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Defense Spending To Plunge If Either McCain Or Obama Becomes President, Analyst Says

By | May 19, 2008

      Defense spending will plummet if either Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, or Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois, who seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, enters the White House.

      So says Loren B. Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a think tank focusing on defense and other issues.

      He doesn’t focus on Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, the other leading Democratic hopeful.

      While Obama and McCain differ on getting U.S. forces out of Iraq, they have similar views on other defense issues, Thompson wrote.

      Both candidates would increase the number of ground forces, and would change acquisition processes. And each of the candidates would cut defense spending from roughly $700 million annually including war costs, to about $500 million (Obama) to $550 million (McCain), Thompson observed.

      "McCain wants to stay in Iraq, but he has a slew of tax-cutting proposals that will be impossible to implement unless he finds savings elsewhere in the budget (the budget he inherits will already be in deficit to the tune of perhaps $400 billion)," Thompson stated.

      "So McCain too will have to turn to the Pentagon as a bill-payer. Bottom line: bipartisanship is making a comeback, and no matter who gets elected in November, defense spending is headed down."

      To view the full commentary, please go to on the Web.

      McCain has proposed tax cuts that would total more than $6 trillion over a decade, triple the $2 trillion decade total that President Bush persuaded Congress to adopt in 2001 and 2003. Those Bush tax cuts are to expire automatically in two or three years, unless Congress extends them, as McCain favors.

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