The Obama budget is an especially stark and in-your-face announcement of a new direction for the country. Indeed, budgets are the most concrete expression of a government's prejudices and ambitions. . .FYI, budget numbers at Table S-3.
[Obama's projected] government itself looks more like the government of France than what American governments have looked like in the past. We'll be spending $4.5 trillion on social entitlements--Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid--debt servicing, and other mandatory programs. That's about 22 percent of GDP. Discretionary domestic programs--the prime source of congressional pork--have grown to nearly $700 billion, another 3.5 percent of GDP. Defense spending will be smaller. The baseline defense budget will be $594 billion, less than 3 percent of GDP. That's half the 50-year Cold War average.
The United States cannot remain the sole superpower, the guarantor of the international system, if it chooses to spend just 3 cents of every dollar on defense. The Obama administration loves to talk about "soft power" and "smart power," but the fact is that "hard power" is still real power. The Obama budget is a plan for steady American decline.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Tom Donnelly in the March 9th Weekly Standard: