The Deficit Supercommittee will probably not reach an agreement by its Wednesday deadline - and the result might be 1.2 trillion in "automatic cuts" over the next 10 years. $600 billion of that would come out of the defense budget.
Politicians howl about that.
"We cannot put America's safety in jeopardy by virtue of the failure of this committee," Romney said.
"We can't do that to our brave men and women who are on the ground fighting for us," Bachmann noted.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said that the cuts would be "devastating."
This is all ridiculous. Because as Senator Rand Paul told CNN yesterday, these are not real cuts. They are cuts in planned increases in spending.
Paul: "This may surprise some people, but there will be no cuts in military spending because we're only cutting proposed increases. If we do nothing, military spending goes up 23% over 10 years. If we [make this cut], it will still go up 16%."
Only in Washington is a 16% increase considered a "devastating" cut.
Unfortunately, this is how politicians always talk about spending. It's why the entire deficit reduction compromise (including military "cuts") that Republicans and Democrats reached after months of name-calling this summer ultimately boils down to this: