For once - and, so far, just this once - U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., makes a good point.
Frank is a classic big spender in Washington. Policies he promoted, in fact, helped lead to the''sub-prime mortgage crisis'' a few years ago.
But last week Frank told a reporter defense spending should not be exempted from government spending cuts. He insisted that $200 billion a year in Pentagon spending could be eliminated ''without in any way endangering our security.''
Frank also is right that many members of Congress traditionally have viewed defense spending as sacrosanct. Actually, it is worse than that; sometimes, in order to protect industries in their districts, lawmakers approve defense spending for items the Pentagon doesn't want. The program, now ended, to build two separate engines for the new F-35 fighter plane is a good example.
Massive amounts of spending - for U.S. troops in Europe, for example - could be avoided without imperiling U.S. security.
So Frank is right, to an extent. Defense spending, like that for entitlement programs liberal lawmakers cherish, needs to be on the table in any discussion of how to get our nation's fiscal house back in order.