Founding Fathers' advice to deficit 'super committee': Bring US troops home
If the deficit 'super committee' is serious about finding $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade, they will have no choice but to do as the Founding Fathers would have done – bring the troops home and drastically reduce America's foreign military presence.
As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (otherwise known as the deficit “super committee”) gets down to business, the 12-member panel should give serious consideration to what America’s Founding Fathers would have done to control federal spending. If the committee members did that, they would have little choice but to recommend that the Obama administration immediately begin a steady withdrawal of all US troops from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce America’s military presence overseas.Skip to next paragraph
It’s not that committee members will be unable to find other candidates for the $1.5 trillion in required cuts over the next decade, which must be presented to Congress by Nov. 23. There are lots of choices. Surely, entitlements, farm subsidies, corporate bailouts and giveaways, and pork of all kinds should be top candidates, as the Independent Institute’s online “Government Cost Calculator” demonstrates.
But America’s Founders also would be concerned about the reach and cost of our global military empire. It’s not part of the country they envisioned.
As my colleague Charles V. Pena has pointed out, even before the United States went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly a quarter of all US active duty forces – some 250,000 of the more than 1 million men and women in the active duty military – were deployed overseas.
In addition to Afghanistan and Iraq, US military installations are now located in dozens of countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. This presence doesn’t come cheap.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan (which spills over into Pakistan), and Libya are costing US taxpayers some $169 billion annually, or about 4.4 percent of total federal spending. At this rate, over a 10-year-period, the price tag would equal nearly $1.7 trillion.