WASHINGTON • Listening to the political shouting match and seeing Washington lurch from one fiscal crisis to another, one might think the fede… Read more
Congress put up roadblocks and diverted us away from the fiscal cliff, but the rerouted course isn’t safe yet. Sequestration still looms on the horizon unless Congress can reach an alternative (“Lawmakers go separate ways to find deal,” Feb. 5). On the discretionary spending chopping block are domestic programs and the Pentagon budget.
This fight has been going on for a while, but it’s still critically important. Cuts will need to be made, and it’s about time we addressed a rather large elephant that’s been in the room.
Our over-bloated Pentagon budget has grown 42 percent since 2000, not including spending for wars. It funds a number of programs that military experts point out are outdated and unnecessary. It also bankrolls the salaries of defense contracting CEOs, the top five of which amounted to $21.5 million last year.
At the same time, domestic programs have already taken hits. Low-income energy assistance has seen cuts of 32 percent and faces even more through sequestration. A balanced budget cannot come at the expense of our most-vulnerable neighbors: the 12 million unemployed, the one in three young people who are underemployed, or the one in four children who live in poverty.
There’s plenty of waste at the Pentagon. Let’s take the magnifying glass and focus there, weeding out the obsolete and excess that is not needed. Let’s not take this out on our neighbors here at home who deserve the security that domestic programs provide.
Jasmin Maurer • St. Louis