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July 30th, 2012
07:36 PM ET

Congress fears mandatory military budget cuts: How bad are the cuts?

There are just four days left until Congress takes a month-long recess, leaving the fiscal cliff hanging.

Dire consequences of the looming fiscal cliff include:

  • Tax cuts automatically expiring for everyone
  • Payroll taxes going up
  • Emergency unemployment benefits ending
  • $1.2 trillion in sequestration cuts, with about half of that sum coming from defense

β€œThe obligation of the commander-in-chief is to act like the commander-in-chief and that would be to prevent these cuts, which, in the words of his own secretary of defense would devastate our national security,” said Senator John McCain at a recent town hall meeting in Virginia.

However, CNN's Erin Burnett points out that previous commanders in chief have done a lot more than President Barack Obama may be about to do. A chart from the Center for American Progress and the Department of Defense outlines how the country has been in this dilemma before:

  • Ronald Reagan cut defense spending by about 10%
  • George H.W. Bush continued those cuts at about 18%
  • Bill Clinton did start to increase defense spending, but it still ended lower than where it was when he took office with a cut of 5%

Overall, defense spending is higher now than it was during the Cold War and during Vietnam. So, asks Burnett, β€œDo the claims of national security disaster add up when it comes to the sequestration?”

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Filed under: Economy • OutFront Deconstruct • Politics
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Christine

    These Defense cuts are real, I am out of a job and there are MANY more people I work with who are being thrown out on the street because of this. It's only going to get worse.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply

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