The New York Times

November 2, 2011
Cutting the Defense Budget

To the Editor:

In “Bombs, Bridges and Jobs” (column, Oct. 31), Paul Krugman uses the ramifications of deep defense cuts to paint me as a Keynesian.

To be clear, as a fiscal conservative I have never supported policies that advance government expenditure for the express purpose of job creation. Indeed, I believe that the private sector is far better equipped to promote lasting jobs growth than Washington will ever be.

The defense industry is unique. It relies entirely on federal government dollars. Unlike other sectors of the economy, there are no private sector resources that can rush in to fill the void left by a reduction in federal spending. In that void, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost by those who wear the uniform and those who support them.

Congress is charged by the Constitution with providing for the common defense by raising and supporting our armed forces. We don’t spend tax dollars to protect American jobs, but to protect American lives. As such, it is accurate to point out that cuts in defense spending will cripple a critical industry, result in huge job losses and erode our ability to provide for the common defense.

Washington, Nov. 1, 2011

The writer, a Republican from California, is chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services.