not serious about the deficit? I mean this is right up there with believing in the tooth fairy.
@ Ron Beasley
RE: Halliburton – I don’t know how you can say that. Everyone knows Obama invented crony capitalism.
On defense spending there’s no doubt that Romney not only is dosing on mescaline but that he chased that down with a hit from a crack pipe and then he jumped the shark tank while juggling chainsaws and poodles. Seriously.
DOD can and should be cut. More spending on the Navy? Well, yeah, on next generation attack submarines and guided missile cruisers, not aircraft carriers. Overall, however, like every other federal department and agency, DOD spends far too much money. That needs to change. Pronto.
His position on defense spending is one of the greatest problems I have with Romney. I believe that the notion that we can’t cut defense spending without compromising our national security is either stupidity or sophistry. The only other alternative is that he believes that everything we’re doing now and then some is absolutely necessary. I have problems with that, too.
Even if I could agree with Romney’s other policies (and I find his desire to regulate morals problematic, to say the least), I could never vote for him because he’s a ticking financial time bomb. Increase defense spending while cutting back on taxes during a time when there’s a huge deficit. In what alternative reality can this be considered financially responsible?
The best that can be said for Romney is that he’d probably change his opinions on that and every other issue several times a day, so there’s a non-zero chance that he’d never carry it out because his opinions will have changed (brownian motion and all that).
I dislike Obama’s economics, among other things. I think Obama has done a bad job on much of it (the bank bailouts for instance). But if Romney keeps his promises, he’ll be far worse.
DOD can and should be cut. On this issue Romney is smoking crack.
But, but, @moderatemom and others have lectured us about how Romney and the Republicans are the *only* ones who are serious about reducing the national debt.
But, but, all of the deficit problems are the fault of the 2006 elected Democratic congress and possibly G.W. … That’s what @Jan told me!
Meanwhile, in the richest country in the world roads and bridges are literally crumbling, highways are oversubscribed and public transportation is essentially non-existent aside from a handful of cities on the east and west coasts – and even those cities have aging systems requiring massive investments in the next year or two.
We could scrap a single advanced weapons program and fund a huge share of the domestic programs for which reasonable people are advocating. Why doesn’t my country believe that to be worthwhile? You want to talk about jobs programs? That plan would create jobs at one or two orders of magnitude higher than defense contractors do.
We could even go crazier and throw a little of that money at education – then you would even have American workers qualified to do those jobs, and they would then form this economic group a “middle class”.
I rarely agree with you (and still think you are wrong to throw away your vote), but you have nailed Romney. If he wins and the Senate goes Republican, in 4 years, we will wish we had the deficit we have today.
I simply do not understand the support of so-called Conservative intellectuals for this madness. It makes Creationism seem sane by comparison..
Spend the nation into debt? Gee nitwit, like Barry Hussein did?
So, basically no difference between Romney and Bush – tax cuts to pay for increased defense commitments.
Frum is playing you. He may be reasonable in all other aspects but when it comes to foreign policy, Frum has one concern. Israel.
What the world, needs now, is bombs, sweet bombs.
Seriously, what new ability to kill people do we really need? In a sense, the Republicans are correct that defense is a massive jobs program. The only minor problem is all that military technology we export is used to kill more people, often our own or our allies’.
So then Doug – tell us again why you plan on voting for this guy.
You forgot the “Soetero”. Was your tin-foil hat on too tight? There should be some sort of rule that requires people to back up their ridiculous assertions with, you know, facts.
Who said I’m voting for him?
Sorry sweetie, but Reagan and Bush II beat Barry to that particular punch…
And this is why the chart showing where our current debt comes from is necessary. It is basically an article of faith for the GOP that our current deficit is all result of Democratic spending and the Bush tax cuts, wars and recession played no part. No amount of Democratic friendly spin about the chart comes close to the flat out lies the GOP are pushing.
As others have said, it’s the spending in combination with the tax cuts that are galling.
$3.4 trillion in debt from new tax cuts. We have to elect him to see what, if anything, he’d do elsewhere in the tax law to improve that impact.
Anne, the more ‘unhelpful’ checks you get only means you have better insight. It’s the paradox of this site.
I’ve been watching some of the speeches at the convention, and what a positive ring they have to them. Tonight Condoleezza Rice was like a sage, giving a masterful rendition of where the country is at under Obama, and where it needs to go under a new administration. Ryan followed, and he was equally awesome. The ticket of Romney/Ryan has value and authenticity attached in it’s message, no matter what the grouches on OTB say.
Oh sure she did…I notice she didn’t mention how far into the ditch the country went under the administration she served…and it is beyond amusing that many of the people listening to her in that hall would probably consider her a RINO…
Yes, full of equally awesome lies…
Writes OTB’s Queen of Delusion…
Interesting. This “sage” was with Bush at the highest levels as his administration lurched from disaster to disaster. She was right in the middle of the Iraq debacle – over 5000 of our troops dead. Thousands of others wounded. A trillion dollars gone – money that could have paid for roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and cops on the street right her in America. And the end result? Iraq is a pro-Iran state. Oh, and Cheney’s good friends at Halliburton made billions.
Yes, we know exactly where Mr. Romney wants to take us. Back to the days of a neocon foreign policy and spend, spend, and go broke budgeting. A blank check for the oil companies, and a blank check for the pentagon – something President Eishenhower warned us about.
@jan: Jan, you are an idiot. I’ll let others take you down on policy (and enjoy it when they do) but I’m going to attack you on style (and grammar). This is not the 7th grade, these things actually matter so trying to cheer lead your way through won’t cut it. My suggestion is that you read what you type out loud before your post it. If it sounds stupid when you say it then it will sound even more stupid when others read it.
@An Interested Party:
You know what, I don’t care how much of a wet blanket you want to be tonight. The speeches at the GOP convention were great. Rice was incredible (without a teleprompter too). Her intelligence dwarfs Obama’s. And, Ryan came off as being a new more credible leader on the block. Mine you, not a politician type, but someone who is the guy next door type who wants to turn the country around. I know this all sounds so naive to you sophisticates around here. But the US was originated by people like Ryan in the first place, rebelling against the elites like Obama and many of you (ironically).
No, you are the idiot. I’ve read and tolerated your rants. And, they are non-sensical, just like you are!
Yup, the US was originated by rich white men rebelling against black men who were born to a single mother, until they could found a country where finally, finally, a rich white man could get a break.
Ummm. Has Ryan ever had a job outside of government?
If you live in a neighborhood where most of the people have inherited wealth, yes.
he knows how to balance a budget, unlike obama. he’s a proven success too, unlike obama. yes, obama is a failure, deal with it.
Are you really a bumpkin, or do you just play one on a blog? Romeny & Ryan are both bona fide members of the elite class in this country. Obama is a self-made man. Granted his grandparents were reasonably well off, but they were not rich.
Saying day is night and black is white does not make it so.
Obama is a best selling author and a self-made millionaire. What do you do for a living?
I love that Jan thinks she’s smart.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Certainly I couldn’t hope to match the wet blanket you’ll be when the Democrats meet in Charlotte…
If that is truly the case, isn’t it a pity for you that Republicans would never, ever allow her to be part of a GOP presidential ticket…
Oh absolutely! He was full of credible lies…
Umm, sorry sweetie, but that argument didn’t work with Sarah Palin and it certainly won’t work with Paul Ryan…
First, Ryan is running for political office, not guy next door and has been a politician basically his entire life. Sounds you think he’s not qualified and should rethink his profession. Secondly, Ryan and Romney are the elites, and not understanding that is beyond comprehension. If they are not elite, the word has no meaning. Is this some sort of bizarre performance art where you’re trying to see how ridiculous you can sound before everyone decides there’s no possible way you actually mean what you’re saying?
The US was originated by people who fought the greatest military power on the earth, and won. They put literally everything they had on the line. Their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor.
Ryan likes to kill deer. They can’t fight back.
Doug wrote: “This strikes me as overly optimistic, and I would have thought that someone like Frum who has been critical of the current state of the GOP would know better.”
Frum does know better, but since Romney has on the same jersey that Frum wears Frum will vote for him no matter how stupid his policy proposals. See James Joyner.
Some information on Ryan family wealth & connections
Turns out he is not really an average Joe after all. Jan will be shocked…
You obviously don’t read anything from any other authors than Republicans. There are sites that review political statements for the facts are award them a rating. Generally, the Republicans don’t receive high ratings for being truthful and above board. And I’m not saying the Dems are always truthful either but it seems, in the balance of things, that Republicans are more untruthful. Check out factchecking.org and politico.com.
Madelyn Dunham raised Obama in a two-bedroom apartment, and she was still living in that same apartment at the time of her death in 2008 (link). The place is probably not much larger than Mitt’s car elevator.
I’m not sure that living 40 years or more in a two-bedroom apartment even meets the threshold of “reasonably well off.”
do you have a cite for the Halliburton being near bankruptcy. Halliburton had more than defense spending and has always been an oilfield company first. maybe you are referring to the Asbestos claims when Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries but what does that have to do with defense contracting?
The question is how to the Democrats talk about jobs while proposing big job cuts in the Defense Sector along with the coming job cuts in healthcare. In addition, how does President Obama talk about the need for more STEM degrees at the same time that the defense department and its contractors are talking about laying off a huge number of scientist and engineers. How does the Obama Administration talk about jobs for veterans at the same time that the defense sector, the biggest employer of veterans, being cut.
Of course Defense needs to be cut but it will be far from painless and makes many other policies of the Obama Administration harder to accomplish.
Of course the Democrats want to talk about helping infrastructure while proposing open border poliices such as the Dream Act. One cannot hope to improve infrastructure while holding the door open to the world.
This is hilariously untrue. Paul Ryan voted for every single one of Bush the Lessor’s budget-busting policies. He pushed for the tax cuts to be larger. Cut taxes, check. Increase military budget w/o paying for it, check. Medicare Part D? Sure!
Balanced budget? What, in highschool, when he was getting social security survivor benefits?
The guy’s a total fraud.
This just about takes the effing cake. Bravo, Jan. It’s like you’re in a competition to post the most nonsensical stuff possible.
The USA was originated by the elite of the colonies leading a rebellion against the home country, over preferential tax treatment given to the East India Company (corporate cronyism, the early version) and lack of representation in parliament (which had, obviously, enabled said cronyism). Men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson… these were not the salt of the Earth. They were the elite of their day. If you want to pick out a more common type, you can find one (Tom Paine, but watch out he tended to write craaaazy things about the danger of letting rich people run everything).
Obama is only elite by virtue of his election to high office. He wasn’t born to it, unlike Mitt Romney or even (to a much lesser degree) Paul Ryan. Trying to make the GOP ticket out to be some sort of populist rebellion against “elites” (a word you clearly do not understand) is ridiculous. And, of course, all of these men are now wealthy.
If you really want to get into strained historical parallels, the closest resemblence is not the revolution of 1776, but the failed rebellion of 1861. Wealthy planters organizing a pre-emptive strike against what they saw as a revolution (the birth and growth of the “Black” Republican Party, and its victory in the 1860 elections). They feared and loathed the changes they saw coming down the pike, as the Northern free soil states out-grew them (both in population and economically), and decided that, rather than wait, they had to strike then and there, before it was too late, and demographics had sealed their fate. They were the reactionaries of their day, making their desperate stand against mid-19th century progressivism (GOP in 1860 = public education, public investment in infrastructure, free labor, social mobility). And who was the leader of the GOP in 1860? Abraham Lincoln, a guy who had worked his way up from humble beginnings and had a tendency to say things like
But I recognize that none of that matters.
What matters is what Paul Ryan, Condi Rice, et al. made Jan feel. Facts? Meh.
Republican politicians are also the problem of America being so far in debt and not just the Democratic Party. One got billions of dollars for undeclared, foreign wars and the other party got billions for the nanny state. No difference.
Where is the outrage any more by Americans? The colonist went to war over a 1 cent tea tax. I think they would be ashamed of us right now for not taking a stand. Just read this book & it’s inspiring to see Americans taking a stand against the corrupt system now ruling over us. A Time To Stand by Oliver. I recommend it.
I have yet to meet one American totally excited about Romney. Even Obama’s supporters get excited with his campaign, but no one gets excited about Romney. We may have to vote for Romney only to oust Obama, but then that is a negative vote for Republicans instead of a positive vote.
In other news, the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west.
ps: let me point out the delicious irony of Mitt picking winners and losers here… Hey, I guess both sides really do, do it.
In my attempt at brevity (heh), I missed some details.
The full version:
Guys, I suggest that everyone remember that like the Romney Campaign, @Jan’s opinion will not be “dictated by fact checkers” or bound by any pesky “facts.”
So, for example, note that all of her comments here have absolutely *nothing* to do with the fact of this thread, that Romney’s policies will only serve to INCREASE THE VERY DEBT that she keeps blaming the democrats for.
Ok, just re-read @jan comment and really need to understand her thinking in one particular section:
Can you please, PLEASE, explain how Obama is an “Elite” and Romney and Ryan are not?
So much ‘class warfare’ Jan, you need to calm down.
Ryan’s family was very well, not salt of the earth hod-carrying laborers.
I’d rather not elect him to find out. I wouldn’t be surprised if his plan to pay for all of this was the elimination of the mortgage interest tax deduction (after all, according to conservatives, isn’t it time for the middle class to start paying taxes?)
Doug: “I’m not sure what crystal ball Frum is looking into here, but it strikes me that he may want to take it back for a refund. ”
Well, it’s the Daily Beast, home of the mancrush on blatantly lying right-wingers. I guess in the end Frum *is* a Republican, in that he’ll look at numbers which don’t add up, and claim that they do.
@anjin-san: “How much more evidence is needed before conservatives understand that the GOP is not serious about the deficit? I mean this is right up there with believing in the tooth fairy.”
Well, for some people (and I’m surprised to see Frum in that group), there is no amount of evidence which will suffice.
@superdestroyer: um, a lot of us with STEM degrees might decide to not work for the military for the very simple reason that the jobs defense constractors offer have nothing to do with our specialities.
Average guy Mitt Romney’s Houses
He’s not some elite like that Obama…
Did you actually read that before you posted it? You’re saying the US was originated by rich white guys rebelling against middle class black academics. Your history texts must be very different than any I’ve seen.
@anjin-san: let’s see- taking clintons idea of writing books so your cronies will buy them in bulk (like bribes) is very sleazy- just like he is. obama joins the 1% while in office, that’s the American way to those who think like him. the rest of us work for a living and pay taxes so he can disperse them to his voters.
Oh absolutely…that must be why so many conservatives have mastered that particular talent…
I guess whatever part of STEM you work in does not understand supply and demand. If the DoD and its contractors lay off 100K+ engineers, chemist, biologist, physicist, and programmers, then those people will be forced to look for jobs else where. That means that a large number of people applying for every job opening.
If every chemist or biologist job opening is get 50 people to apply for it, why should the government have a program or policy to encourage people to go into those fields. Why not have a program to discourage people from going into fields with high unemployment rates and lousy job prospects.