Colin Powell: Defunding NPR Won't Solve Deficit Problem, Congress Should Look At Cutting Defense
Originally published: January 24, 2011
Last updated: January 24, 2011 - 8:33pm
Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell disagreed with current proposals to cut the deficit on Jan 23, saying that going after small programs one by one -- and not touching military and entitlement spending -- won't be effective in solving the country's long-term budget problems.
Last week, the Republican Study Committee, a conservative House GOP caucus, announced that it aims to return non-defense spending to 2008 levels and non-security spending to 2006 levels. It would cut funding for veterans programs, scientific research at the Department of Energy, Homeland Security, transportation, housing, education, legal services, foreign aid and the arts. The RSC proposal would save an estimated $16.1 billion by rolling back federal Medicaid funding, putting the burden for those patients on state and local governments. On the Jan 23 "State of the Union," Powell told host Candy Crowley that Congress needed to deal with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid if it wanted to balance the budget, and that announcing a spending freeze was an "inefficient way" of cutting the deficit:
"But the real money in the entitlements, it's Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. And unless we do something about those, you can't balance the budget. You can't fix the deficit or the national debt by killing NPR or National Endowment for the Humanities or the Arts. Nice political chatter, but that doesn't do it. And I'm very put off when people just say let's go back and freeze to the level two years ago. Don't tell me you're going to freeze to a level. That usually is a very inefficient way of doing it. Tell me what you're going to cut, and nobody up there yet is being very, very candid about what they are going to cut to fix this problem."
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