A few months ago, Republicans spoke about all the terrors that would follow if taxes were increased. Now, politicians are running amok talking about the doom that would follow if sequestration, the automatic spending cuts that’d sink in due to the failure of the Super Committee, were to go into effect.
Recently, the Obama administration released its own version of what’d happen if sequestration took place. They say that meat plants would be unable to ship food due to a lack of food safety inspectors, weather satellites launches would be canceled, giving us no warnings for tornadoes or hurricanes, $598 million would be cut from assistance to disabled children, FBI agents would be furloughed, putting a halt to fingerprint and background checks, 398 national parks would see reductions in services, 128 wildlife refuges would be eliminated, airports would be without air traffic controllers, thirty thousand children would lose child care support, 125,000 low-income families would lose their housing assistance and be evicted, tax returns would not be sent out, aid to Israel would be cut, and $200 million in humanitarian aid would be eliminated.
All this doom and gloom because politicians refuse to do their jobs and pass a balanced budget. They refuse to cut the abundance of waste and inefficiency in government, so they spread scare tactics – no flight controllers, no food safety inspectors, no hurricane warnings, no aid to disabled children, and so on.
But even if sequestration goes through, the federal government would still be spending an enormous sum. In 2012 the federal government spent $3.7 trillion, and they’re slated to spend even more in 2013.
President Obama says spending cuts aren’t the solution; he wants more tax increases, even though taxes were increased in January due to the fiscal cliff. However, tax revenue in 2013, estimated at $2.9 trillion, is more than ever before in the history of the United States. The second highest year, 2008, saw $2.5 trillion in revenue. In other words, although the federal government is collecting more taxes than it ever has, it’s still not enough to satisfy the demands of Washington.
One particular area of contention is the effect sequestration would have on the military. Naysayers speak about the horrors that’ll follow if we cut military spending, with some saying Pearl Harbor would be vulnerable to attack. They talk about cuts to domestic bases, and how the result would devastate local communities and kill jobs. However, there are plenty of overseas bases the military could close.
As of 2012, the Department of Defense reported having 666 military sites overseas, including 54,246 buildings and 42,303 structures. Within the United States, the military operates 4,451 sites, 111 of which are large and 103 are medium-sized.
Military sites by state:
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 22
NEW HAMPSHIRE 11
NEW JERSEY 38
NEW MEXICO 48
NEW YORK 206
NORTH CAROLINA 95
NORTH DAKOTA 191
RHODE ISLAND 27
SOUTH CAROLINA 61
SOUTH DAKOTA 25
WEST VIRGINIA 39
UNITED STATES TOTAL 4,451
Additionally, the Department of Defense reported having overseas sites in the following countries:
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
In addition to those countries listed above, the United States has forces deployed in virtually every country in the world. Last week, the Obama administration announced the deployment of 100 troops to the African nation of Niger, to set up a base for drones which will be used to observe the growing fighting in neighboring Mali.
Why does the military have bases in Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, or Belgium? How do those bases protect the security of the United States? Why would they close bases in Nebraska, but keep bases in Belgium open?
Furthermore, why can’t the military cut over-cost and under-performing weapons systems? The F-22 Raptor has often been mentioned as a wasteful program, costing $150 million apiece. The F-35 Lightning II is even worse, costing upwards of $236 million apiece. The military has planned on buying 2,443 of them, buying fifty in the last three months, hoping to get the purchases in before sequestration takes place.
If government cannot live within its means, and the military can’t cut wasteful military programs and needless overseas bases, then we should absolutely let sequestration kick in and force them to rein in spending. Even then, we still won’t be near a balanced budget. We need serious spending cuts to make our budget sustainable, and sequestration would just be the first step. We have plenty of tax revenue, more than ever before in our history, so we don’t need new or higher taxes. We need to cut spending. And rather than saying there’ll be no air traffic controllers if spending is cut a single iota, government should cut inefficiency, fraud, needless expenditures, pork, and all other forms of waste from the budget.