By Winslow T. Wheeler – 03/09/11 11:56 AM ET
Polling from Pew and Gallup reveals major public misconceptions about the defense budget. Fifty-eight percent of Americans know that Pentagon spending is larger than any other nation, but almost none know it is up to seven times that of China. Most had no idea the defense budget is larger than federal spending for education, Medicare or interest on the debt.
The scurrilous in Washington promote the misimpression of an under-funded Pentagon. They imply it is smaller than during the Cold War by saying it was at 8 percent of gross domestic product in the late 1960s, but only 4 percent of GDP now. Therefore, it’s gone down and is now low, right?
Some use hyperventilated rhetoric to pressure for more defense dollars. Sadly, this category now must include Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who termed “catastrophic” the recommendations of the Obama deficit commission to merely maintain defense spending at its post-WWII high, and who deemed a “crisis” the idea of a 1 percent – $5 billion – reduction in the 2011 defense budget compared to 2010.
Phi Beta Iota: Lying is not patriotic. Screwing most of the people most of the time is neither patriotic nor sensible. The irresponsibility of the US Government today, across all domains, is breathtakingly insane. It’s not stupid–this is the last phrase of legalized looting of the Republic–but it is insane in relation to the Constitution and the values that are supposed to be the foundation of the Republic.