Tag Archives: deficit

Carolyn Stupidhead calls on the GOP to sabotage America’s defense

Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle has recently called on the GOP to sabotage America’s defense by drastically underfunding it (but what could one expect a San Francisco liberal to say?). Her preferred method of doing this is the Frank-Paul pamphlet, which calls for defense spending cuts of $1 trillion over the next decade.

Lochhead complained on the SFC’s pages that

“Reps. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Barney Frank, D-Mass., right, have drafted a plan to slash military spending by almost $1 trillion over the next decade, but GOP leaders have ignored it.”

The reason why GOP leaders have ignored it is because it is a treasonous, bad, idiotic plan which would render the US military impotent, just like the tragically-underfunded European militaries. $1 trillion over a decade is $100 bn per year. Such cuts (and with the current, low levels of defense spending, any cuts) of defense spending would weaken the US military, thus endangering America.

But, like other strident liberals and their libertarian cousins, Lochhead believes that a strong defense actually threatens America. Lochhead wrote:

“They have ignored a bipartisan plan to slash military spending by almost $1 trillion over the next decade. Among other things, the proposal by Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, would remove thousands of U.S. troops stationed in Japan and Germany since World War II, arguing that the United States is subsidizing its rich allies.

The Frank-Paul proposal, called “Debt, Deficits & Defense,” argues that the defense budget has grown so large that it is weakening U.S. security by endangering the country’s economy.”
This is a ridiculous claim. Defense budgets never threaten America nor its economy. And America’s current defense budget is small – it equals only 3.65% of America’s GDP and 14.44% of America’s total federal budget. It is ridiculous to claim that such a small defense budget threatens America or its economy, or that it is responsible for America’s budget deficits and public debt. But for Frank, Paul and Lochhead, and their fellow liberals and libertarians, every defense budget, no matter how small, is too big. They believe that militaries and defense budgets are bad per se. They believe, and Ron Paul has repeatedly claimed, that America  is an evil empire that occupies other countries. No wonder why the GOP’s leaders ignored the ludicrous Frank-Paul proposal.
3.65% of GDP is a historically-low level, as is 14.44% of the federal budget. During the entire Cold War, except FY1948, America was spending much more on defense than these meagre figures, yet it did not bury itself under a mountain of debt, and didn’t even face the threat of a mountain of debt. It is ridiculous to claim that a 3.65% of GDP item threatens the US economy, whose size is $14.61 trillion dollars. As for America’s deficits and debt, they are due exclusively to civilian spending, most notoriously entitlement programs (which cost over $2 trillion per year) and welfare programs (whose annual cost is $888 bn). But facts don’t matter to ideologues like Frank, Paul and Lochhead.
Lochhead has also falsely claimed that
“Defense spending, which has more than doubled since 2001, dwarfing every other budget category, goes unmentioned.”
Although the GOP’s spending cut proposals indeed don’t mention defense – which should not be cut, as it is the #1 duty of the federal government – Lochhead’s claims are false because:
1) Defense spending has NOT doubled since 2001. The FY2001 defense budget (signed in CY2000) was $291.1 bn dollars ($297 bn dollars according to one source) in 2000’s money. Even if you don’t adjust that figure for inflation, defense spending has NOT doubled since 2001, because to double since 2001, it would have to be (in nominal terms) $582 billion now (as of FY2010). But the FY2001 DOD budget should be adjusted for inflation. Do so, and you get a FY2001 defense budget of $368.82 bn. To double, it would have to grow to $737.64 bn (which would make it bigger than the DOD’s budget and the GWOT supplemental combined!). But the DOD’s budget for FY2010 is much smaller – it’s only $534 bn. It’s a small figure.
2) Defense spending is NOT the biggest spending category in the budget. The biggest is welfare spending, whose FY2010 level is a record-high $888 bn. The second-largest item is the Social Security Program, whose FY2010 cost is $696 bn. The third-largest item is healthcare spending (Medicare Program + the DHHS = $452 bn +90 bn = $542 bn). Defense spending is fourth, at $534 bn.
Carolyn Lochhead has also lied about the plans and claims of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. She wrote that:
“On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who began that job under President George W. Bush in 2006, called for cutting military spending by $100 billion in the next five years because the nation no longer can afford the military budgets approved since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he said.”
But Gates has NEVER claimed that. He only said that under the current economic circumstances, defense spending will be flat or will grow by no more than 1% in real terms during the next decade or so. Moreover, he NEVER called for a $100 bn defense spending cut or military spending reduction. He has repeatedly said, time after time, that he OPPOSES reductions of the DOD’s total budget. What he did call was to find $100 bn of savings on the DOD’s overhead, bureaucracy, reports, intel costs and healthcare program costs over 5 years to REINVEST those savings in the DOD’s budget. He does not want to cut defense spending – he wants to internally shift some defense spending from one category of defense spending to another, specifically, from overhead and bureaucracies (and other lower-priority stuff) to the most important programs of the DOD – those related to maintaining the force structure, and those related to equipment.
Lochhead only once mentioned the Medicare program, albeit she admitted it is “the jet engine of deficits”, and blamed budget deficits and public debt on the item which is NOT to blame for them – America’s defense budgets. Ignoring the government’s constitutional DUTY, and the Constitution’s preamble (which says why the federal government was established in the first place), Lochhead blamed America’s fiscal problems exclusively on defense, which is totally unrelated to them, rather than the real culprit (civilian spending). To try to smear the DOD and defense spending, she resorted to lies and presented Traitor Barney Frank (an irredeemably biased liberal) and Ron Paul (an irredeemably biased libertarian). But lies are lies, and I’ve disproven them.
Shame on you, Carolyn Lochhead!
ADDENDUM: The DHHS officially admits that the total healthcare program FY2010 spending of the federal government, administered by the DHHS itself, is 859.763 bn, and that it has requested $910.679 bn for that purpose for FY2011. The source: http://dhhs.gov/asfr/ob/docbudget/2011budgetinbrief.pdf
That would make this by far the biggest spending category in the federal budget. However, both of these figures include the Medicaid program (which is a welfare project) and the Medicare program as well as the discretionary budget of the DHHS itself ($90.7 bn for FY2010, $92 bn requested for FY2011) and other healthcare programs. To avoid double accounting, I classified the Medicaid program as a part of welfare spending ($888 bn for FY2010).

50 spending reduction proposals

The federal government plans a $1.56 trillion budget deficit for FY2011. This would be America’s biggest budget deficit ever.

America cannot afford such deficits and Americans are already taxed enough, so a tax hike is not an option.

The defense budget is too small and the US military is already forced to cope with too few resources, so a reduction of the defense budget would be a foolish mistake.

This means that the federal government needs to choose priorities, define its role, and significantly reduce nonessential spending. Therefore, I’ve devised this list of 50 spending reduction proposals, based on my Blueprint for a Balanced Budget.

My proposals are:

1) Cancel all unspent stimulus funds. The stimulus will cost $862 bn by the time all of it is spent, but a large part of it – maybe even a majority of it – has not been spent yet.

2) Cancel the TARP program and devote 100% of repaid TARP money to debt payment.

3) Cancel the Obama socialized medicine scheme.

4) Reduce the cost of federal welfare programs by no less than 50%. Welfare programs currently cost $888 bn per year (FY2010 data).

5) Cut and consolidate all federal teen pregnancy prevention programs and all federal housing programs. Reduce their costs by no less than 50%.

6) Aggressively prosecute anyone who defrauds taxpayers money. $120 bn of the annual Medicaid program budget, and $60 bn of the annual Medicare program budget, is defrauded every year by criminal organizations such as the Mafia. Total annual savings: $180 bn.

7) Close the Department of Education. It’s unconstitutional and it’s degrading, not improving, American schools. The annual saving: $49.697 bn.

8) Close the Department of Agriculture. It’s unconstitutional and it needlessly duplicates state agriculture departments. The annual saving: $25 bn.

9) Close the DHUD. It’s unconstitutional. The annual saving: $41.590 bn.

10) Close the Federal Transit Administration, which distributes federal funds for pork projects masquerading as transit systems, which few people ride. The annual saving: $5.335 bn.

11) End all federal farm subsidies. Sorry Midwesterners, but American taxpayers are not obliged to subsidize agriculture, and besides, it won’t collapse without federal farm subsidies. Unsubsidized agricultural products are not more expensive than those which are subsidized. The annual saving: $57 bn.

12) End all federal ethanol subsidies and wind turbine subsidies. The annual saving: $7 bn.

13) End all federal subsidies for solar panels.

14) Reduce the budget of the DHS (which is the worst federal waster of money ever) by 10%. The DHS can still protect America if it ends or reduces unnecessary programs (e.g. grants for states, which are wasted, and body scanners, which are misused by guards to look at passengers’ genitals). The DHS should also merge the USCIS with the CBP and the ICE. However, it should receive enough funding to complete the border fence. The annual saving: $4.5 bn.

15) Halve the federal travel budget.

16) Halve the federal car fleet, from 500,000 cars to 250,000 vehicles, while requiring that all of these vehicles must be produced by American corporations in factories located in the US.

17) Halve the budget of the Congress.

18) Halve the budget of the Executive Office of the President. The annual saving: $283 mn.

19) Abolish the BATF and the DEA of the DOJ. The BATF is a relic of the Prohibition Era, and the DEA is used to wage the disastrous War on Drugs. Also, reduce the number of attorneys employed by the USDOJ. Stop running America’s largest law firm after the CA state government.

20) End the war on drugs. Tax drugs. The annual saving: $77 bn.

21) Close the EPA.

22) Enact the Fair Tax and close the IRS. The annual saving: $12 bn.

23) Enact all the domestic department rescissions proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn.

24) Cancel the federal high-speed railway program. HSRs are not feasible in the US.

25) Institute a law which will say that all federal funds not obligated or spent during the FY for which they were authorized, nor during the next fiscal year, must be cancelled. Currently, the federal government has $1 trillion of funding authorized for past fiscal years, but not obligated nor spent.

27) Reduce the number of presidential appointees by half. The annual saving: $1 bn.

28) Ban all earmarks forever. The annual saving: $25 bn.

29) Sell all unneeded federal property, thus making a profit of $83 bn (which should be devoted exclusively to debt payment) and saving taxpayers the annual cost of maintaining it, which is $25 bn.

30) Reduce the budget of the Department of State by 50% by abolishing the USAID agency, the Disarmament Agency, the FMF program, and many other unneeded DOS programs, and by closing American embassies in Damascus, Harare and Minsk.

31) Abolish the HRSA and the FDA of the DHHS. The FDA dares to decree what drugs and food you’re allowed to buy.

32) End all American contributions to the UN’s budget, withdraw the US from the UN, and expel the UN from the US. The UN is a virulently anti-Semitic organization which serves as nothing more than a forum for dictators and Islamic terrorists to utter anti-American and anti-Semitic rants. If it loves Iran and Syria, it should relocate to Tehran or Damascus.

33) Abolish the National Infrastructure Bank. The annual saving: $5 bn.

34) Abolish the Equal Opportunity Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the US “Institute of Peace”, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

35) Abolish subsidies for Planned Parenthood clinics. The annual saving: $336.7 mn.

36) Abolish subsidies for the US Postal Service, Amtrak, and the CPB. The annual saving: $4 bn.

37) Halve government printing costs. The saving: $2 bn.

38) Close Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the government-owned banks which created the current economic crisis.

39) Close the SA&MH program of the DHHS.

40) The federal government must be computerized and adapted to the information age. (http://newt.org/tabid/102/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/2835/Default.aspx)

41) Restore the 1996 welfare roll reform legislation.

42) Abolish the SCHIP program.

43) Merge the DC Police with the Capitol Police.

44) Replace only 50% of retiring federal employees.

45) Ban federal funding for embryonic stem cell research programs.

46) Abolish all unnecessary federal regulations, including CAFE standars, the Davis-Bacon Act, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and save the costs incurred by the federal government by enforcing them.

47) Raise the retirement age.

48) Abolish the Department of Commerce minus the Census Bureau and the NIST.

49) Merge the DOE with the DOI, to create one Department responsible for all natural resources of the US, governed by a single Secretary.

50) Deny any federal funding, or other benefits, to illegal aliens. (http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/08/the_fiscal_burden_of_educating.html)

These spending reduction proposals would be more than sufficient to balance the federal budget, and would generate surpluses which would allow America to eventually pay its debt.

Most politicians – including most Republicans – won’t even dare to propose any specific spending cuts. There are only a few noble exceptions, such as Sharron Angle, Anna Little and Marco Rubio.

Another anti-defense liberal has utterly discredited himself

Yet another anti-defense liberal has utterly discredited himself. His name is Josh Barro, and his article of 8th June 2010, written for “RealWorldMarkets” (it should be called Alternate Universe Markets) claims that Senator Tom Coburn has tacked America’s supposed “runaway defense spending”.

The claim that America maintains “runaway defense spending” (i.e. “out-of-control defense spending”) is merely the first of the many lies included in his defense-bashing article. The truth is that defense spending – unlike entitlement spending – is tightly controlled by the OMB and the Congress, which carefully scrutinizes defense budgets, often refuses to authorize many programs and weapon orders, and usually authorizes less defense spending than what the executive branch requests. Not to mention the fact that ever since FY1995, defense spending has constantly remained below 4% of GDP and below the record Reagan-era levels.

Burro claims that defense spending is the second-largest cause of America’s debt and deficit. He’s lying. After the splurge of entitlement costs, which he correctly named as the biggest cause, the second-largest item in the federal budget (and therefore the second-largest cause of budget deficits and the federal debt) is welfare spending, not defense funding. This FY, welfare spending reached a record-high level – $888 bn, that is, much more than defense spending ($534 bn).

He claimed that defense spending “often gets short shrift”. He’s wrong. Defense spending is always the favorite “whipping boy” of almost every politician whenever the federal government posts a yearly budget deficit. This is also true today – very few politicians promise to reduce civilian programs and agencies, but almost every politician is calling for defense spending cuts.

He then falsely claimed that

“That national security is important does not mean that the Pentagon should be exempt from fiscal oversight or off the table when we talk about balancing the federal budget. This is especially true because higher defense spending does not always make us safer.”

This is NOT true. And yes, the DOD should be off the table when people talk about balancing the federal budget, because 1) the DOD is not to blame for the current budget deficits; 2) the DOD is responsible for the government’s most important, constitutionally-ordained, no-fail task: national defense. Any reduction of defense spending makes it hard for the DOD to execute that task.

Barro is apparently nostalgic about Clinton and his treasonous defense cuts, because he claimed that:

“With the Soviet threat eliminated, the “Peace Dividend” allowed a reduction in defense spending as a share of the economy, bottoming out at 3% of GDP in 1999 and 2000. This restraint was one of the key drivers of the budget surpluses of the Clinton-Gingrich era.”

Every defense issues expert recognizes that the “Peace Dividend” (which should be called “the procurement holiday”) was a foolish mistake. Over a period of 12 years, the first Bush Admin and the Clinton Admin literally massacred the US military and instituted a procurement holiday from which the US military still hasn’t recovered due to insufficient weapons spending. The US military was decrepit by 2001. As of 2000, the then Joint Chiefs of Staff complained that their services needed permanent budgetary increases measured in tens of billions of dollars. When the FY2001 defense budget was signed, liberals and defense conservatives alike estimated that it was inadequate. Some estimated that it was too small by $100 bn per annum. The Air Force Association wrote back then that the FY2001 DOD budget did not even begin to address the military’s financial and equipment requirements.

The deep reduction of defense spending was indeed a key driver of the Clinton-era budget deficits (because civilian spending wasn’t reduced significantly – vested interest groups defended it and singled out defense spending for reductions), but it was a foolish mistake.

Burro also claimed that:

“In 2010, defense spending will again reach 4.9% of GDP, the same level as in 1980. About half of this increase has been driven by specific costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rest by growth in base military spending faster than economic growth. With deficits expected to run in the range of 4% of GDP over the next decade, a 2% of GDP rise in defense spending is a huge deal.”

All of these claims are false. This year, defense spending will not exceed 3.65% of GDP ($534 bn divided by a GDP of $14.61 trillion is 3.65%). Defense spending does not include the cost of the Iraqi war and the Afghan war (which have NOTHING to do with defense spending, which is about maintaining the military), but even if you do include these costs, total “military spending” (the defense budget plus the GWOT cost) will reach only 4.5% of GDP this year ($664 bn /14.61 trillion = 4.5%). So the 4.9% figure (whether you count defense spending or total “military spending” is totally false. Furthermore, given that defense spending has risen from 3% of GDP only to 3.65% of GDP, it has risen by 0.65% of GDP, not 2%.

The defense budget, which stands at 3.65% of GDP, is, as a proportion of GDP, the SMALLEST defense budget since FY1948, if you exclude the last few Clinton defense budgets. During the entire Cold War, except FY1948, America’s defense spending was much higher than today. Total “military spending”, as a proportion of GDP, is also lower than America’s defense spending levels of the entire Cold War era (except FY1948).

Burro complains that the level of military spending will be “the same as the level of 1980”. I guess he believes that the tragically inadequate defense budgets of the Carter Administration (1977-1981) were also excessive, because he decried those defense budgets. During the Carter era, the US military was decrepit, and America’s adversaries were emboldened by Carter’s defense cuts and pacifist foreign policy.

Burro then claimed that “Senator Tom Coburn made these points last month in a letter to the chairmen of the president’s deficit commission. Coburn, who sits on the commission, puts a spotlight on rapid, inflation-adjusted growth in military spending and the lack of oversight at the Pentagon as that money is spent.”

Both of these claims are false. SECDEF Gates does exercise oversight on how the money is spent, and there has been no rapid growth of military spending during the last 20 years. See below.

Burro wrote that

“In his letter, Coburn notes that inflation-adjusted base Pentagon spending (that is, the figure excluding the additional costs for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan) rose from $407 billion in 2001 to $553 billion — a 36% increase — by 2011. “Supplemental” spending to cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will add a further $159 billion in 2011.”

This is utter gibberish. Firstly, spending levels for FY2011 have NOT been authorized yet and FY2011 hasn’t begun yet, so no one can honestly claim that defense spending already has risen  to “2011 levels”. Secondly, the figure proposed by the Administration is $549 bn, not $553 bn. Thirdly, that 36% budget increase – if it happens – will be an increase conducted over ten fiscal years, not over one year. (By comparison, Obama has increased federal welfare spending by 70% during the last 16 months.) Fourthly, even if the $549 budget for FY2011 is approved, it will nonetheless stand at only 3.75% of GDP, and, like the current defense budget, will be the lowest since FY1948 (excluding the last few Clinton budgets). Fifthly, the FY2001 defense budget – as stated earlier – was tragically inadequate, and the current levels of defense spending are absolutely necessary to enable the US military to recover from the 1990s procurement holiday imposed on it by two idiotic presidents.

Burro then asks, “Is all this spending necessary to protect America? Coburn gives reason to believe that it isn’t.” And that’s a lie, because Coburn has given no reason to believe that it isn’t. Quite the contrary, it is necessary to protect America. It is necessary to enable the US military to recover from the 1990s procurement holiday. Some savings could be made in the DOD (on unneeded bases and bureaucracies, as well as fuel costs, personnel costs and healthcare program costs), but all of these savings should be reinvested at the DOD.

Burro wrote that

“Coburn notes first that even though military spending has risen significantly in real terms — and will continue to do so under the Obama administration’s current plans — we are spending more to get less.”

Coburn is lying. Military spending has not risen significantly in real terms. Like I wrote earlier, that 36% increase from a dismally low level (the FY2001 level) is an increase over 10 fiscal years, which means it’s small.

Burro then claimed,

“For example, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has experienced a cost overrun from $226 billion projected in 2001 to $328 billion projected today. This is despite the fact that the number of F-35 planes to be purchased has gone down by 14%; the overrun is driven by a unit-cost increase of 68%. And yet, there are serious concerns about the F-35’s suitability for combat operations currently performed ably by its nine-times-cheaper predecessor, the A-10.”

This is utter gibberish which proves that Burro knows nothing about defense issues. One of the chief reasons why the cost of one F-35 and the total F-35 program cost have grown is that the order for F-35s has been significantly reduced from 2001 levels. Moreover, the F-35 type is, by all metrics, superior to A-10 aircraft, which are obsolete, large, unstealthy, and very expensive to maintain. Plus, there are almost no spare parts for A-10s at AMARC any longer – the spare parts supply has already been depleted.

Burro noted that

“Coburn is likely to find an ally in the White House, which has sought to rein in the Pentagon’s spending culture. Obama used significant political capital to kill the overrun-plagued F-22 fighter program, threatening to veto any defense spending bill that did not terminate it. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been encouraging military brass to reevaluate their decisions about what purchases are useful for today’s wars, including an emphasis on widely used — and less expensive — unmanned aircraft.”

The F-22 program was absolutely necessary to protect America from peer competitors (Russia and China, one of whom has already flown a 5th generation “Raptorski” fighterplane and the other is projected by the US intel community to field a domestic 5th generation fighterplane by 2018), and the chief cause of its cost overruns was the deep reduction of the number of planes ordered by the DOD: from 750 in 1989 to 187 in 2008. Every credible defense expert now recognizes that the decision to close the F-22 program was a foolish mistake.

“The Pentagon’s spending culture”? Since the defense budget equals only 3.65% of GDP, it’s hardly profligate. As for Robert Gates – he hasn’t been “encouraging military brass to reevaluate their decisions about what purchases are useful for today’s wars”, he has imposed draconian weapon program cuts on them.

For today’s wars as well as for future wars (which are more important than today’s conflicts), the US military needs a very wide range of weapons, ranging from MRAP vehicles and UAVs to high-tech fighterplanes, bombers and submarines. America is facing a very diverse range of enemies ranging from China and Russia, to North Korea, Iran Venezuela, Syria, Al Qaeda and the Taleban. To deter and defeat them, the US military needs a very wide range of weapons. In other words, America needs an “all-of-the-above” weapons purchase policy, just like it needs an “all-of-the-above” plan to wean itself off foreign oil.

UAVs have been oversold. UAVs cannot do anything other than ISR and limited ground attack. The claim that UAVs can replace fighterplanes, attack aircraft and bombers is a fantasy.

Burro praised President Obama for his planned further defense cuts:

“Over the medium term, the president’s budget forecasts a steep drop in defense spending as a share of GDP — from 4.9% in 2010 and 2011 back down to 3.5% in 2015. But projecting that is one thing, and getting there is another. Doing so will require a scaling back of our military operations abroad, and will require that Congress go along with the Administration’s plans to restrain cost growth for personnel and procurement.”

Firstly, it will not be a reduction “from 4.9% in 2010 and 2011 back down to 3.5% in 2015”, because defense spending, as I wrote earlier, is NOT at the level of 4.9% of GDP (it stands at a mere 3.65% of GDP), and even total military spending stands at only 4.4% of GDP. Secondly, that defense spending reduction is unjustified and will badly hurt the US military, which still hasn’t recovered from the 12-year-long procurement holiday (because, since FY1995, defense spending has always been below 4% of GDP). Thirdly, the Obama Admin doesn’t plan to “restrain cost growth for procurement”, it plans to arbitrarily close crucial weapon programs. Missile defense is rumored to be on the chopping block, and the Obama Admin is reportedly talking to the Russians about an agreement that will unilaterally curtail and reduce America’s missile defense.

Burro then noted:

“This assumes that a scaling back of foreign military operations is a good idea. Iraq and Afghanistan are budgeted as “contingency” operations, with the idea being that they reflect temporary spending and should not be included in the ongoing budget baseline. If we expect to have over a hundred thousand troops fighting a war or two abroad on an essentially permanent basis, we should be budgeting accordingly — and adjusting our tax code or other government programs to accommodate a permanently higher level of expenditure.”

I oppose the Iraqi war and the Afghan war, and the sooner they end, the better. However, even a military spending level of 4.4% of GDP (let alone a defense spending level of 3.65% of GDP) DO NOT require the American people to make any additional sacrifices, do not require a tax hike, and do not require “a permanently higher level of expenditure”. It merely requires that the REAL causes of America’s budget deficits and debt – namely, entitlement programs, bloated bureaucracies and welfare spending – are curtailed and reduced. But this must be done anyway, to balance the budget if for no other purpose.

Burro then wrote:

“But regardless of macro-level foreign policy decisions, Coburn’s letter gives reason to believe that we can find significant savings in military spending — though perhaps not as much as 1.4% of GDP — just by increasing accountability and making wiser spending choices.”

Other than ending the Iraqi war and the Afghan war – which should be done ASAP – no significant savings can be found in military spending. Certainly not savings to the tune of 1.4% of GDP. Certain savings could be made (on bases, personnel, socialized medicine, fuel costs, overhead, and O&M costs), and my Defense Reform Proposals Package proposes such savings. But all defense spending savings should be reinvested in the DOD. Moreover, no big savings that could significantly reduce the budget deficit can be made at the DOD.

To reduce and ultimately eliminate the budget deficit, the Congress needs to tackle the REAL causes (if you don’t tackle the causes, you cannot cure the patient): the failed “stimulus”, the TARP program, entitlements and welfare spending. FY2010 welfare spending stands at $888 bn, the TARP program cost taxpayers $700 bn, the cost of the stimulus is over $820 bn, and entitlement programs collectively cost $1.438 trillion per year. These are the real culprits. Defense spending is microscopic compared to these programs.

I’m proud that I’m the only person who has written a comprehensive DOD reform blueprint. Burro and Coburn have not done so. But given that defense spending equals only 3.65% of GDP, no significant budget-rescuing savings can be made at the DOD.

The article I replied to is published at the following address: