If fiscal responsibility calls for significant changes in the big federal entitlement programs, shouldn’t the defense budget face scrutiny and reductions as well?
That question comes up a lot when The Concord Coalition emphasizes the need for entitlement reform. The answer is, “Yes.”
About a fifth of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon, and it is clear that there are many opportunities to achieve significant savings without jeopardizing national security.
Petty turf wars, bureaucratic bloat, poor planning, lax bookkeeping, no-bid contracts, illogical personnel policies and simple extravagance all inflate the defense budget in ways that knowledgeable taxpayers understandably resent.
In addition, short-sighted members of Congress often champion unnecessary defense spending -- or at least turn a blind eye to it -- in deference to the special interests that stand to profit.
All of this adds to the nation’s fiscal imbalances and massive borrowing. That’s why The Concord Coalition supports careful review of the defense budget to identify reasonable reforms and spending cuts.
In calling for a bipartisan fiscal commission that would submit recommendations to Congress, for example, we have stressed the importance of giving the panel a broad mandate that puts everything on the table. That...