May 11, 2012
By Brian Darling
The House is working on a plan to substitute about $300 billion in cuts from waste in domestic programs over 10 years to replace the approximate $100 billion "sequester" of cuts scheduled to gut defense programs next year. This is a good idea.
Late last year, Republicans in the House negotiated an agreement to increase the debt ceiling in consideration for the creation of a "super committee" to make recommendations on $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years and a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. The law had a provision that would implement $1.2 trillion in cuts, equally divided between defense and domestic programs, if the super committee failed to find savings.
The super committee failed. Now the Pentagon is facing across-the-board cuts that will make America less safe. Looking back, the debt-limit increase was a terrible deal for conservatives who believe in Ronald Reagan's vision of "Peace through Strength."
One of the big problems with the scheduled sequester is that it would implement automatic defense cuts that would slow important Pentagon programs. America's aging defense infrastructure is in dire need of an update in a world with emerging threats from Iran and North Korea, not automatic cuts that will weaken important programs. Military weakness will not be rewarded and may provide an incentive to foreign powers to challenge a weakened U.S. military—making us less safe.
The specific cuts proposed by House Republicans seem like common sense. A few of the reported cuts are caps to medical malpractice awards, repeal of some provisions of Dodd-Frank regulatory law, and cuts to the food stamp program.
The food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has exploded under the Obama administration to become the fourth-largest entitlement program on the books.
The cuts proposed to food stamps include an elimination of something called "categorical eligibility" to the program that does not use income and assets as a means to test whether these programs are going to people in need. Also, states are rewarded for increasing the welfare rolls; providing an incentive for states to increase participation regardless of need. That may explain why participation has increased since 2000 from 17.2 million to 44.7 million, according to the Heritage Foundation.
The efforts by conservatives in the House to get rid of the defense sequester is a good idea.
First Appeared on The Debate Club.
Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Read More >>
Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.
The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.
The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.
More than 450,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.
Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."
Sign up to start your free subscription today!
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Read More
© 2014, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973