From The Center for Public Integrity article “Public overwhelming supports large defense spending cuts” by R. Jeffrey Smith (here):
While politicians, insiders and experts may be divided over how much the government should spend on the nation’s defense, there’s a surprising consensus among the public about what should be done: They want to cut spending far more deeply than either the Obama administration or the Republicans.
That’s according to the results of an innovative, new, nationwide survey by three nonprofit groups, the Center for Public integrity, the Program for Public Consultation and the Stimson Center. Not only does the public want deep cuts, it wants those cuts to encompass spending in virtually every military domain — air power, sea power, ground forces, nuclear weapons, and missile defenses.
According to the survey, in which respondents were told about the size of the budget as well as shown expert arguments for and against spending cuts, two-thirds of Republicans and nine in 10 Democrats supported making immediate cuts — a position at odds with the leaderships of both political parties.
The average total cut was around $103 billion, a substantial portion of the current $562 billion base defense budget, while the majority supported cutting it at least $83 billion. These amounts both exceed a threatened cut of $55 billion at the end of this year under so-called “sequestration” legislation passed in 2011, which Pentagon officials and lawmakers alike have claimed would be devastating……
Key findings are:
- Americans want to cut the defense budget deeply to help deal with the deficit, more than they want to cut other programs or raise taxes.
- There is broad consensus on this goal, including large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, young, old, males and females.
- Around three-quarters of Americans think spending should be cut for air power, ground forces, and naval forces.
- Nuclear arms were given the biggest proportional hit, while ground forces took the biggest dollar hit; special forces had the most support.
- More than eighty percent of Americans are convinced “there is a lot of waste in the national defense budget.”