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Brian J. Siebel

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Mitt Romney Favors Lots More Guns, Much Less Butter

Posted: 06/19/2012 9:00 pm

When Mitt Romney tries to sell the idea of a smaller federal government, he never talks about military spending, because on the guns side, his plan is to boost spending dramatically -- more than $2.1 trillion over the next ten years.  And that is just the "base budget" -- which he wants increased to 4 percent of GDP.  If Mitt starts a war with Iran, the increase could be more than twice that. (The cost of the Iraq war has been estimated at $3 trillion.)

If Romney is also able to keep his promise to cut taxes, mostly for the richest Americans, and balance the budget, the result would be a federal budget with non-military aspects of the budget, outside of Social Security, slashed by 29 percent by the end of his first term, and 59 percent over ten years.

By 2022, Romney's cuts would shrink non-defense discretionary spending -- which, over the past 50 years, has averaged 3.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and has not fallen below 3.2 percent -- to between 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent of GDP.

This chart maps military and domestic discretionary spending over the last 40 years.  Mitt Romney would boost guns and slash butter to the point where military spending would be three-to-four times larger than spending to meet human needs. The resultant disparity would be almost twice as large as existed during Ronald Reagan's term, when Reagan vastly increased military spending in an arms race with the Soviet Union, while slashing domestic spending.

In real terms, Romney would need to cut $3.3 trillion out of low-income programs over ten years.  The biggest cuts would be to Medicaid, which Romney would rapidly defund by turning it into a block-grant program.  He would cut food stamps (SNAP) by $133.5 billion, either by dropping 8 million people from the program, or cutting food support for everyone.  Families would also face steep cuts in job training, Pell grants for college, and housing assistance. It would move millions of families below the poverty line, and prevent tens of millions from obtaining health insurance, forcing perhaps a million families a year into bankruptcy.

Romney is dead set against raising taxes to pay for any of his planned military buildup, just as George W. Bush was, and we know how that turned out for the country's economy.

What's mystifying is why anyone would think this is good for the country.

 

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