Plurality ready for “significant” military cuts

posted at 8:15 pm on July 18, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Rasmussen continues to show a trend among American voters in terms of where we can save money and increasing numbers appear ready to put military spending on the table without worrying that it puts the nation at risk. The questions leave some wiggle room, as we’ll see below, but the break out indicates a familiar pattern which ties in with Ed Morrissey’s coverage of the Coburn plan earlier today.

Nearly one-half of Americans now think the United States can make major cuts in defense spending without putting the country in danger. They believe even more strongly that there’s no risk in cutting way back on what America spends to defend other countries.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Adults feel it is possible to significantly reduce military spending without putting the American people at risk. Thirty-seven percent (37%) disagree and do not believe major defense cuts come without risk. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.

The first, top line question may be a bit less specific than some readers would like. “Is it possible to significantly reduce military spending without putting the American people at risk?”

The word “significant” can mean many things to many people, but it’s probably safe to say that most are thinking of more than a few less flowers being planted outside the base exchange store. This seems to tie in to the fact that Americans are less focused on foreign threats and far more so on jobs and the economy. When that question was asked in the 2003-2004 era you could barely crawl out of single digits.

Another question puts these attitudes further in focus when the subject turns to military spending specifically geared towards our allies as opposed to keeping the homeland safe. “Is it possible to significantly reduce the amount the United States spends defending other countries without putting the American people at risk?

68% answered that one in the affirmative and only 15% said no. This ties in to the numerous polls we’ve seen where Americans want Washington to cut spending, but when asked what they are willing to slash, the only answer they can all seem to agree on is foreign aid. During hard times you have to look after yourself first, it seems, and we have become a war weary nation.

Number such as these are probably making folks like Tom Coburn feel a little more comfortably in offering up military cuts as part of larger scale spending reduction packages. And this topic in particular is one which was never going to find much opposition among liberals. Look for some detailed plans to be coming down the pike which begin walking back the American military footprint abroad.

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The reality is defense cuts have to be considered. A lot of defense projects run over and contain political favors to have them built in certain locations. We need to have a focus on the conflicts of tomorrow, not the wars of yesterday. The time for favors to be thrown around has long passed, the other day we saw an article about two ships that were built to be demolished, that’s wasted spending in defense, that would have been better back with the taxpayers.

amazingmets on July 18, 2011 at 11:19 PM

This chick is not part of that VERY unwise plurality.

Minorcan Maven on July 19, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Clark AFB is still pretty much unusable.

BobMbx on July 18, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Actually, Clark AB has been operational for quite a few years now. The Philippine Air Force flies out of there and the whole area is called the Clark Secure Economic Zone. There is a lot of marketing there. Fedex had a hub there for quite a few years but moved out due to alot of theft. Many of the buildings there have been cleaned and revamped and are being used for other purposes. Clark and Angeles City are doing just fine. I left Clark two weeks before Pinatubo blew (was TDY from Kunsan AB) and was TDY at Cubi Point when it did. Subic was barely touched by Pinatubo and closed around a year later. The Americans pretty much gave up trying to save Clark after the volcano but did clear the golf course for those that were left to pack everyting that wasn’t pilfered.

Bill R. on July 19, 2011 at 1:58 AM

I’m wrong about one thing. The Fedex hub was at Cubi Point, not Clark.

Bill R. on July 19, 2011 at 2:31 AM

It’s long past time to quit playing nanny for the Euroweenies and end our Middle-East escapades. We’ve run the tyrants out, killed Saddam and Bin Laden, and given those barbarians democracy on a silver platter. Declare victory already and bring the troops home…we may need them here anyhow. :(

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 19, 2011 at 3:40 AM

I’m all for defense cuts – and for quitting America’s role as the world policeman.

But …

This isn’t going to have the effect that many think it will. Fact is – we need to slash the budget and Liberals want to cut military spending (of course) to demonstrate they are fiscally responsible – but we’ve been here before – in the Carter years.

During those years – cutting the military budget only got us a …

Lousy Military – which had to be rebuilt (at great expense) by Reagan.

Dims can’t hide behind the military on spending cuts this time around. They will have to address the entire budget.

HondaV65 on July 19, 2011 at 5:27 AM

Nearly one-half of Americans now think the United States can make major cuts in defense spending without putting the country in danger

My gosh, almost word for word what could have been printed in the late 1930s, while the Japs and Germans were armining themselves to the teeth. Read about the fall of the Phillipines while our guys were trying to stop Jap tanks with calvary and bicycles troops firing the few antiquated WWI weapons and old ammo that failed to go off.

We are naively repeating disaster as the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, even Venuzuela, and not a few Jihadists plan our demise daily.
They aren’t fools – and they sacrifice social needs for a massive military advantage over us. Do we ask why?

Let’s sell our souls in order to keep a nation, half filled with parasites on free lunch just to keep the “dirty old men” in Washington with a good supply of candy to lure the little children that we call society.

Don L on July 19, 2011 at 6:34 AM

The problem is the phrase “is it possible”, which makes the results meaningless. To get a meaningful answer, they should have asked if it was likely.

Count to 10 on July 19, 2011 at 7:51 AM

(Ah, Cubi Point. What a magnificent piece of real estate and what incredible memories. Yes, even for a girl, the PI was wonderful. {8^P)

tree hugging sister on July 19, 2011 at 8:04 AM

There’s always inefficiencies in a bureaucracy, and opportunities to trim. But, where is the real problem, and the largest opportunity to achieve efficency or savings? Some, encouraged by the Left and the MSM, would focus on the military, and ignore the real elephant in the room. Look at military budgets, as a percentage of the Federal Budget, and see what the real elephant is:

Then focus a bit more, and you’ll see that the real isn’t even the “entitlement” program of Social Security — which the taxpayers have directly paid/invested in. Instead, it is the abomination twins of Medicare & Meicaid:

Those elephants are the “sacred cows” that no one wants to talk about, and that Obamacare would only make even worse…

OnlyOrange on July 19, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Nobody loves a warrior until the barbarians are at the gates.

The true 1%ers, the US military. The reason the military is such an easy target for cuts is because 99% of the population won’t feel the effects.

Just A Grunt on July 18, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Didn’t have to read any further. The average civilian has a p*sspoor idea of what it takes to maintain our security. They believe that since no one is lobbing bombs at NY or any of our allies everything is fine – if they even consider our allies of any importance. I guess they figure that if something bad happens here or elsewhere that directly affects us the khaki genie will suddenly reconstitute trained troops and hardware and teleport it all to the problem area.

katiejane on July 19, 2011 at 8:56 AM

blink on July 18, 2011 at 11:58 PM

Sorry, imprecise wording. I meant force-down. If only they could have destroyed the IFF crypto….

JeffWeimer on July 19, 2011 at 9:07 AM

This is where Ann Coulter erred in her latest blog post. She claimed Democrats don’t want to cut any government spending. None. Nada. She forgets the one thing Democrats are willing to cut government spending on – the military.

hadsil on July 19, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Is there something wrong thinking that the EU should pay for it’s own defense?

Zekecorlain on July 19, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Is there anything wrong with knowing that helping to pay for others ‘defense’ (Europe, Korea, etc) we are also paying for our own?

catmman on July 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM

People that say the Pentagon should continue to get blank checks to use are idiots.

The Pentagon is the most wasteful spender out there, and they do it under the cover of security. Those that say you can’t solve a problem by throwing money at it sure change their mind when it comes to the Pentagon.

Moesart on July 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Ahhh, yes. The eternal – yet ephemeral and etheric– idea of the supposed ‘Peace Dividend’. That by somehow cutting our own ability to defend ourselves we will be safer.

If you have to brandish a gun to scare away an attacker, the attacker must believe the gun is loaded for the threat to work. It also helps that the gun actually be loaded in case the guy calls your bluff.

No students of history I suppose. It worked so well for us in the 90’s, right? The British and French did well for themselves after WWI with this idea as well, too. Not to mention the Greeks when Philip II came around.

I would say a better word would be ‘trim’ than ‘cut’. Are there areas where defense can be streamlined or ‘trimmed’? Sure. Of course there are.

But many people will never learn. Until the Macedonians, Germans – or Islamists – are breaking down your door.

catmman on July 19, 2011 at 10:33 AM

The Pentagon is the most wasteful spender out there, and they do it under the cover of security. Those that say you can’t solve a problem by throwing money at it sure change their mind when it comes to the Pentagon.

Moesart on July 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM


Medicare and Medicaid and welfare and Social Security and TARP and Porkulus and Cash for Clunkers and Fannie and Freddie (do I need to go on?) are all paragons of fiscal restraint, responsibility, and frugality.


catmman on July 19, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Moesart on July 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Sorry to hear about your reality / Soros talking points mismatch.

NaCly dog on July 19, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Excellent point and a good starting point. Though very much a defense hawk there is a limit to what we can spend and where. In my opinion as we leave areas of the area’s in the middle east we are involved in they eventually will end up reverting to days of old. A waste of American blood and treasure. At least we can say we tried.
What the American public should be thinking about is why are we involved in the Middle East. One word OIL!!!!!!! If our fearless leader, the clown in the White House, had any whit about him he would go full steam ahead in the development of this countries vast natural resources, oil shale in North Dakota and Montana, shale gas in many areas of the county (there is enough shale gas to power America for close to 100 years) coal in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, W. Virginia to name a few places to say nothing of development of nuclear power and wind energy. But no, what do we do, try to have the EPA shut down most carbon based energy supplies. Another area where the clown in charge could help the country reduce its dependence on tanker imported oil is the Canadian oil sands. The administration is working very hard to limit pipelines from Canada to American refineries. The Canadians are being courted by the Chinese to sell them the oil that cannot be imported to the US. That would great wouldn’t? , Canadian oil going to China because Obama’s EPA restricts the flow via pipeline to the lower 48. And for all the anti-pipeline types, take a look at the facts. The safest way to transport oil is via pipeline. The alternates, truck or rail car have a much higher incidence of spills.
If we and our allies were not so dependent on foreign, especially Middle Eastern oil supplies would we need such a powerful military? Probably not. I believe that if we were not compelled to keep foreign oil supplies flowing to this country that we could re-tool our military to one that could protect us from harm while reducing its cost.
Yes, the Europeans , Japanese, Koreans, Indians and others would have to step up to take care of themselves to include possession of nuclear weapons. If others were compelled to be more responsible for their own well being I would think that we could concentrate on weapons to protect our selves. Sure, more F-22’s instead of second best F-35’s, Aegis warships, yes as necessary to protect our sovereign boundaries to say nothing of being able to defend our southern border. But NO, we are depend upon foreign oil sources and until we no longer have to kow tow to middle eastern kings and dictators to supply our energy needs nothing can really change. Sure, the Feds are imposing ever more restrictive requirements on autos and other devises that use petroleum based fuels, but we are a long ways from being to a point of meaningful savings in the basic volume of carbon based fuels we need to maintain our current standard of life.
So, is it our responsibility to be the world’s policeman? For now we have very little choice but if we had a government that was not so hell bent to force us all into motorized roller skates, swelter in the summer in our homes or be compelled to wrap up in several blankets in our homes during the winter et cetera we could probably be less concerned about what is happening with middle eastern camel jockeys and a lot more concerned about the well being of our citizens, be more concerned about our disappearing manufacturing base and making sure our citizens have the educational opportunity to achieve American greatness rather than the spilling of the blood of our youth in foreign lands.

Gee, just think what could happen if the clowns in Washington started thinking what was best for the American people versus what do I need to do to get re-elected?

Rockman44 on July 19, 2011 at 11:05 AM

If we focused on domestic energy production, we wouldn’t need to be in multiple Middle Eastern countries. Unleash our potential here instead of cater to people who see us as the Great Satan.

dominigan on July 19, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Another interesting look at it… even if you totally abolished the Dept of Defense, it still wouldn’t solve the problem.

Sure we should scrutinize the DoD budget and trim where we can (how about we stop firing off $1M Tomahawks into the sands of Africa from a distance as a diversion like Clinton and Obama have done), but Defense spending is not the “cancer” that is quickly killing our country…

OnlyOrange on July 19, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Depends on what gets cut. Garrisons in ungrateful Korea and Europe, most definitely. Jeopardizing air supremacy by cancelling the F-22/F-35, no. In an era when it takes 20 years to go from proposal to production you need to think twice about canceling such projects because of overruns (which history says are basically inevitable) and possibly premature claims about UAV effectiveness.

In the case of the Navy, it could get over its traditional hostility towards things like small missile boats, conventional submarines and light carriers and consider licensing the better designs for such from allies.

kd6rxl on July 19, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Yes, cut, cut, cut! And that includes ALL government including the military. Our military is ridiculously bloated. Shut down overseas bases, stop the wars, and stick to national defense. We are not the police of the world, nor should we be.

Need to drop a bomb on someone? Send a drone.

woodNfish on July 19, 2011 at 12:35 PM