If the “supercommittee” fails, the US will have its smallest military force since World War 2. This is the claim that hawks in general and the Pentagon spokesmen in particular have been pushing in an attempt to convince lawmakers, who really don’t need all that much convincing when it comes to overspending, that the Pentagon should be immune from any serious “cuts.”
And by cuts, of course, we mean cuts in the rate of growth, as the previously announced cuts, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta still complains about at every conceivable opportunity, were taken out of future hypothetical spending increases, backloaded many years down the road.
The World War 2 claim is likewise nonsense, resting on numbers of troops instead of overall expenditures. The electronic, drone-happy US military of 2012 might only have the same number of guys as the force immediately post World War 2, but it will still have a dramatically larger inflation-adjusted budget. Indeed, the “worst case” scenario, which Pentagon officials are treating as though it is going to cause the world to come to an end, is to bring spending to the level of 2007. The US military would still have a budget several times higher than any other military on the planet, and would rival the rest of the planet combined.
But reports suggest that Panetta et. al aren’t even making preparations for how they would spend a 2007-size budget, and instead seem to be focusing their entire effort on ensuring that each new budget is the largest in the history of mankind.