Mitt Romney’s $2 Trillion Defense Increase Explained

President Obama says that Mitt Romney wants to increase defense spending by $2 trillion over the next ten years, something that Romney didn’t deny in last week’s debate. But although I’ve heard this before, I never really knew where that number came from. Today, via Steve Benen, I learned that it comes from defense budget analyst Travis Sharp, and it’s based on a pretty simple extrapolation of Romney’s desire to increase the Pentagon budget to 4% of GDP. Here it is:

Romney’s an amazing guy, no? When it comes to things that bust the deficit, he’s got lots of big ticket items he’s happy to share with us. He wants to cut tax rates by $5 trillion. He wants to increase defense spending by $2 trillion. He wants to eliminate Obama’s $716 billion in reduced Medicare payments to hospitals.

But when it comes to things that would cut the deficit, he’s suddenly Mr. Small Ball. He’ll defund PBS. He’ll eliminate some tax deductions but won’t say which ones. He’ll cap Medicare growth, but then backs away from that. Has he ever even come close to owning a spending cut that would be anything other than peanuts compared to the budget busters he’s already hung his hat on? Aside from his quiet determination to slash medical care for poor people and the elderly — aka Medicaid —I can’t think of one.