“I think they (Republican leaders) are willing to raise taxes to avoid any defense cuts,” – Rep. Justin Amash

Earlier this week Republican House leadership purged 4 GOP congressmen from important positions within committees. The 4 constitute a good part of the more libertarian wing of the party on the Hill, and as such, are much less willing to compromise on spending than it appears Boehner and Cantor are. This is a problem for Boehner and Cantor.They don’t want any trouble if (when?) they capitulate to the president.

One of the key points for GOP House leadership as the “fiscal cliff” negotiations continue, is the avoidance of any “defense” cuts. Even though we are supposedly ratcheting down our military footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no “peace dividend” for Boehner and company. The defense dollars must continue to flow. So what if they are bankrupting the country?  Anyone who has a differing opinion in the House GOP, and expresses this opinion publicly, is left in the cold. The message is clear. Tow the line, or else.

“Defense” is how the Republican Party has spread the wealth for nearly half a century.

The Dems do social welfare, the GOP spends on the military. For 50 years both parties have had an understanding – the checkbook of the American people is always open.

An addiction born in the Cold War when such spending made at least some sense in the face of a Soviet threat, the GOP has never been able to shake its attachment. We are now 24 years out from the fall of the Berlin Wall, yet the military is twice what it was even in 2000, and it was big as the USS Nimitz back then.

Even with the “Global War on Terror” referred to a GWOT by Pentagon types, this spike of military expenditure is completely out of line with what this country should be spending. Yet the truth is many see war as good for the economy. Specifically, they see that war is good for economies of individual congresspeople’s districts, and for those member’s campaign fund accounts.

The defense industry loves to recycle a portion of those tax dollars spent on it back to the people who take care of them in Washington. This is how it has worked for a long time.

The insistence on continued defense spending at current levels is completely irresponsible. Social programs need to be cut. Defense needs to be cut. Big government, all kinds, needs to be cut. We need to make hard choices and put things in order, now.

Cuts in the military, especially the relatively tiny cuts we are talking about will do nothing to hurt America’s defenses. Nothing, not one bit. They will, however, put some members of congress in jeopardy as old army depots close and missile contractors have to cut back. Republicans want to hand out Christmas presents on the taxpayer dime, and “defense” is how they do it. Leadership would prefer that the principled TEA Party upstarts just shut up.

My bet is Amash won’t. At least I hope not.

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