Two bedrock beliefs of traditional conservatism are fiscal discipline and strong national defense. Likewise, two general rules of budgetary reform in times of economic crisis are, first, to scale back expenditures rather than raise taxes, and, second, to look at defense for some of the deepest cuts. Something therefore will have to give.
In the last two years the United States has piled up record $1.3 trillion annual budget deficits. That red ink has pushed the national debt close to $14 trillion, approaching 98 percent of the nation’s annual gross domestic product, a peacetime record. Worse still, there is no end in sight to this massive borrowing. Trillion-dollar budget deficits are scheduled at least through 2014 and will take our national debt beyond $18 trillion.