Politics

Does cutting nation’s deficit include cutting defense spending?

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

BOCA RATON, Fla.—When it comes to cutting wasteful spending, are Republican candidates willing to look at defense expenditures too?

Col. Allen West, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq who is running for the U.S. House as Republican in Florida, suggested that instead of cutting defense spending, the military budget just needs to be “reshaped.”

“What you have to look at is, how can we be more effective and efficient as far as dealing with the defense and military industry?” he said during an interview with The Daily Caller at a rally hosted by the Spending Revolt Tour. West’s challenge to Democrat Rep. Ron Klein is viewed as prime pick-up opportunity for Republicans.

“We need to be sure we’re supporting spending programs that are going to be viable on the battlefield, and not just to line someone’s pockets because we’re trying to do political favors,” he said.

He added: “I will tell you this, having been in Desert Storm, I don’t think we’ll ever have an enemy who wants to have a major tank battle against the United States of America.”

As for areas to cut spending, West suggested looking at the money spent on foreign aid, as well all government programs created since 1975 — the second largest period of growth of government.

“You go for top to bottom. You look at the government agencies, I say start with every agency that has been created since 1975 and start looking at how effective they are, how efficient they are, where’s the abuse?” he said.

West addressed attendees at a stop of the Spending Revolt bus tour, which is traveling across the country in an attempt to initiate a national conversation on wasteful government spending.

Some Republicans — especially those of the libertarian strand — have suggested that Republicans and Democrats can come together on cutting spending if they knife both the military and entitlement spending.

Republicans will have to get past not wanting to cut defense expenditures, Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul told TheDC last month, and Democrats will have to get past wanting to cut non-defense expenditures. “If you’re serious about addressing it,” Paul said, “the only way a serious person can do it is look across the entire length and breath of the budget.”