Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out." …
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Image of the Day: Americans' Shrinking Earnings Under Joe Biden

Joe Biden tells Americans that he's helping them by building "from the bottom up and the middle out."  But the numbers don't lie, and the ugly reality is that he's only dragging us all toward the bottom.  Throughout his presidency, wage gains (green) have been consistently exceeded by inflation (blue), meaning loss in real earnings (red):

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="455"] Bidenomics Means Lost Earnings[/caption]…[more]

May 19, 2024 • 11:05 PM

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New Index: U.S. Military Strength in Jeopardy Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Wednesday, February 25 2015
As an initial matter, defending itself against foreign or domestic threat is the most elemental duty of any nation.

Is the U.S. military ripe for reduction and budgetary cuts? 

In their justifiable zeal to target federal deficits and debt, various political and opinion leaders - including some on the right - believe so. 

According to a new and thorough analysis of U.S. military health introduced this week by the Heritage Foundation, however, that's a very dangerous idea. 

Heritage's inaugural Index of U.S. Military Strength, painstakingly assembled by numerous military experts and modeled upon its popular annual Index of Economic Freedom and Index of Culture and Opportunity, comprehensively assesses our military's current capability, readiness, capacity and evolving global threats. 

It paints an unsettling composite picture: 

"In aggregate, the United States' military posture is rated as 'Marginal.'  The consistent decline in funding and consequent shrinking of the force are putting it under significant pressure.  Essential maintenance is being deferred;  fewer units (mostly the Navy's platforms and the Special Operations Forces community) are being cycled through operational deployments more often and for longer periods;  and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are problematic.  The cumulative effect of such factors has resulted in a U.S. military that is marginally able to meet the demands of defending America's vital national interests." 

As reported by The Washington Times, the Pentagon's base budget has decreased during the Obama presidency from $527 billion in 2010 to approximately $496 billion for each of the past three years.  As a consequence, the Heritage Index now assesses the overall strength of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps as "Marginal," with only the Air Force scoring "Strong." 

Advocates of defense cuts correctly note that military spending contains various elements of waste and inefficiency, just like any other realm of the federal government.  Where such advocates veer off course, however, is in implicitly or explicitly equating defense spending with any other form of federal spending. 

They fail to recognize that national defense is of a wholly different nature than almost every other form of federal activity or spending. 

As an initial matter, defending itself against foreign or domestic threat is the most elemental duty of any nation.  On that basis, our Constitution specifically commands the federal government to "provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States," as the Heritage Index highlights: 

"Among the few enumerated powers given to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution are those pertaining to its responsibility to provide for the security of the United States of America.  Unlike so many things the government does that can arguably be done more effectively and efficiently by the states or the people themselves, the defense of our country and its interests can only be done effectively and efficiently by the federal government.  When our government fails in this responsibility, it undermines the foundation upon which all other aspects of our country are built or made possible." 

That alone differentiates national defense from almost every other item of spending in today's federal budget. 

In addition, unlike many or even most other areas of federal government activity, our military stands as a model of comparative effectiveness and competence. 

After all, what single entity in human history can lay greater claim to securing and then preserving the freedom of more people across the globe?  The past 70 years since World War II have witnessed more global innovation and greater prosperity than any other period in time.  Credit for that fact rests to a great extent with an American military force that stood against such threats as Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and to this day ensures such things as freely navigable seas. 

It is partly for that reason that our military stands - by far - as the most trusted major institution in American life today.  Each year, Gallup asks Americans about their degree of trust in 16 institutions, ranging from the military to small business to our medical system to police to churches to television news.  At 74%, 12 points ahead of small business in second place, Americans say that they possess "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the U.S. military. 

In another poll released this week, Gallup also notes that the percentage of Americans who say that we spend too little on defense has reached its highest point since 2001.  In the same survey, 44% believe that the U.S. military is "not strong enough," up from 32% just three years ago before Pentagon cuts took effect.  In comparison, 42% say military strength is "about right" and only 13% believe that it's "stronger than it needs to be." 

In a similar vein this week, a bipartisan group of 82 signatories that includes former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, former Senator Evan Bayh and former National Security Adviser Michael Hayden have written an open letter to Congress urging an end to sequestration and defense spending cuts. 

In an increasingly volatile world, that bipartisan group and the broader American electorate understand what the Heritage Index confirms:  Now is not the time to target the U.S. military for cuts. 

Notable Quote   
"The progressive journalist Thomas Frank wrote a much-discussed book in 2004 titled, 'What's the Matter with Kansas?'Right now some other like-minded journalist might be thinking of writing a book called, 'What's the Matter with People of Color?'For Democrats, the polling among Latinos and African-Americans in the presidential race ranges from concerning to extremely disturbing, as President Biden…[more]
— Rich Lowry, Editor of National Review
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe televised debates between President Biden and former President Trump will actually happen or will fall apart for many potential reasons?