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Radical left-wing advocacy groups including MoveOn.org are uniting this week to launch a multi-million-dollar lobbying campaign. They spuriously claim that the softening economy can be cured by cutting and running from Iraq, a key front in the war on terror, and redirecting war spending to big-government social programs.
“As long as we keep pouring that money down the drain in Iraq, we’ll never solve our economic woes,” claims MoveOn.org. “We won’t have the money to take care of people hurt by the economic downturn, or to invest in making our economy more competitive.”
This is completely wrong. In fact, according to a debunking prepared by Heritage experts, it is not spending on social programs but military spending that has the short end of the stick.
Domestic spending has actually grown faster than defense spending. Since 1990, federal outlays on domestic programs have increased 62 percent, nearly twice the 33 percent rise in defense and homeland security spending. The latter rose under President Bush, not only to respond to global terrorism, but also to make up for Clinton-era budget cuts that had left America’s military in danger of becoming a “hollow force.”
Defense spending is well below historical levels. At 4.0 percent of GDP, up from 3.0 percent when President Bush took office, current defense spending remains well below the 40-year average of 5.6 percent of GDP.
Health care and anti-poverty spending are already at record highs. Since 2001, antipoverty spending has increased 29 percent despite record-high employment.
In the last seven years, domestic discretionary spending increased 6.6 percent per year, on average. Had domestic spending increases been limited to “only” 38 percent during that time—5.5 percent annually—the budget would already be in balance. Proposals to pile on even more domestic spending in the name of “stimulus” will only put a balanced budget further out of reach.
cutting and running from Iraq
redirecting war spending to big-government social programs
Clinton-era budget cuts that had left America’s military in danger of becoming a “hollow force.