Republicans Want To Cut Deficits But Increase Defense Spending?

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Same song. Different singers.

Reuters interviewed Republican Buck McKeon, the new chairman of the House Armed Services committee. And guess what?

From McKeon:

We’re spending less than at times in the past and we’re involved in two wars, as a percentage of our gross product. So I think, myself, I think you have to be very careful of the taxpayer dollar and I think the things the Secretary (of Defense) is pushing for with increased savings through efficiency. I support that.

But I also support a higher top line because we have underlying costs that are taking such a high percentage of our budget that we’re not going to have enough to do the R&D and do the weaponry spending to provide the wherewithal to have the defense that we need. So, you know, they cut back in missile defense. They cut back in the F-22. They cut back in the next generation bomber. All these things for the future, and we can’t wait for the future to come. We need to be prepared for it.

So, I think we need more money in defense and I think we need to do a better job spending that money.

This is what they always say. We want to spend the money wisely.

Meanwhile, they’re in favor of weapons systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program…which is wildly over budget and years behind schedule.

From Bloomberg:

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) — Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s costliest program, may see more price increases and new schedule delays of as much as three years, two government officials familiar with the matter said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is scheduled to be briefed tomorrow on new cost and schedule assessments for the F-35 and other aircraft, said the officials, who requested anonymity because details aren’t public. Software, engineering and flight difficulties are greater than expected, the officials said.

The projections are based on a preliminary analysis of test and production data, the officials said. The F-35 “Technical Baseline Review” is being prepared for an in-depth examination of the $382 billion JSF program, set for Nov. 22 by the Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Board, the officials said.

$382 billion. For a redundant jet.

If Republicans are serious about tightening our belts, cutting the budget deficit and the overall deficit, then programs like this need to be shelved.

Tea Partiers, I’m looking at you. Want to prove you’re more than just a marketing gimmick? Take a stand on issues like this.