Voters in Both Parties Favor Defense Spending Cuts

R. Jeffrey Smith
iWatch News / News Report
Published: Tuesday 17 July 2012
It doesn't matter if the district is blue or red, or has a defense manufacturing plant.
Article image

Republicans and Democrats in Washington may disagree about cutting the defense budget, but their constituents are generally in accord that it should shrink next year by a fifth to a sixth of its present size, according to a public opinion survey by the Program for Public Consultation, the Center for Public Integrity and the Stimson Center, a nonprofit think-tank.

The three groups first reported the existence of a broad public consensus in favor of military spending reductions in May, after conducting a unique nationwide survey in which respondents received information about the defense budget and had the chance to read multiple pro and con arguments about the military budget like those circulating on Capitol Hill.

Now a more detailed analysis of the results of that survey has shown that majorities in both red and blue congressional districts — those with Republican and Democratic representation, respectively — strongly support the idea that the defense budget should be cut more than politicians in Washington are considering.

The Obama administration has only proposed to reduce planned military spending increases, leaving the budget mostly flat over the next decade. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has instead called for returning to the steady military spending growth seen over the past decade.

Both parties have decried a potential annual spending reduction of around 10 percent, under “sequestration” legislation approved last year aimed at cutting the overall federal deficit. A military cut of that magnitude would take effect automatically only if lawmakers are unable to agree on an alternative pathway to balanced budgets.

But the survey indicates that the public generally supports an even greater whack, no matter where they reside.

Those surveyed in different districts did show some differences. Districts that elected Democrats were slightly more supportive of cutting defense than those that elected Republicans. But the respective levels measured by the poll – 80 percent and 74 percent – were both high.

Respondents in blue districts likewise favored cuts that were slightly larger than those from red districts, according to the new survey results. But the totals were again both high — a 22 percent cut and a 15 percent cut, respectively, or between 50 and 100 percent more than under “sequestration.”

The new analysis showed, moreover, that the presence of Pentagon spending in congressional districts had little impact on the public’s sentiment, contrary to a common political presumption. “Overall, there was no statistical correlation between the level of defense spending in a district and the level of support for defense cuts,” the Program for Public Consultation, a nonprofit survey group associated with the University of Maryland, concluded.

 “The idea that Americans would want to keep total defense spending up so as to preserve local jobs is not supported by the data,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program, while presenting the results June 16 to a forum in a House of Representatives office building on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Although the politically-based differences were slight, they mostly reflected known disagreements. People in Republican districts, for example, wanted smaller cuts in missile defenses, a program that many Democrats have scorned. They also wanted smaller cuts in naval forces, but larger cuts in military health care benefits.

Congress has not approved a defense bill this year — so far. But the Democrat-led Senate has indicated it will back a budget that tracks Obama’s proposal fairly closer, while the Republican-led House has added funds that U.S. military officials say they do not want. The White House has threatened to veto the Republican spending proposal if it passes.

A final resolution of the debate is not expected until other federal spending issues — including the possibility of raising taxes — are resolved, probably not before December and possibly not until next year.

Reprinted by permission from iWatch News



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8 comments on "Voters in Both Parties Favor Defense Spending Cuts"

Ann Arbor Liberal

July 24, 2012 5:45pm

I wonder why Republicans are so popular with the military when they just use us up. Just a thought. To our faces they say thank you for your service while stabbing you in the back. Few if any of these fat boys ever served.

Scott Ashley

July 17, 2012 6:10pm

The US defense budget is bigger that the next ten countrys budget's combined. US $711 bil, China $143 bil and on down the line. The US budget is completely insane. Some defense contractors are ripping us off HUGE!

wildthang

July 17, 2012 5:26pm

Planning to slow the growth over the next 10 years and probably even then it is added back in somewhere in the black funding... while saying it is drastic cuts we can't do without !

ChetDude

July 17, 2012 12:05pm

"Democracy" in action...

ChetDude

July 17, 2012 12:04pm

How's this for insanity?

USAmerica is the largest single arm supplier to the wars of the world...

USAmerica is constantly "improving" their weapons systems (like the execrable F35 built to fight the F16) incurring an ever increasing geometrical rise in expenses in order to fight the weapons that it's selling to others or forcing the other major arms suppliers to create counter-weapons for...

Manufacture and maintenance of war toys is the LEAST effective economic "engine"...in fact, it's detrimental to human progress in every way...

USAmerica already spends more than the rest of the Earth combined -- mainly to extort 25% of the Earth's resources for 5% of her people...

SLASH THE F*CKING WAR BUDGET!

Norman Allen's picture
Norman Allen

July 17, 2012 11:54am

Government of, by and for the people would have responded to the people's desire to live in peace and prosperity, a goal that would have been accomplished long time ago. It is the most callous segment of the elite (the filthy rich part) who are in control of issues through obscene concentration of resources who determines that the US must be in perpetual warfare, diverting money from all aspects of civilian causes to corporate wars dubbed as wars of liberation, freedom, democracy, etc. The real purpose of all wars are securing cheap raw materials and expansion of market through force. The British empire's inhumanity in this pursuit led to its downfall as would be the case with all the empires who build themselves on destroying others. There is a much more noble and cheaper alternative: uniting the world through peaceful action in pursuit of perpetual development (economic, political, social, scientific, technological, etc.). It is a lot cheaper to send technicians and tractors to people for development than is to send them tanks, airplanes, drones, destroyers, and soldiers/generals to kill, kill, kill.... Who is standing in the way: .0005%....

Ann Arbor Liberal

July 24, 2012 5:40pm

Norman, I totally agree with you. It also interesting to note that while Republicans support increased spending for programs the Pentagon doesn't want, Republicans want to cut military health care benefits. In other words, buy the hardware and throw the people away.

BozoAdult

July 17, 2012 11:43am

Cut the fucking military.