Though he drew a less-than-capacity crowd at the early morning plenary of the Take Back The American Dream summit (and skipped answering questions in favor of an appearance on the CBS Morning show), Rep. Barney Frank's (D-MA) appearance got his lefty audience on their feet for his speech about cutting military spending -- before he'd even said a word.
But the applause hardly ended there. Frank kicked off his speech by explaining that he supported long-term deficit reduction for one major reason: "A credible deficit reduction plan is necessary to get the political support we need for job creation," he said.
Frank added: "There is no way to do a socially responsible deficit reduction plan... without significant reductions in military spending." He suggested, specifically, that the U.S. needed to cut $200 billion of its $650 billion annual budget.
Frank had a few ideas of how to achieve those cuts. In part, he said, "We spend too much because we are overcommitted." He pointed specifically to America's post-World War commitments: "The U.S. continues to subsidize heavily the wealthy Western nations against nonexistent threats."
He also suggested that consolidation in the Armed Forces could save money without sacrificing security. "I want our Air Force to be the largest air force in the world," he said. "I just don't think the Navy has to be second." He stated, instead, that he would be "happy" for the Navy to have the fourth-largest air force in the world.
And while Frank called for a reduction in the United States' nuclear capacity, it was his last suggestion that galvanized the anti-war attendees most: "We are spending $120 billion a year on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said, insisting they both must end.
Then, after dinging Republicans for arguing that military spending reductions would increase unemployment while simultaneously advocating that states and localities lower their budget deficits by laying off civilian workers, Frank bounced off the stage to scattered applause and the CBS cameras.
Photo: Rep. Barney Frank's Picasa page.