August 22, 2019

Bipartisan Spending Frenzy

“The rap on Washington is that it’s too partisan and accomplishes little. We’ll take that if the alternative is this week’s budget deal that is a win for the political faction that really runs the place—the bipartisan spending party.

The deal announced Monday between the White House and leaders in Congress blows past the spending caps of the 2011 Budget Control Act by $320 billion in 2020 and 2021, and kills the caps thereafter. The budget act was supposed to enforce fiscal discipline, but it has devolved into a bipartisan trade in which Democrats get more on domestic accounts in return for giving Republicans more on defense. Everybody’s happy except the future taxpayers who will pay for it.

The good news—the only good news—is that the deal continues the Trump Administration’s modest defense buildup. The U.S. military was degraded in the Obama years by reduced and unpredictable funding.

The deal lifts the cap on defense spending to $738 billion in 2020 from $716 billion this year, and in 2021 the Pentagon will receive $740.5 billion. Several years in a row of predictable, higher funding will allow the Pentagon to improve the readiness of fighter squadrons, build a few more ships, improve missile defenses and invest in technology—all necessary for maintaining the military’s competitive edge.”

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