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Even Easier: Obama's Proposed Defense Cuts Revisited

18 Apr 2011
Posted by Gordon Adams

Updating my entry last Friday, we have recalculated the route to get to President Obama's proposed security spending reductions of $400 billion over twelve, yes, count them, twelve years.  Not a great step forward, and well below what Simpson-Bowles, Rivlin-Domenici, or Frank-Paul proposed last year, in fact, roughly a third of what they called for.

If you go to the Stimson Center's Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense website, you will see our new calculation, based on the final FY 2011 budget agreement number for defense, which shows that maintaining DOD's buying power (increasing the budget every year by inflation) provides more than $428 billion in savings from the current DOD plan.  If one left that $28 billion on the table, one could even claim DOD funding would grow after inflation (a teeny, tiny amount), and still achieve Obama's goal.

But, of course, even that is not likely.  Obama was careful to describe these cuts as reductions in "security spending," which means the target agencies include State, USAID, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security.  So defense could be spared even more.

It's all theory.  Obama will be long gone by FY 2023 and the world and the defense budget will have changed so much that we won't begin to recognize the real numbers.  Theory works in politics, sometimes, but it is still theory.

With Dems like these, who needs the GOP?

I still think the analogy of the cigarette smoker still applies to DoD spending. "Instead of smoking a whole pack of cigarettes next year, I'll just smoke 19."

I have no doubt that VA spending will be on the chopping block. With less than 2% of Americans bothering to serve in these wars of convenience, that's not a huge block of votes to worry about. Us veterans are used to being forgotten once the uniform comes off anyway. Suck it up, drive on, don't whine, you signed up for it, etc.

Regardless of the party in charge, it's business as usual: "Thanks guys (and gals) for your sacrifice and unprecedented amount of combat tours. Sorry there's no money left to treat your mental and physical ailments or help with your education. GE and the other defense industries need their handouts, don'tcha know?"


Politics

Sad thing is even with these very minor cuts, he'll be accused of "dismantling the military" unless he increases spending as a % of GDP every single year.

VA is a minor part of the budget comparatively, there is no excuse for having that on the chopping block beforehand.


I think $400B is a good

I think $400B is a good target, but I'd be looking to do it over 4 years. Then I'd be pondering more.

But I'd be labelled - effectively - an America-hating commieislamofacist in a heartbeat.




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