The Fiscal Cliff — Seize the Day, Cut Military Spending Now

The U.S. defense budget, worldwide military overreach, and the influence of the military-industrial complex — these are the root of America’s economic and debt crisis.

Not Social Security, not Medicare, not Medicaid, not government pensions, not anything else you want to label as “entitlements.”

If we hadn’t fought two wars on the taxpayer credit card, the American economy would be just fine right now. Out bloated military spending probably exceeds all the other industrialized nations combined. As long as military spending remains unchecked, the U.S. budget crisis will continue. All of the above, of course, is only my feeble opinion. However, plenty of people smarter than me have come to the same conclusion.

Now that the election is over, the panicked mob clamors for President Obama to broker a solution to the “Fiscal cliff.”

Here’s the thing: This “Fiscal cliff” might be our last, best chance to apply the brakes to military spending.

Jon Taplin, a professor at the University of Southern California, has a clear grasp on the American political and economic crisis. Here’s Taplin’s recommendation:

“The Fiscal Cliff — My advice would be to do nothing during the lame duck session. Let the Bush Tax cuts expire and let the sequester kick in, effecting the first major cut in defense spending in 60 years. Then in January with a slightly stronger Democratic Senate, push for a middle class tax cut combined with some tax reform that eliminates corporate tax breaks and try to revive the Jobs Act to spur some of the lost government fiscal stimulus. The economy is recovering and so private demand will take up some of the slack.”

Taplin is talking common sense. (You can read his blog here.) The Fiscal cliff is not a natural disaster. It appears to be the best formula our representatives can come up with to constructively address our economic problems.

The Fiscal cliff would give America a taste of “Austerity.” I’m against Austerity as a matter of principle. But a little Austerity, in moderation, might wake America up. A little Austerity right now can avert a whole lot of Austerity in the near future.

Mr. President, don’t lose courage now. Stand strong. Keep the pressure on for reform. Go over the cliff on Jan. 1. And then get serious about real tax reform.

— John Hayden

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