Why Republicans don’t balance the budget

The Boston Globe had an article on the foreign policy views of Romney and Obama yesterday. It includes this rather remarkable statement:

Romney adviser Dov S. Zakheim, an undersecretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration, responded at the debate that defense spending is not a major part of the debt problem. “The problem is entitlements,” he said, referring to programs such as Social Security and Medicare. “It is not defense. Defense is practically a rounding error. So if you want to go ahead and trade defense as a hostage for the issues that have to be dealt with, go right ahead. But the only people you will be helping are the Iranians, North Koreans, the Venezuelans, and others like them.”

According to here (you can also go here to see an alternate form), $878.2 billion went for defense in the 2011 budget. That’s out of a total budget of $3603.1 billion — so about 24% (by the way, that’s more than is spent on Social Security, it’s more than what’s spent on Medicare). If this guy thinks that’s a rounding error, there’s no wonder Republicans only talk about balanced budgets.

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