A New Low for GOP’s ‘YouCut’

Last year the House Republican leadership created the GOP’s “YouCut” website, which offers several possible spending cuts for citizens to vote on. The cut with the most votes goes to the House floor for an up-or-down vote. It’s a decent idea, but unfortunately, most of the cuts the GOP have offered thus far only amount to chump change.

This week the House Republican leadership finally put the Pentagon on the YouCut chopping block. However, the possible cuts suggested by the GOP are pathetic:

1. Reduce the Department of Defense’s printing and reproduction budget by 10 percent ($36 million in savings in fiscal 2012).

2. Reduce spending for Defense studies, analysis and evaluations by 10 percent ($24 million in savings in fiscal 2012).

3. Restrict payout of annual nationwide adjustment and locality pay for “below satisfactory” civilian Defense employees ($21 million in first-year savings).

To put the potential “savings” in perspective, the United States’ latest act of military adventurism (Libya) has already cost taxpayers $550 million. Take that military-industrial complex!

The Washington Times recently reported that Sen. Rand Paul’s balanced budget plan drew “several fairly vocal objections to it” from his GOP colleagues because he dared to include defense cuts. Indeed, House Republicans left the Pentagon alone when coming up with $61 billion in cuts to discretionary programs for the remainder of the fiscal year.

As my colleague Chris Preble told the Times, playing GloboCop isn’t cheap:

“At the end of the day, even when you take out the cost of the wars, military spending in the base budget has grown close to $1 trillion since 2000,” said Christopher A. Preble, director of foreign-policy studies at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “So, I think there is kind of a growing realization that the cost that we have incurred on behalf of a lot of other places around the world are growing increasingly burdensome, and the military has not exactly been starved of funds.”

The YouCut website says that it “is designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress.” Nice line, but when it comes to the Pentagon, it appears that the Republican leadership continues to be a-okay with runaway spending. That mentality will hopefully be forced to change due to the government’s sorry fiscal state of affairs. If it does, a Cato essay has plenty of good suggestions for military spending cuts.