defensespendingcontext.jpgThe Cato Institute takes a look at the GOP’s bogus budget cut proposals and isn’t impressed.

The GOP proposal claims savings of more than $375 billion over five years, the bulk of which ($317 billion) would come from holding non-defense discretionary spending increases to no more than inflation over the next five years.

First, it should be cut — period.  Second, non-defense discretionary spending only amounts to about 17% of all the money the federal government spends in a year, so singling out this pot of money misses the bigger picture.  At least, defense spending, which is almost entirely discretionary, should be included in any cap.  But it has become an article of faith in the Republican Party that reining in defense spending is tantamount to putting a white flag in the Statue of Liberty’s hand.

And the Democratic Party.

While it’s true that Republicans are even crazier on defense spending — witness Willard arguing that $650B a year isn’t enough to keep us safe earlier this week — Democrats aren’t much better.

Obama himself campaigned on increasing the size of the military and recently renewed those pledges at Annapolis. Yes, he’s made some half-assed gestures, but there are simply no prominent Democrats proposing anything as bold and sensible as cutting the military budget in half. Unless you count George McGovern.

This is a bipartisan problem.

[graph via Yglesias]