What Defense Cuts?

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The fear-mongering about impending defense cuts is becoming deafening. Yet even if sequestration happens in January, the Congressional Budget Office says the Pentagon will still be spending as much as it did in 2006. While the cuts may be crude – that is how Congress wrote the law imposing it – they are not draconian.

Here’s a new and interesting CBO chart. All the sturm und drang is about the flat budget lines in the “FYDP Period” on the chart – Pentagon spending over the next five years. Only by turning your level upside down and standing on your head can you call those flat lines “cuts” in the normal taxpayer sense of the word.

But what’s really, ahem, priceless is another CBO chart.

It tracks the Pentagon’s current plans without sequestration, which would lop about $600 billion from the U.S. military’s bottom line over the coming decade. The Pentagon has been insisting for months that sequestration must be avoided because the military has already pared $487 billion from its 10-year spending plan. We’ve already cut so deeply, senior defense officials plead. Cutting more will endanger the nation’s security. Those cuts have been called “huge” by lawmakers who should know better. Here’s the CBO’s estimate from this chart of just how much the Pentagon’s procurement account will be cut from 2013 to 2017 under its current plans: