Trade-off da – gdi 2011 1 Earth Science D/A 2

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Defense—No Link—Public

Public support for Defense so strong the DoD would have to go out of its way to cut itself
Newport & Saad 11 (Frank and Lydia, Gallup, editors, 1/26,, accessed 6-30-11, CH)

It has become a maxim of U.S. politics that Americans approve of cutting spending in concept but disapprove of cutting specific programs. The Defense Department long ago realized that closing specific military bases is difficult because local politicians always push to keep their area's bases open. This realization led to the creation of a special commission that recommends base closures without directly involving Congress -- an idea that may need to be replicated to achieve broader government spending cuts.
Public opposes new spending cuts—little support for defense cuts
Mataconis 11 (Doug, attorney, Outside the Beltway, 4/19,, accessed 6-30-11, CH)

When it comes to spending cuts, though, the public is far less enthusiastic: Voters oppose cuts to [Medicare and Medicaid] by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them. Public views are more mixed on cutting defense spending, with 44 percent supporting cuts and 54 percent opposed. (…) No matter how the government tackles its deficits and debt, Americans don’t want it to borrow any more. By 69-24 percent, voters oppose raising the legal ceiling for debt. That includes Democrats, who oppose it by 53-36 percent, independents, who oppose it by 74-22 percent, and Republicans, who oppose it by 79-16 percent.
No support for spending cuts—public easily swayed
Mataconis 11(Doug, attorney, Outside the Beltway, 4/20,, accessed 6-30-11, CH)

This isn’t really surprising, of course. We’ve seen numerous polls over the past several months that essentially say this exact same thing, including one just yesterday. Nobody should really be surprised that people are nervous about the idea of giving up a program that they kind of like, especially when nobody has really made the case to them for why the changes need to be made. And that’s where the Republicans have failed so far. They have assumed, without any real evidence, that last November’s election results gave them some kind of mandate for massive spending cuts, when it was clear from the exit polls that the chief concern on the mind of most voters on Election Day was the economy and jobs. There’s no question that entitlement reform is necessary, but it’s going to be up to somebody to explain why it’s necessary, and to do so in a rational manner without resorting to the same idiotic partisan games that we’ve all become accustomed to.

Defense—No Link—Public

Polls lie—the public won’t push cuts, especially on defense
Benen 11 (Steve, contributor, Washington Monthly, 5/1,, accessed 6-30-11, CH)

Matt Yglesias noted in response, “Of course this raises the question of whether people really mean this, which I doubt.” So do I. In fact, it’s pretty safe to assume folks don’t mean this at all, and the evidence is overwhelming that asking the question this way — i.e., asking whether Americans want to reduce the deficit through “spending cuts” — is almost certain to generate results that tell us nothing. It’s one of the most consistent truths in all of politics: Americans, when asked, love the idea of spending cuts in the abstract. Those same Americans, when pressed, hate the idea of spending cuts in specific. We know this in part because Gallup has told us. Just a few months ago, the pollster found most of the country balked at the notion of cuts to education, Social Security, Medicare, programs for the poor, national defense, homeland security, aid to farmers, and funding for the arts and sciences. A month later, a Bloomberg poll found that most Americans don’t want to see budget cuts to education, community renewal programs, medical and scientific research, or public television and public radio. A month ago today, a CNN poll showed most Americans want to see spending go up, not down, in many key areas of the budget.

Public opposes new cuts—majority support big spending like the DoD
PollWatch Daily 11 (4/2,, accessed 6-30-11, CH)

Many polls have shown that the dilemma and challenge in making deep cuts to the federal budget is that most Americans oppose reductions in the programs that would count most towards reducing the deficit, particularly the big entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. The spending cuts that get the most support are ones that would make the least difference. A CNN/Opinion Research poll, conducted March 11-13, takes that a step further. It asked those surveyed which programs they wanted to see increased, or kept the same, as well as which programs they thought should be decreased a little or a lot, or outright eliminated. Then it matched those numbers against what percentage of the federal budget respondents thought was spent on each program. (Story; Poll data)

Defense – Link Turn – Pork

Plan guarantees pork barrel spending – goes to the defense budget

Levy 10 (Jacob T., Tomlinson Prof of Political Theory @ McGill U, JPG

The idea is rapidly spreading that a ban on earmarks doesn't affect spending, since earmarks are a way of distributing what's already been appropriated. This is just true enough to be clever, and marks the speaker as being more sophisticated than those Tea Party rubes. But it's basically false, for three reasons. First, it is more expensive to do things inefficiently than to do things efficiently. Building the Ted Stevens Bridge To Nowhere or the Robert Byrd Gold-Plated NORAD Auxiliary High Command Of West Virginia means that money has simply been wasted, and that all the needs that weren't met this year will arise again next year. If the real needs exert at least some pull on appropriations levels, then wasting money rather than spending it wisely at time 1 does affect appropriations at time 2. The U.S. gets very bad value per dollar of federal infrastructure spending, in part because earmarks screw up the ability to prioritize projects. That doesn't increase the appropriations at time 1; but it does tend to drive them up in every later year. Similarly, when earmarks keep alive weapons systems that the Pentagon wants to cancel, because the defense appropriators in Congress view the defense budget as a jobs program, the Pentagon shrugs its shoulders and increase its request the following year; it's not going to let the wasteful jobs-program part of the budget displace its own military priorities. Second, bills often emerge out of House-Senate committees with higher appropriations levels that have the express aim of smoothing passage with earmarks. But third, and most important: the earmarking members of Congress are the same people who set the appropriations level. And by this I don't only mean that they're members of the House and Senate; I mean that they're powerful members of the relevant committees. Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd took turns chairing the Senate Appropriations Committee. The knowledge that they were going to have a chance to start shoveling pork a little bit later in the process affected how much they appropriated at the beginning. The idea that earmarks don't affect spending levels rests on a crazy image of how appropriations levels are set. We don't have one set of legislators who are dispassionate, disinterested judges of how much money needs to be allocated, who are then later on replaced by a bunch of grubby politicos deciding how to divvy up the spoils. Neither do we have legislators who, during their initial appropriations deliberations, somehow forget that earmarking comes later. Instead, we have normal human legislators throughout, responding to their incentives and environment. It would take a kind of saintly self-denial for them not to increase the initial size of the pool knowing that they were going to get a chance to give themselves a share later on.

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