Friday, August 10, 2012

"Wired" Gets it Wrong, Again

Wired's online reporter David Axe, in a post largely devoted to Navy options regarding LCS, manages to slip the following easy/breezy, "we all know it is true so I can't believe I am even writing it" statement into the mix for some important reason, I'm sure:  "But only Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney believes America can afford to buy more ships."  Not only is the statement not true with respect to who believes it (I believe we can afford to buy more ships), but it is also not true that we cannot afford to. 

We've covered this ground before, but it is worth covering again.  What we spend on defense in general and on shipbuilding in specific--is a choice.  It is a political choice.  The suggestion that we as a nation could not DOUBLE the shipbuilding account (add another $15B) out of a total national budget of $1.3T simply doesn't hold water.  The money could come entirely from within the DoD, it could come from cuts to other non-defense discretionary spending, and it could come from the inaptly named "non-discretionary" spending by which past Congresses attempt to tie the hands of future generations on entitlement spending.  Or it could come from adjustments to all three.  Axe's throwaway line speaks to the commonly held but easily dismissed notion that we are spending as much as we possibly can on shipbuilding, and that more ships would somehow bankrupt us.  Because he--and others who believe as he does--would not like to see cuts in other popular programs, does not in any way inoculate those programs from cuts. 

If "only" Mitt Romney believes America can afford to buy more ships, how is it that the SAC-D mark (note:  Democrat-controlled Senate) added an SSN, and additional DDG/LPD-17 to the budget?  I haven't seen our credit rating take another hit from that, have you?

Bryan McGrath

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