Moreover, key Republicans are even willing to raise your taxes to support this bloat.
Please consider GOP, Dems Differ on How to Save Defense Budget
U.S. Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, the California Republican who leads the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, and Adam Smith of Washington, the panel’s top Democrat, are urging Congress’s supercommittee to avoid further cuts to the Pentagon’s budget.Radical Plan for Cutting Defense Budget
Their Senate counterparts are likely to do the same. Where McKeon and Smith disagree is on how that might be done.
In the Senate, Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the armed services panel, and John McCain of Arizona, the panel’s top Republican, repeatedly said this month and last that they wouldn’t recommend further cuts beyond the roughly $450 billion in reductions already projected over the next 10 years.
Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye, who leads the Senate Appropriations panel, said last week that cutting the defense budget more than already planned would be “detrimental” to national security.
McCain today called for no further defense cuts. In a letter to the supercommittee, he supported a proposal made by President Barack Obama to establish an annual enrollment fee for the military’s Tricare for Life health insurance program.
“While this fee increase would hit those age 65 and over, a group on mostly fixed incomes who are vulnerable to unanticipated changes in expenses, I believe this fee increase is a reasonable step,” McCain wrote.
The Defense Department faces cuts of about $450 billion from its 10-year spending plans, even before the supercommittee makes its recommendations. If Congress fails to act on the recommendations by Dec. 23, the August budget bill signed by President Barack Obama calls for automatic cuts, including an additional $500 billion from defense spending over a decade, not including interest.
McKeon told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute on Sept. 12 that his “suspicion” was “the White House and congressional Democrats insisted on that defense number for one purpose: to force Republicans to choose between raising taxes or gutting defense.”
During a question and answer period after his speech, McKeon said that, if he were faced with the choice between raising taxes or protecting the defense budget, he would “go to strengthen defense.”
There you have it, Howard P. “Buck” McKeon would rather raise your taxes than cut the defense budget.
Here is the alternative from retired Col. Douglas Macgregor (hardly a pacifist): A Radical Plan for Cutting the Defense Budget and Reconfiguring the U.S. Military by retired Col. Douglas Macgregor.
In the spirit of spending wisely, here is my plan to reconfigure the military for the demands and threats of the 21st-century world and, in doing so, dramatically cut the Pentagon budget:Other Worthy Ideas
Today, there are more than 317,000 active-duty U.S. military personnel stationed or deployed overseas. In the Central Command theater of operations, encompassing Iraq and Afghanistan, there are approximately 180,000 active-component personnel as well as over 45,000 reservists. Approximately 150,000 active-component U.S. military personnel are officially assigned to Europe and Asia. And some estimates note that there are two civilians and supporting contractors for each service member in certain locations.
The United States long stayed secure without this kind of sprawling imperial apparatus. But as the Cold War drew to a close, instead of adjusting force structure and spending to a strategic environment newly friendly to U.S. and allied interests, the U.S. military began a dramatic expansion of its overseas presence into areas where, historically, it had been episodic at best. America's Cold War commitments, meanwhile, continued without interruption. After expelling the Iraqi Army from Kuwait in 1991, the U.S. military was directed to stay in the Persian Gulf and build massive facilities. And following the 9/11 attacks, the global war on terror resulted in major new Army and Air Force installations from Europe to Central Asia.
Why does America need all these facilities? The original Cold War goal of protecting European and Asian societies from communist threats and internal subversion has long ago been met, and many overseas U.S. bases are now redundant. What better time than now, when the United States faces fiscal calamity but few real military threats, to judiciously sort those that are truly needed from those the Pentagon can live without? It's time to declare victory and go home.
U.S. troops remained ashore in Europe and Asia long past the point when it was clear that a military presence was a needless drain on American resources. Today, new technology and a different mix of forces enables a lighter, less intrusive footprint. For instance, area control is no longer a mission that demands a large surface fleet on the World War II model. The U.S. nuclear submarine fleet augmented with fewer surface combatants employing long-range sensors, manned and unmanned aircraft, communications, and missiles can dominate the world's oceans, ensuring the United States and its allies control access to the maritime domain that supports 91 percent of the world's commerce.
In the Islamic world, the U.S.-led interventions were and remain speculative investments with questionable returns on taxpayers' investments. For the moment, operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and more recently over Libya, have resulted in less and less funding available to reorganize and replace obsolescent, unsustainable, or worn-out Cold War-era forces designed for aerospace, maritime superiority, and ground combat -- one more reason to end or drastically reduce U.S. involvement in those conflicts as soon as possible.
In a four page article Mcgregor goes on to highlight a number of areas where the US can and should save money. Here are his ideas.
- Estimated annualized savings resulting from withdrawals from overseas garrisons and restructuring the United States' forward military presence: $239 billion
- Estimated annualized savings from reorganizing the Army and Marine Corps: $18 billion
- Estimated annualized savings from reductions in naval surface forces and Marine fixed-wing aviation: $10 billion
- Estimated annualized savings from eliminating the F-35B: $2.5 billion
- Estimated annualized savings from reducing the number of unified commands and single service headquarters: $1 billion
- Estimated annualized savings from eliminating the Department of Homeland Security and restructuring national intelligence and the Army National Guard: $7 billion
Total Savings: $279 Billion
I agree with all of Macgregor's points. His total savings: $279.5 billion a year.
Eject Neanderthals like McCain from Congress
In contrast war-mongers McCain, “Buck” McKeon, and Democrat Adam Smith cannot find a single penny to cut. Quite frankly it's disgraceful.
It's high time we eject the Neanderthals from Congress (from both parties), and that includes McCain.
Note that the savings from Macgregor's modest proposals would be $2.79 trillion over 10 years! That may not practical all at once but it should be possible to make those changes over a 5 or six year period.
Footnote: Col. Douglas Macgregor (ret.), a decorated combat veteran, writes for the Committee for the Republic in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is Warrior's Rage
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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