06 October 2012

Presidential Politics and Defense Budgets

The Economist has a look at the political differences in defense spending.

From a purely political perspective, neither candidate has so far cared to make much noise about national security. For Barack Obama, it is a potentially weak flank that he has been able to protect by taking credit for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and by his willingness to conduct a remarkably ruthless assassination-by-drone campaign against al-Qaeda fighters in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. For Mitt Romney, too much time spent attacking Mr Obama for being weak on defence means less time spent hammering home his much more central message that he would be a far more competent manager of the economy. Nor can Mr Romney, unlike his predecessor as Republican nominee, John McCain, claim any connection with the armed forces—although eligible for the draft, Mr Romney never served.

The one area where there is a clear division between the candidates is over future defence spending. Under the terms of the Budget Control Act (BCA) passed last year, the administration has agreed to reduce the Pentagon’s planned expenditure by $487 billion over the next decade. The cuts will be painful, but after the huge rises in spending of the Bush years and against the urgent need to take action on the deficit, many experts and military brass regard the slowdown as justifiable and manageable.

By: Brant

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