McCain to Cut Defense Spending?

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 15:04


According a Forbes article, McCain's economic advisor suggests that he will pay for a corporate tax cut by cutting defense spending:

McCain's top economic adviser, Doug Holtz-Eakin, blithely supposes that cuts in defense spending could make up for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and the subsequent shrinkage in federal revenues. Get that? The national security candidate wants to cut spending on our national security. Wait until the generals and the admirals hear that.

If true, this would be a much bigger bombshell that McCain's remarks on Iraq withdrawal. Unlike Forbes, it isn't the hypocrisy of being "tough" on national security while suggesting cuts in defense spending that would be a big deal. Instead, it would be a big deal because it has the potential to create a bi-partisan consensus in this election on the need to cut the defense budget in 2009.

Obama should jump all over this, and argue that if we are going to cut defense spending, it should not be to pay for a corporate tax break, but instead to invest in American infrastructure, health care, and a new energy economy. He should also argue that McCain won't actually cut defense spending, because his refusal to withdraw from Iraq would make a reduction in defense spending impossible.

71% of Americans already think that Iraq is hurting the economy, which as a nation moves us down the path of realizing that excessive military spending is damaging to the economy and our standard of living. Obama has already argued that Iraq is hurting the economy, and now McCain's campaign is doing something very similar. This is a huge opening for a progressive re-organization of federal spending, and Obama needs to move into it as quickly as possible.  

Chris Bowers :: McCain to Cut Defense Spending?

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McCain will back track from that .. (4.00 / 1)
so fast .. it'll make your head spin .. Obama doesn't even want to cut defense spending in the short term ... so I don't know how much Obama will be able to get out of this McCain gaffe

Correct (4.00 / 2)
McCain will strongly disavow this comment or say that his advisor was talking about only eliminating waste or some such.

And yes Obama says he'd increase the Pentagon budget in the short term, partially to pay for the 92,000 new troops that he and George Bush want.

There are no opponents of militarism and empire in the race, but then what did you expect?


[ Parent ]
Agreed--look for the walkback (0.00 / 0)
How will he pay for his Permanent Occupation Force in Iraq (POFI)?  He says he wants more troops, not less, and that once the place is safe, the POFI will stay forever.  How can he cut the4 defense budget?  Plus, defense contractors are the real GOP base.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Obama should keep it simple (4.00 / 1)
How is McCain going to cut defense spending if he's not willing to even scale down operations in Iraq?

Just call Bullshit.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


oh and if he wants to be a little mean (4.00 / 1)
Obama should suggest that maybe McCain still hasn't had a chance to brush up on economics yet.

Dems should dog McCain appearances and try to deliver him a copy of Greenspan's book. Not that its a good book.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


[ Parent ]
Why? (4.00 / 1)
That would miss the opportunity to move actual progressive ideas closer to reality. Maybe, "I agree with Senator McCain that we won't be able to balance the budget without cutting our wasteful defense spending, but I wonder how he squares that position with spending a gazillion dollars a day in Iraq?" That would hit both points.

Taking political cheap-shots when your oponent says something that would be really, really good is the type of politics I thought Obama was all about moving past.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.


[ Parent ]
Win without risk (0.00 / 0)
If he just says the whole thing doesn't add up he gets to slam McCain and cast him as a pandering clueless senile nut case.

If he tries to stake out some broader policy position then he's opening a policy debate - which distracts and possibly gives McCain a way out from being framed as crazy.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


[ Parent ]
Actually (4.00 / 2)
one could cut multi billions of dollars from defense spending without shorting Iraq by eliminating no longer needed Cold War era weapons systems.

Will that happen? Probably not because of the contractors it will affect. But it is still a viable area to cut defense spending in. So one cannot say if you cut Defense spending you short Iraq. That just isn't true.


[ Parent ]
Viable, yes, but (0.00 / 0)
it opens him for strong national security attacks from the right.  Obama is not the candidate to embrace controversy.

[ Parent ]
Simple (0.00 / 0)
Ask McCain to provide his budget calculations supporting his claim that he can cut military spending while still paying for his 100-year plan for occupying Iraq.

If he gives your answer: "cut unnecessary cold war-era weapons systems" (is there another answer?), then he'll be on the outs with his corporate base.  Of course, nothing can stop him from lying to the voters about cutting the Pentagon budget, while his campaign staff winks and nods to the corporo-military contractors, assuring them that he's "just talking".


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
This is a very important issue to me (4.00 / 1)
and one of my major frustrations with Obama.  I say that as a person who is considering voting for Nader.  The "bloated military budget" is one of his key planks.  I don't know if Obama cares, but by moving a little left on this issue could help pull in some Nader supporters (by saying for instance that we should move to reduce the military budget once we take care of Iraq, so we don't keep spending 10 times as much on the military as any other country in the world; China and everyone else is busy building infrastructure, etc).

[ Parent ]
I Agree! (4.00 / 2)
This is a great opportunity for Obama to show his bi-partisanship by embracing McCain's defense cuts. And I agree, he should argue the money should go to healthcare and renewable energy.

Not a gaffe (0.00 / 0)
This could be a tactical blunder, but McCain taking on excessive defense spending is not a gaffe.  One of the few remaining good things you can say about McCain is that he has a consistent record of opposing defense boondoggles, as Robert Scheer has pointed out on numerous occasions.

Obviously there are a million better things to use those savings for than a corporate tax cut.


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