Our nation’s military is the most advanced and battle-hardened fighting force in history. The proficiency of the American men and women who serve in uniform is respected around the world. Their ability to get the job done is unmatched, and their sacrifice to our country is an inspiration to us all.
Economy & Budget
The shadow play over a coming defense sequester is in high gear. Last week at a Bloomberg defense conference Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) clearly had their lines down. Each waxed at high pitch about how disastrous a sequester next year would be for our defense capabilities and our global role. Contracts would be canceled, troops laid off and workers fired in droves.
“Sequestration” might be classic “inside the Beltway” jargon, but the issue has the potential to have a real impact on the 2012 presidential election if it’s tied to something that has everyone’s attention: jobs.
The looming Sequestration is one of the biggest threats facing our nation today. Without swift action a law that was enacted to serve as a threat to the failed “Supercommitte” will become a horrible reality.
I support a right sizing of our defense budget, and do not believe that the Department of Defense should be immune to cuts as we focus on eliminating our deficit and reducing the national debt. I’ve supported efforts to end unnecessary defense expenditures and to better spend our defense dollars. However, the automatic cuts scheduled to hit the Department of Defense and eliminate a total of one trillion dollars of defense spending over the next ten years are too much.
President Ronald Reagan’s approach to protecting our national security was to provide peace through strength. The United States military has successfully remained the most superior power in the world by practicing this theory. Due to the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 last July, the Department of Defense is expected to suffer an automatic across-the-board $500 billion budget cut. These cuts will not be used to reduce our growing national deficit, but instead will be shifted from defense to other departments and agencies. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has warned that such a drastic decrease will result in the smallest Navy since the beginning of World War I, smallest Army and Marine Corps since the beginning of World War II and the smallest Air Force since it was created. Not only will these cuts threaten our national security, military strength, and defense capabilities, it will also destroy approximately one million jobs across our country while sending a message to enemies we lack resolve to resist their attacks.
Last year, as Congressional Republicans plotted to make President Obama the first president in history to be denied a straight up vote on raising the debt ceiling, they inserted the Budget Control Act in the equation. In exchange for raising the debt ceiling, the BCA created a 12-member joint congressional committee to develop a plan for an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. If this joint committee and ultimately the entire Congress failed to enact the additional savings, the bill provided up to $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would go into effect in January 2013, also known as sequestration. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced November 21, 2011 that it was unable to come to an agreement before the committee’s November 23 deadline.
The recent JPMorgan trading losses, ostensibly associated with a failed hedging strategy, have led some to argue that JPMorgan’s losses may very well have been mitigated had the Volcker Rule been in place with tighter regulation of hedging. Before regulators heed these calls for tighter regulation, I hope regulators also consider the potential costs.
The devastating impact of military cuts through sequestration is drawing closer and Congress must act quickly to head off these dangerous reductions that will put our national security at risk and imperil America’s fragile economy.
The first responsibility of the United States government is to provide for the common defense. Without further action by the Senate and the Obama Administration, significant across the board cuts to defense will take place in January of next year as part of the sequestration process resulting from the failure of legislators to reach an agreement on how to reduce the deficit. This sequestration process came about as a result of the Budget Control Act that raised the debt ceiling – legislation I opposed and voted against.
June 20th marked the first official day of summer, which means we are now officially at the two-year anniversary of the “recovery summer” – meant to showcase that the Administration’s economic policies were working. There isn’t much need to point out that we’re still looking for some economic sunshine.
The president forecast 3 percent economic growth in his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, but the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office recently lowered its 2013 growth estimate to an anemic 0.5 percent. Unemployment is stuck at 8-plus percent – for 40 straight months and counting. In fact, last month’s jobs numbers were worse; unemployment is actually increasing.
When it comes to making the world more peaceful, how do we know what we want or what we don’t want? Do we simply want less violence? Or are we working to build the attitudes, institutions and structures that lead to more peaceful societies?
At the Institute for Economics and Peace, we’re looking at both. The former – often referred to as negative peace – is what our Global Peace Index, which we just released this month for the sixth year running, measures. The latter – known as positive peace – is what our Positive Peace Index, which we launched for the first time ever, measures.