Obama Increased Real Defense Spending by More Than 10 Percent

Terence P. Jeffrey | November 15, 2012 | 10:21am EST
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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama increased inflation-adjusted Department of Defense spending by 10 percent--even while ending the war in Iraq.

That is more than the automatic cut in defense spending that will take place in January if Obama and Congress do not agree to a new spending-and-debt-limit deal.

In fiscal 2008, the year before Obama took office, real Defense Department spending was $526.9 billion in constant 2005 dollars, according to official figures published by the Office of Management and Budget. Four years later, in fiscal 2012, which ended on Sept. 30, real Defense Department spending was $582.5 billion in constant 2005 dollars.

The $55.6 billion jump in real Defense Department spending from 2008 to 2012 was a 10.5 percent increase.

In August 2011, House Speaker John Boehner made a deal with Obama to enact legislation lifting the legal limit on the federal debt by $2.4 trillion. That deal also said that if Congress and the president could not agree to significant spending cuts by Jan. 2, 2013, there would be automatic cuts in defense spending and non-defense discretionary spending. As calculated by the Congressional Research Service, those automatic cuts would equal about $54.7 billion in defense spending in 2013 and about $54.7 billion in domestic spending.

Cutting defense by $54.7 billion in 2013 would not reverse the inflation-adjusted increase of $55.6 billion in defense spending instituted under Obama.

In fiscal 2003, when the United States was at war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense Department spending was $426.3 billion in constant 2005 dollars. Between then and 2012, real Defense Department spending increased by $156.2 billion, or 36.6 percent.

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