Budget deficits were a big topic of discussion during the 2010 fall elections, with polls showing that a majority of Americans think reducing the deficit is more important than stimulus spending even though economists like Ben Bernake, Timothy Geithner, Paul Krugman, and many others insist that short term deficit spending is the only way to move us out of the recession and create jobs.
Just before the election we felt that this focus on deficits might give us a unique opportunity to achieve real cuts to the military budget. Over 3000 AFSC supporters rallied to get their representatives to sign on to the Frank-Paul letter recommending specific cuts to the military budget to the Deficit Reduction Commission, which is set to release their report on December 1: Fifty-five members of Congress signed the letter.
Representative Paul D. Ryan (R-Wisc) is probably going to become the next chair of the House Budget Committee, and he is also a member of the Deficit Reduction Commission and the author of the Roadmap for America's Future. Representative Ryan would like to privatize Social Security, cut Medicare and Medicaid, and has repeatedly voted against the SCHIP program. Says Fortune Magazine of Ryan, "the volume will be turned up on Ryan's ideas and therefore his ability to shape the debate."
We cannot seriously address government spending without cutting the military budget, which makes up 59% of the discretionary budget, by far the largest single category in the discretionary budget.