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Barney Frank: Pleasurable To Say "I Told You So" About Military Spending




"First of all, the fact that the military budget is being appropriately identified as one of the causes of the deficit is a big breakthrough," Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" tonight. "I mean, you can go back and do a content search. And I've been on this for a long time. You know, I want to do a little 'I told you so' today. One of the great lies people say is 'Oh, I don't like to say I told you so.' Everybody likes to say 'I told you so.' And I have found it to be one of the few pleasure that's improves with age. So I get better at it as I get older. And there aren't many things about which that's true."

"But the fact that we've got it on the table. And I give some credit to Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. And I talked to them beforehand."

"Secondly, you made a very good point by talking about no longer long-term stability. The dollar number is secondary to the goals you set yourself. If you were going to set for America a very broad range of goals in which we have to run the world to make it better, then you're going to have to spend more. And if you then try to cut back people say, 'Well, you're putting the military in a bad position because you're telling them to do this and you're not giving them the resources.'"

"We have to pull back on this overreach. And there's one principle I would hope we could adopt, and it's really implicit in the very good comments you were making about building societies, et cetera."

"We have a wonderful military. They are extraordinarily able people. They are dedicated. They are well equipped. And they are very well equipped at doing what a military can do, and that is to stop bad things from happening. But militaries are not the place you go when you want good things to happen. Militaries stop bad things. They don't start up good things or bring on good things, particularly in foreign societies. I'm sorry that the Shia and the Sunni and the Kurds are fighting. But 25-year-old heavily armed Americans are not the answer to that."

"So the President took some steps forward. But not far enough. And I think it's important for a lot of us to continue to press -- for instance, he said 'We'll be secure if we spend more than the next ten countries in the world combined.' I'm going to be radical, I'd feel secure if we spend more than the next seven combined. I'd knock off the last three. I'd bet you that would save us $15 billion a year."

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