The Wrong Adam Smith

James Carafano /

If you are looking for a great example of a national leader who can’t get his priorities in order, look no further than Representative Adam Smith (D–WA). He recently made clear he has no interest in special legislation that would spare the Pentagon from cuts that even the White House and Secretary of Defense said would be devastating to military readiness and undermine current capabilities.

“I care about defense a great deal,” he declared. “I also care about transportation. I care about [National Institute of Health]. I care about education,” Smith said. “I care about all the rest of the discretionary budget as well, so I think it has to be an all or nothing deal with it.”

He evidently missed the part of the Constitution that says a chief responsibility of government is to “provide for the common defense.” There are more enumerated responsibilities for defense in the Constitution than any other duty of government.

More to the point, under President Obama, defense will not be one of the priorities for federal spending—it will be the last priority of federal spending (see chart below)

Those who will pay the price of unpreparedness are our men and women in uniform who will have to defend us without the resources they need to do the job.

Smith may think defense spending is just another bill to paid, but he is wrong—just as paying the mortgage is not the same as paying your Netflix bill. When money is tight, you need to be smarter about setting priorities. If Congress doesn’t start doing that, America will be at risk and broke.