Chris Hellman is the military budget specialist and senior research analyst at the National Priorities Project. He said today that while many have focused on looming reductions to military spending, “in fact, the Pentagon is in a better position to absorb these cuts because of sizable growth in [its] spending over the past decade.”
The group recently released the report “Sequestration, the Pentagon and the States,” which finds: “Sequestration cuts discretionary spending to reduce the deficit. The military accounts for over half of all discretionary spending (57 percent). Military spending has grown by 35 percent since 2002, 48 percent if you include war costs. Domestic discretionary spending grew by only 8 percent over that period.
“Despite a modest 2.6 percent decrease projected in FY2013 — the first such cut in over a decade — Pentagon spending will continue to grow over the next five years if sequestration does not occur. U.S. military spending accounts for 43 percent of the global total, five times more than China, the second largest military budget. A $1 billion federal investment in health care would create 2.4 times more jobs than investing it in the Pentagon. Cutting Pentagon spending will not affect veterans’ benefits.”
Jo Comerford is executive director of the National Priorities Project and said today: “The federal government will reduce or delay needed investments in education, food safety, and infrastructure projects. And some two million people will lose their jobs.”
The group reports: “More than $700 million will be cut from Title I grants for disadvantaged public schools, affecting 1.2 million students. At the same time, 70,000 children will lose their slots in Head Start. … Furloughs for public health officials will mean roughly 2,100 fewer food safety inspections and the potential for public health problems and shortages of some foods, as reduced inspections will slow production schedules. … Treatment for adults and children with serious mental illnesses will be cut back, denying treatment for an estimated 373,000 patients. …
“A $50 billion cut in Pentagon spending could fund five years of Community Development Block Grants AND five years of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) AND four years of Homeless Assistance Grants.”