January 6, 2011

Obama cuts military spending. What else?

Flame out.
According to the Washington Post the Pentagon is going to be cutting spending by $78 billion over the next five years.  As a national security hawk that's a bit of a cause for worry for me but all in all everyone had to figure this was coming and it isn't necessarily that bad, if it doesn't end there.  With the Republicans talking about rather than following the Democrats' supposed pay as you go approach (for which they used questionable CBO inputs to get the results they needed  in their health care bill), they are going to require any new program to require offsetting spending cuts elsewhere this should be expected as the norm for the next two years.

Any bills the Democrats propose will likely come with spending cuts to the military or security related areas.  But that doesn't matter because Republicans control the house.  The real problem is President Obama pretending to get serious about the deficit is likely to focus on cutting spending in those areas.  In fact, he already has;
Gates had hoped to spare the Pentagon from the budget ax. Over the past two years, he cut dozens of expensive weapons programs and more recently sought to persuade lawmakers that the military had adopted a newfound thriftiness that would justify small but steady percentage increases in the size of its budget for the foreseeable future.

On Thursday, he said the armed services had successfully carried out a directive he issued in May to squeeze $100 billion in savings over the next five years by eliminating low-priority programs, thinning command structures and reducing overhead at the Pentagon. In return, he said, the Army, Navy and Air Force will get to reallocate nearly all of that money on new weapons systems and other combat-related projects.

But the fiscal realities facing the federal government led the Obama administration in recent weeks to order Gates to cut an additional $78 billion from its long-term spending plan.
The Pentagon though isn't the only thing that should be subject to such directives. The real questions is whether it will be alone in such executive-driven cuts. The reality of the current situation is that everything needs to be cut, including military spending in order to address the current fiscal crisis. Yes it's painful, and no, I don't like it, but as long as there are going to be across the board cuts, then it's more tolerable.

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