Saturday, October 25, 2008

Barney Frank takes a stand on runaway defense spending

Whenever discussion of budget cuts occur it's always programs that are directed at the middle and working class which are targetted, never is the Defense Department budget treated with much scrutiny. In some respsects this is understandable, one of the prime functions of government is to provide for the common defense and in the abstract its easy to argue that no price is to high for the safety of our people. Unfortunately defense budgets don't occur in a vacuum, there is in fact a finite amount of money in the budget and occasionaly even the U.S. government needs to prioritize.

Given the hundreds of billions in hand outs to Wall Street that are forthcoming, a looming bailout of Detroit and runaway health care costs the Federal government is going to need to start prioritizing. Today Neil at Cogitamus points us to Barney Frank taking on the most cacred of scared cows - the DoD budget,

After the November election, Democrats will push for a second economic stimulus package that includes money for the states' stalled infrastructure projects, along with help paying for healthcare expenses, food stamps and extended unemployment benefits, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said Thursday.

In a meeting with the editorial board of The Standard-Times, Rep. Frank, D-Mass., also called for a 25 percent cut in military spending, saying the Pentagon has to start choosing from its many weapons programs, and that upper-income taxpayers are going to see an increase in what they are asked to pay.

Good for Representative Frank. Given the nature of politics it is imperative that Democrats in safe seats begin to take these issues head on to start laying the ground work and public support for the rest of the Democratic caucus to take on the DoD. I'd really like to see Representative DeGette take a more forceful and public leadership position on these issues.

We have looming infrastructure needs, social programs and bailouts that the Federal government is either already on the hook for or soon will be. I would say that it's time for the DoD to be held to the same spending standards as our other Federal departments but at this point I'd just like for them to be held to any standard. Hopefully with expanded Democratic majorities we'll begin to see more courageous leadership from members in safe seats. Its time for the Democrats to begin thinking strategically about how to enact broad and lasting progressive reforms.

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