Editorial: Congress— just big enough to fail


The defense budget for the United States military is facing cuts for the first time since WWII. Last summer, more than $500 billion in cuts were agreed upon between the White House and congressional leaders. And when the Super Committee failed to reach a new debt reduction deal a few weeks ago, they set off a legislative trigger: failure to reach a deal results in trillions in automatic cuts. An additional $500 billion will be axed from the defense budget over the next 10 years.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has painted a dark picture of America’s future with such cuts. Panetta said the cuts would result in the smallest Air Force in history and the smallest ground force since 1940.
The Journal knows it cannot sway the legislature to make radical decisions. We recognize much has been said about the impending cuts and the implications for the American military, and experts have varied wildly in their predictions of the consequences.
The Journal thinks it is high time for the cuts. In fact The Journal’s stance on cuts to the military is unequivocally in favor. We do not favor cuts to the military because we are pacifists or anti-war. We do not favor cuts because we are worried about debt or violence or the future of our military might.
We favor these cuts because failures should be forced to face their failure, and our leaders failed massively.
These cuts are trigged by a failure of our leaders to reach a compromise on our debt and spending problem. Our leaders are elected and paid (handsomely) to work together and run the country. When they cease working together, when they cease running the country, there should be consequences.
When congress failed to pass the DREAM Act, no immediate repercussions were felt in the chambers of the capital. When congress failed to end the Bush Tax cuts, their highest donors applauded them. When congress failed to punish criminal mortgage companies, only those already suffering felt the pinch.
Now, though, congress is taking the heat. Military officials in every branch have begged and pleaded with the leaders to find a deal quickly. The men and women in uniform every politician claims to love so much are happy to go on television and call them liars, failures and thieves.
America needs to fix its schools, prisons and public services. Our entitlements are going broke and our energy resources are suffocating, and congress has greeted each catastrophe with malaise and corruption. In our past, our bickering officials have come together over very little.
But even the military was considered an easy sell. No politician wants a reputation as soft on national security. But today’s elections produce cowards and malcontents, not real leadership
Now, even our military cannot be funded thanks to the stupefying partisan deadlock in Washington.
The Journal wants these cuts to happen, because we want to electorate to wake up and smell the failure. Then, we want them to vote.

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