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Thread: A special budgetary place for Defense

  1. #1
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    A special budgetary place for Defense

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...gin_redirect=0


    A special budgetary place for Defense


    By Walter Pincus,


    The Defense Department gets special budgetary treatment, and the Pentagon’s fiscal 2013 appropriations bill in the House’s Continuing Resolution that passed Wednesday proves the point.

    It’s not just because Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs were the only ones that got the fiscal 2013 money while the rest of government mainly continued to receive funds at the fiscal 2012 level. That can be justified mainly because national security is involved, so supporting our troops and veterans here at home is universally accepted.

    But there are other reasons why no other department or agency can get away with having billions of appropriated but unused funds that can be returned to the Treasury or shifted to other projects. And no other department can have Congress annually take some of those billions — using reasons such as “unjustified program growth,” “revised cost estimate,” “contract delay,” “ahead of need” or just “excess funding” — and not have a few heads roll.

    And probably the most obvious: No other government entity provides the political benefits to lawmakers who vote those billions for the Defense Department.

    So when legislators take the House floor and complain, as they did Wednesday, that Defense needs dispensation because it’s taken a “disproportionate share of budget cuts,” remember there’s some self-interest involved.

    Excesses in the Defense Department and Military Construction fiscal 2013 funding can be found in the 335 pages of the House-Senate Conferees’ explanation of the Continuing Resolution that was delivered Tuesday by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

    One of the biggest shifts was to add nearly $11 billion to the operations and maintenance (O&M) account, in part because of concerns about readiness. At Tuesday’s House Rules Committee hearing, Rogers was asked where the money was found. About $5 billion came from saving on spare parts and $4 billion from excess funds for foreign forces, he said.

    I noticed among the O&M items the bill reduced as “unjustified” was $50 million for travel associated with Air Force travel. What other agency could even seek $50 million for travel?

    And how about finding more efficiency in moving people from one military assignment to another. It’s called permanent change of station. The conferees cut that by $147 million and recommended the military find “efficiencies.”

    The Navy Reserve apparently had a “shortfall,” according to the conferees and needed another C-40A — a version of the Boeing 737 that can be used for cargo or personnel. Its cost: $79 million. But the Navy Reserve provides “100 percent of the Navy’s worldwide in-theater medium and heavy airlift,” according to the service.

    And Congress almost doubled to $200 million funds to develop prompt global-strike capability — the seeking of an advanced hypersonic weapon to deliver a conventional weapon anywhere in the world within an hour.

    There’s also repairs for the Navy’s 22-year-old USS Miami, the Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine that was in a fire. The first repair estimate was $450 million. This year the Navy said it needed $150 million more, which it got.

    On Tuesday at the House Appropriations Military Construction Subcommittee, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno — talking about the sequester — said the Army would have to delay some “top construction priorities.” Renovating cadet barracks and building new ones at West Point were among them.

    In a solicitation notice, the Corps of Engineers said the project provided barracks for 650 cadets. The primary facility would include, among other things, two-person rooms, plus a battalion support area; latrines and showers; laundry, trash/ recycling, storage, day and study rooms; building information systems; and offices for tactical officers, tactical noncommissioned officers and duty orderlies.

    Cost for “design, construction of base and all optional items,” the Corps said, was $170 million. To pay for barracks at West Point the Army asked for $192 million in fiscal 2013. No one appeared to balk. The conferees only agreed to provide “incremental” funds — $86 million, or half for a project engineers said would take nearly four years to complete once the design contract is awarded.

    Then there’s military health care: $273 million added to cover what would have been modest increased fees for Tricare. The White House had proposed working retirees pay the bump, but Congress blocked that.

    Congress also added to its peer-reviewed military research. The fiscal 2013 bill includes $623 million, though $135 million is for military-related studies on traumatic brain injury and psychological health research. But there’s also $12 million for Alzheimer’s and $6 million for autism. It’s as if the National Institutes of Health and others are not working on these issues.

    Maybe conferees have started seeing problems. They added $50 million under a general category of “Peer-reviewed medical research,” but at least they directed the defense secretary and military service surgeons general “to select medical research projects of clear scientific merit and direct relevance to military health.”

    That’s not much, but it’s progress.

    pincusw@washpost.com

  2. #2
    Well the Democrats hold the White House and Senate where they on this mess. Yes the Defense Dept needs to be held accountable and they must be!

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    Yup, the Democrats are part of the problem on this , too

  4. #4
    I have no problem with high defense spending. Unlike tax cuts for the rich this money actually goes back into the economy and we need to protect ourselves. As far as military healthcare goes it is way more efficiently run than the current status quo because private for profit insurance companies are not involved and feres immunity keeps out med mal lawsuits and crooked tort lawyers.

    Cut the bs social programs and raise taxes on the rich.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by detjetsfan View Post
    I have no problem with high defense spending. Unlike tax cuts for the rich this money actually goes back into the economy and we need to protect ourselves. As far as military healthcare goes it is way more efficiently run than the current status quo because private for profit insurance companies are not involved and feres immunity keeps out med mal lawsuits and crooked tort lawyers.

    Cut the bs social programs and raise taxes on the rich.
    Agreed..... However, there is probably 10 percent fat in the D department as even admitted to by a high raining general. Why we have 17 bases in Japan is , as an example, astounding.


    BTW....if we confiscated all the weath of the rich, it would do almost nothing.


    Our labor costs are simply unsustainable.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by detjetsfan View Post
    I have no problem with high defense spending. Unlike tax cuts for the rich this money actually goes back into the economy and we need to protect ourselves. As far as military healthcare goes it is way more efficiently run than the current status quo because private for profit insurance companies are not involved and feres immunity keeps out med mal lawsuits and crooked tort lawyers.

    Cut the bs social programs and raise taxes on the rich.


    The money goes back into the economy and then sits in a warehouse or blows up a mud hut 5000 miles away or rides around a desert.

    Whereas the Social programs money for infrastructure, research and education goes into the economy and then goes into the economy again and again.

    Where would UPS be without government built roads and bridges?

    Where would the pharmaceutical industry be without government funded research and development?

    Where would Microsoft and Apple be without college graduates?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Agreed..... However, there is probably 10 percent fat in the D department as even admitted to by a high raining general. Why we have 17 bases in Japan is , as an example, astounding.


    BTW....if we confiscated all the weath of the rich, it would do almost nothing.


    Our labor costs are simply unsustainable.
    BS

    The Pentagon budget was $300 billion-ish in President Bush’s first year and is now $630 billion-ish.

  8. #8

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    BS

    The Pentagon budget was $300 billion-ish in President Bush’s first year and is now $630 billion-ish.
    Not sure what you are saying? I was just stating what I read in the WSJ.

    What is BS? Are you saying there is NO fat or more than 10 percent?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Not sure what you are saying? I was just stating what I read in the WSJ.

    What is BS? Are you saying there is NO fat or more than 10 percent?

    I’m saying the Pentagon could take a 30%-ish cut without our safety being jeopardized.

    The Atlantic and Pacific oceans are still our best defense and still very, very large

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    I’m saying the Pentagon could take a 30%-ish cut without our safety being jeopardized.

    The Atlantic and Pacific oceans are still our best defense and still very, very large
    +1

    One should step back and think what our economy was like before WW2. What were the driving forces? Who was the country's largest employer? Was it the feds then? I'm not sure, I tend to think not. Only after WW2, do we have businesses whose sole means of survival is sucking off the govt. teat. The defense industry was born, or as President Eisenhower so eliquently put it, "The Military Industrial Complex".

    We have retired Admirals whose annual pension is 6 figures and they are consultants to one of the DOD contractors who is paying them another six figures. These guys make half a million bucks a year and it's all directly or indirectly from the Feds. (you, me and our deficit)

    And why do we have to be the self appointed worlds cop? And what about all of the bases we have in foreign countries? I know, we can't scale back b/c what would that do to the Military Industrial Complex?

    I'm tired of the giveaway programs, the gluttony and greed. Our country is broken and we let it happen. Now we have to fix it and we can start by throwing the bums in Washington out!

  11. #11
    The MIC is very large. The problem now is that it is competing with the PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) and the 'other' MIC (Medical Industrial Complex).

    The reason the MIC gets more special treatment is due to the fact that it is 'constitutional' to have the federal gov't keep a military. Clearly this has gone to an exponential level.

    Look at the growth of Americans in Prison: (The incarceration rate in the United States of America is the highest in the world. As of 2009, the incarceration rate was 743 per 100,000 of national population (0.743%).[2] In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world at 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000.[2])
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...rceration_rate

    Look at the numbers of Americans in some sort of medical treatment: (According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($7,146), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (15.2%), than any other nation in 2008. The Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in the quality of health care among similar countries, and notes U.S. care costs the most.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_..._United_States

    The level of all of this spending is unsustainable.

    In AG the USA is now spending $20,000 USD per oil container. Up from $250 USD in 2010. http://oilprice.com/Energy/Gas-Price...ghanistan.html

    In 2011 The cost was a whopping $400 USD PER GALLON. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...427403928.html

    I know a lot of folks here complain about $4.00 a gallon, but this is what you need to tell congress to end. Additionally, the roads in AG/Pak cannot hold the large tankers and have to be rebuilt often. The cost spirals out of control.

    Too make things worse, all of this spending, started by Bush/Cheney, is on the credit card.

    Cut the spending on these programs maybe even move the money to health/educational/clean energy programs we can possibly get a better investment on our tax dollars

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