This week has kind of been a primer to get your brain in a different mode of thinking. Because "old think" isn't cutting it anymore. We've been talking about something the people at Cato have put together — drastic budget cut proposals. And quite honestly, we're not making any friends with this, because people don't want their slice of the pie taken away.
Tonight, I may even lose my own friendship because we zero in on my own sacred cow: national security.
Let me start here: According to The Economist, Americans overwhelmingly feel cutting spending is the best way to reduce the deficit — 62 percent. Five percent want to raise taxes.
But — and this is a huge "but" — as soon as you get out the scalpel and go to work, people say, whoa-whoa-whoa, wait a minute!
This is a chart that shows what we are up against when it comes to cutting the budget. You aren't cutting that are you? Look at how low support is for cutting things back. Everything is below 30 percent.
Only 12 percent want to cut highways?
Nineteen percent on unemployment benefits?
Only 22 percent want to cut back on science? I mean, I love pictures of Mars as much as the next guy, but I also like having a country.
It shouldn't be a tough decision, but apparently it is.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combined make up about 40 percent of the federal budget. But look how little willingness there is to cut them:
• Social Security: 7 percent
• Medicare: 7 percent
• Medicaid: 11 percent
The item we're least likely to cut is veterans' benefits: 6 percent.
(Are veterans benefits even in the same ballpark as Social Security? Not saving for retirement — or serving our country? They don't seem equal, but there is equal opposition to cutting them. It's because they have expanding so much that they touch everybody in one way or another.)
There is a bit more support for cutting defense: 22 percent. Of course, that shouldn't be surprising: You can get 10 percent to support just about anything. I mean, 6 percent of people believe the moon landing was faked and filmed at a Hollywood movie lot. Cutting national defense? That's the uber-left in that number.
But there is one category that people do want to cut.
Out of all the wasteful spending going on — fighting the imaginary global warming monster, wildly expensive and mismanaged mass transit projects, the federal Department of Education — the only thing Americans can seem to agree should be cut is foreign aid. Seventy-one percent of people want to cut it. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the rest of the world constantly whines about how evil we are, yet they don't seem to mind taking our money. And why wouldn't they? We seem to be content to just give it away.
In 1986 an earmark for Ireland was created for something called the International Fund for Ireland, created by the Irish and British to promote peace in Northern Ireland. Since 1996, U.S. taxpayers have contributed $280 million to the fund. It was raised to $17 million in 2010 — that's up $ 2 million from 2009. The original concerns of violence and poverty have long been gone, yet the money still flows in.
And who could forget the billion dollar American embassy in Iraq? With 10 times the amount of land reserved for a normal embassy, it's a 104-acre complex with 21 buildings, cinema, shopping area, restaurants, power plants, schools. It's the size of 80 football fields and the biggest embassy ever built. All it's missing is a giant statue of Saddam.
This is the kind of waste we are used to with our foreign aid, but President Obama recently increased the foreign aid budget to $49 billion in the middle of an economic crisis here at home. Some requests in his 2011 budget that go towards supposedly keeping us safe here at home:
• $238.3 million in funds to assist Lebanon
• $10 million for Egyptian students with financial needs — we have people that can't go to school here and we're sending Egyptian students to college?
• $400 million in for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
• $2.2 billion to Israel to "procure defense articles and services to enhance the capacity of foreign security forces"
When a man goes overboard, the last thing you do is jump in after them. They are panicking and there's a good chance they will drag you down with them. You both die. Then how many people have you saved?
We're in the water. America used to be the strongest swimmer. We need to get back to shore and take care of ourselves.
We can help people by teaching our kids morals, values, ethics and how to use the free market to innovate and create. We are the people who invented Morse code, the assembly line, electricity distribution, the ATM, the typewriter, the pot belly stove. We need to be that nation again and improve the world through innovation. That's the best kind of foreign aid we can give: ideas and technology. That's how we can really change the world, not through sending wads of cash that dictators will take to build massive statues of themselves.
Look, I want to get one of those iPads, even though it sounds like a feminine hygiene product. I don't want it because someone from Apple tried to build one in my house. I want one because I've seen others using it and it looks cool.
The example we set now is what pisses everyone off: We say we're going to spread democracy, but we bed dictators, we bow to Saudi princes, when it's to our advantage. George Washington wanted us to be like the Swiss: Enemy of none, friend to all. Places like Germany — hey, we're glad you are all straightened out, but we're pulling out, you're on your own. We're not staying. We need to get out of the Korean Peninsula and Japan. No longer will we be the world's loiterers.
The United States spends approximately $102 billion annually to maintain troops, equipment, fleets and bases overseas — if you count Iraq and Afghanistan it jumps to $250 billion. Well, I'm tired of being the world's policeman. And in many cases we are the world's loiterers. We need to have a "no loitering" policy.
That policy comes from the progressives. The Republicans say we'll send in the "green helmets" and just nation build our way to global security. The liberals want to do it through the United Nations; they want to send in the "blue helmets" — which we pay for.
This doesn't work. I don't want to nation build. I don't want a global government or military force.
And for all the Don Rumsfelds out there watching who are cursing me out right now because they think no time is a good time to cut defense spending. Well, maybe this will help. This chart shows who accounts for all military spending in the world.
Almost half of all military spending in the world — 47 percent — is America. The next biggest spender is Europe — that's not even a country, they spent $289 billion on military-related expenses. We almost spent that much outside our country for our own defense!
So don't tell me we can't afford to cut back. Clearly we can.
And when we are in a situation like Afghanistan, we fight to win it. With all of our technology today, why can't we get in and out of Afghanistan in a couple of years? Because the politicians have their grimy little fingers on everything. Take the military off the leash; if you decide to go to war, unhook those dogs and get the hell out of the way.
If I were king for a day, here's my policy on defense:
• We mind our own business: We wouldn't be pushing anything on other countries
• The enemy of my enemy is not my friend
• Nothing is in our interest if our values and principles are gone. Why do you think they hate us in the Middle East? Maybe it's because we don't stand for anything
• Don't screw with us, because...
• When we fight, we fight to win: We'll bring the full force and might of the U.S. military and wipe you off the face of the planet
• We're coming home — and we won't waste our time rebuilding your country either. You messed with us? Your bad
Our defense budget needs to reflect that attitude. We can reduce the waste in our military and still be a lethal force.
It's time to shift our money out of foreign aid and long-standing commitments. We are not an empire, we are a republic. And it's time we start acting like the republic that we were meant to be.
— Watch "Glenn Beck" weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel