Assuming that it does its job, the supercommittee on deficit reduction will issue recommendations within the next seven weeks about how to reduce the federal budget by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
At the Take Back the American Dream conference Tuesday morning, Representative Barney Frank called for progressives to pressure the supercommittee to take nearly all of that money from military budgets. “The focus has got to be in the supercommittee $200 billion per year” in reductions, Frank said. That, of course, would be $2 trillion—more than the supercommittee’s mandate for deficit reduction.
That would be a tough sell to Republican members like Senator Jon Kyl, who has already threatened to just quit the supercommittee if it pushes deep military budget cuts. Kyl frequently cites jobs at military bases and industries that supply the military, instead of national security concerns, to advocate for protected defense spending—but Frank blasted the “military Keynesianism” of Republicans who oppose stimulus in virtually all other forms but defense.
“There is no way at all to do a socially responsible deficit reduction plan, no way to do long-term deficit reduction, no without very substantial reductions in military spending,” he said.
Frank has set the $200 billion annual reduction benchmark before, but if he continues this push in public, it will be significant—there has yet to be significant progressive pressure on the super-committee to focus on defense spending cuts.