“Buck” Starts Here

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Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, the California Republican who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, is out with his latest video on the perils of impending sequestration. It’s increasingly looking like mutual Russian roulette: the GOP doesn’t want the military’s future spending plans cut by $600 billion over the coming decade – atop the $487 billion already whacked from proposed Pentagon budgets over that period – but won’t consider raising taxes to fill the gap. Democrats insist such tax boosts are necessary to reduce the deficit and avoid the sequester, which both parties agreed to last year.

Once again, the video’s musical score is Oscar-worthy: a haunting piano solo plays for most of the video as McKeon warns of layoffs among troops and contractors amid the Democrats’ failure to act. But the music becomes sunny and bouncy near the end, when McKeon mentions President Reagan’s “peace through strength” mantra: “He understood that only with leaders who are willing to take responsibilty, and tell hard truths when they need telling, could that strength endure.”

Here’s a “hard truth” that goes unmentioned: the nation is spending more on its defenses now than it did during the Cold War, against far smaller foes.