How Romney, Ryan Differ on Defense Spending
By Jen DiMascio
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
“Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power,” Ryan said, adding that the U.S. can continue to both maintain a strong defense policy and fix the budget.
Ryan's supply-side economic philosophy aligns with that of Republican power broker Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who argues that a smaller government will ultimately lead to a larger economy.
Norquist's approach to foreign policy puts him at odds with those who want to hold the line on defense spending. In a speech last week to the Center for the National Interest, Norquist, the man famous for persuading the party's lawmakers to pledge not to increase taxes, urged the candidates to turn their focus back home the way George W. Bush did during his 2000 campaign. “Foreign policy also affects domestic policy. Go back and look at the last administration,” said Norquist. “If the government comes in and decides to focus on a particular war or occupation down the road, you lose the bandwidth to do other things.”
Norquist says he has talked with members of Congress who are resisting further reductions to defense. He posits that the “good news is there's a very small number of them.” He adds that they are not the ones holding sway over the deficit debate. “The handful of Republicans who have talked about tax increases are either near the end of their terms, not coming back or don't know yet that they're not coming back.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) are continuing to lobby against further defense spending cuts. Graham, in particular, has been outspoken about being willing to close loopholes as a way of increasing revenue without raising taxes.
Norquist sees lawmakers who say nothing can be done about defense spending as “now competing” with the tax reformers, one of whom was just made the vice presidential nominee.
But Hurlburt says the VP pick may not change anything at all for the A&D industry. “Everyone knows the budget is going down,” she says. “Is it going to go down in a smart way or a dumb precipitous way?”