The New York Times has a front-page story today on the growing momentum on Capitol Hill to cut defense spending. It is not surprising that in an age when the Democrats are showering money on almost every domestic initiative known to man, the one area they would seek spending cuts is the defense budget.
By contrast, the one area where the GOP has traditionally supported increased government spending is national defense. With the brief exception of the ill-considered post–Cold War “peace dividend,” since the 1970s the Republican party has consistently supported increased investments in national defense. But now there are some troubling rumblings on the right that if the GOP takes power in November, defense should not be exempt from the budget-cutting knife.
Earlier this week, I asked Rep. Paul Ryan during his outstanding talk at the American Enterprise Institute what a GOP Congress would do when it comes to the defense budget. Ryan said that while the Pentagon should not be exempt from the scalpel, and there is plenty of waste to be found, any savings should be plowed back into the core mission of the department — and the GOP should seek net increases in defense spending. You can see his full comments here.
This is important. The movement for fiscal responsibility is vital to the long-term survival of our way of life — but it must not come at the expense of the fundamental responsibility of government to “provide for the common defense.” With growing threats such as a nuclear Iran, a rising China, and the continuing danger of terrorist attack, increased defense investments are something every constitutional conservative should support.